Monday, November 30, 2009

Manic Moon Studios Holiday Art Show

Hi Everyone! Bet you wondered where I went. LOL Well, I'm back!!! My jewelry is being shown as part of a holiday art show opening on First Friday in Spokane, WA at Manic Moon Studios, 1625 N. Monroe Street, below the Lillian Con Antique Gallery. Click on graphic for more info.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Newest Member of the Family

I bet you're wondering where I've been...Well, here's the short story (because the long story is not very interesting)...Remember that whole ankle thing? First it got better, then it got worse...doc put me in a boot & we purchased a wheelchair so I could stay off of it ALL of the time. Doc sent me to a orthopedic surgeon & he said don't where the boot or be in the wheelchair...walk on it. I did & it's MUCH better & I'm back to a normal life (whatever "normal" is lol). for the exciting news! My daughter graduated in May & then...she begged & begged for a puppy...there were tears...those tears get me every time! Drat! So...she got a puppy. BUT...she had to buy the puppy with her own money & pay for everything the puppy needs & stay home & take care of the puppy. So good. This is Calli & she's a Yorkie Shiatsu mix. She is just adorable.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Story: Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia

I signed up to blog for ME/CFS Awareness. I found this on RachelCreative's blog for the 2008 Awareness day. Here is where you can find more information about blogging for ME/CFS Awareness. May 12th was ME/CFS/FM International Awareness Day. I'm a day late, but better late than never. Below is my story.

Yesterday was ME/CFS/FM Awareness Day. For many people, I think it is very difficult to understand invisible illnesses such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FM), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Lupus, & many other 'invisible' chronic illnesses. I could tell you all about what the 'experts' say it is...what the internet says it is...I could do all of that research & tell you all the facts & figures...but today, I'm too tired to go to all that effort. The truth is...something gets lost in all those facts & figures...WE, the people living with ME/CFS/FM & other invisible illnesses get lost in all those facts & figures. So today, I will share something I do know experience with CFS/FM...I know this story well. I've lived it for 10 years. Just saying that makes me tear up.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia in 2000. However, my health challenges started a year prior in December of 1999. That December is when I got a very bad case of flu....& I never got well. It was like a light switch. One day I was well...the next, my whole life changed. Before the flu...I used to jog 2 miles at least 3 times a week...I hiked...I did anything I wanted to. Going to the store, meeting friends for a night out, playing with my daughter...all were a breeze. I never had to think about it...I just did it & lived my life. After the flu...I couldn't even walk up a flight of stairs. I was exhausted. I couldn't catch my breath. My heart pounded. Everything hurt. And that....was just the beginning of the darkest time in my life.

Over the next year I struggled to finish college. I was going to school for my graphic design degree & I was determined to finish it. After all, I was probably just over tired because I was in school. I figured it would be over when I graduated, I'd take some time off, rest up, & then be ready to take on the world again. I did a lot when I was in college...I excelled for the first time in my life. I ran a student gallery, I was on the Dean's List, I got good grades & my instructors gave me great encouragement saying I had a promising future in art/graphic design. I graduated with honors in May 2000....& that...was it.

I was also a single mom, so I struggled to care for my daughter while finishing college...she was 8 at the time. I lived with my parents so I could go to school. They helped me with my daughter, which was a blessing in many ways. I don't know what I would have done had they not been there. The down side is that often times between school, homework, & being exhausted...I didn't see my daughter much even though we lived in the same house. Even now this brings sadness to my heart...I feel like I missed out on a lot of things with her...

In March 1998 I met my now husband, Tony. I was well when we met. Falling in love with him was easy...magical...& everything you'd imagine from one of those romantic soulmate kind of movies or novels. You know the ones...That was a very happy time. Concerts, camping & weekend trips, day trips, hiking were all part of our life. He proposed in October of 1999...Our whole future laid before us...the future looked bright...Then, I got sick December 1999. Both of our lives changed...dates now consisted of me going over to his place, watching movies, & me falling asleep with my head in his lap. Tony, has taken care of me every step of the way... He has seen me at my worst...& the worst was actually pretty horrible. He never left my side, he never treated me like a burden, & he always believed me.

That's the thing about CFS/FM/ME...many times, people don't believe that you're sick. After all, you don't LOOK sick. I've heard it's all in your head, you're just depressed, you're a hypochondriac, you're lazy. Comments like these are extremely hurtful to those of us who live with these kinds of illnesses. Sadly...these kinds of comments come from friends, family, & even doctors sometimes. (If your doctor ever says anything like that or says that he doesn't know what to do for you...find another doctor). This just adds to the pain of living with CFS/FM/ME...we end up questioning & doubting ourselves...we start believing that it is our fault...we feel shame & guilt...why can't we just snap out of it...maybe it is all in our head...It takes a toll on our self-esteem & our worth. I think it is pretty safe for me to say NO ONE chooses to live like this. I think one of the hardest things about illnesses like these is the isolation...not only being isolated from the world by being at home resting, but the isolation that comes from a lack of people (family, friends, doctors...) understanding that what we are living with is real. It is real. I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

I have now lived with CFS/FM for 10 years. At my worst, I walked with a cane & felt 90...but I was only 37. There were weeks at a time I did not get out of bed. The fatigue was debilitating. The worst days felt like there was an assault on my body...everything I'd been hit by a truck...or a train...I would be numb, almost zombie like...forgetful to the point I have chunks of memory missing...not able to find the right words...having to describe the round thingys that make a car move because I could not remember the word tire. Dizziness & vertigo severe enough that I couldn't (& sometimes still) can not body not moving the way I want it to...stumbling or falling...anxiety, panic attacks & depression. (A side note here about depression -- there is a difference between being depressed which causes one to feel physical is entirely another thing to feel so horrible that one would then become depressed. Trust me, when someone lives with a chronic painful condition for 10 years...they're not going to be in the best of moods.) There were heart palpitations which were severe enough that I went to the hospital...Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which if you have not experienced, feels like a cat is trapped in your gut clawing it's way out....Pain in every joint & muscle, exhaustion that was so bad that I didn't think I'd be able to take another breath...I couldn't sleep & when I did it was not a restful sleep...At times I felt like I was dieing. And all of the symptoms I've described are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. A lot of those 10 years I don't even remember. Tony says it's better that way because at times it was pretty horrible. Thing is...I also don't remember things like birthdays, holidays, chunks of memories of my life, my marriage, & my daughter growing up are just gone.

There have been some really good times though. Times when I felt amazing...when I'd feel like a well person again....Like I could take on the world. These times may last a day or several weeks...I cherish them...I feel hopeful that maybe that day is the first day of me being a well person. I go & do things...I treasure the moments....the sun on my face...the little things that I didn't notice when I was a well person. And at times surprisingly, my body bounces back fairly well from this burst of activity...sometimes. When a relapse sets in's a cruel reminder that steals a bit of that hope that sparkled through my body just days before. This is when I have to remind myself to be patient with myself...that I am OK despite this illness that ravages my body. That things will be better. And if I can't see it...Tony reminds me of it.

It takes courage to live with these illnesses I've been diagnosed with. In many ways CFS/FM has been my teacher. Before this diagnosis I was focusing on the job, the career, the bling of life...what face I showed to the world...if I was successful or not...honestly, I was shallow. Living with this illness has caused me to get real honest with go unburden my heart of a lot of baggage. It has challenged me to look at who & what is important in life...what isn't...what can wait...It has taught me patients, perseverance, strength, courage, compassion...& in the end I believe that I'm a deeper, fuller person for it. I have learned to go with the flow & ride the waves of my energy levels. I have learned ways to work with & around it....not that it's always easy or that I always let things flow...after all, I'm just a work in progress. I have come to understand that I am not my illness. I will never say, "I have CFS/FM." I was diagnosed with CFS/FM...I am not CFS/FM...CFS/FM does not define me, my heart, or my is not who I am. I have learned to live with this survive & thrive in my own way.

These days, I'm focusing on doing what I love. I've always wanted to be an artist. So now, slowly but surely, I am working on creating art in my home studio. Tony converted our garage into a studio for me so I would have a space to work. (I named it MoonWillow Art Studio because we have a very old Willow tree in our front yard & the Moon passes behind it in the night sky.) The act of creating helps my healing process. It brings a spark back into my body & reminds me of the feeling of hope, of being alive. I had my first art show July 2008 at a local gallery. That was an amazing time...that was the last time I felt really good. I've been dealing with several relapses since August 2008, which slows down the progress I'd like to be making in my studio...but, that's when I remind myself that it will come in it's own time. I am making progress...after all, I no longer walk with a cane & my symptoms are less frequent & less severe. Currently I am working on opening an Etsy shop to bring my art & creative efforts to the marketplace. This is a bit of a daunting task as my brain doesn't always comprehend everything I'm reading & what I do read, I forget. It's a work in progress & sooner or later my shop will be open.

I have also discovered an interest in writing. I never thought of myself as a writer, but it seems to be something that is knocking at my door these days. Whether I'm any good at, I do not know...just the process of writing is intriguing though & I'm excited to explore it more. Actually, I have a couple of horror novels whirling around in my mind...we shall see if they come to be. It's something for me to look forward to. Which, I think is important for anyone living with illnesses like these.

It's hard to share this much about my life with CFS/FM. This is just a bit of what I could write. I feel hesitant to publish this to my blog. The fear of not being understood or believed...What will you think? What will my friends & family think? It's embarrassing in a show my soft admit that I struggle with this. It's not something I often talk least not the sadness & suffering part of this illness. Most of the time I focus on talking about the good that has come out of this. I do my best to be a glass half full kind of gal. Revisiting the pain of CFS/FM in my life is difficult...the feelings of sadness bubbling to the surface...bringing tears to my eyes. However, if I don't talk about it...if other people with illnesses like this don't talk about it...The world will never know & we will continue to feel isolated. I hope by me sharing my story, it will bring some awareness to CFS/FM/ME & other invisible illnesses.

For those of you out there that also live with these kinds of illnesses, I hope that by reading my story you know you're not alone. If you feel moved to do so, I would love to hear from you & know your story. From one survivor to another...Never, never, never give up. The world is a better place for having you in it. You have worth. This quote by Mary Anne Radmacher has gotten me through many hard days, "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yesterday's Adventure

Considering this is my first big outing in almost two weeks, it was an adventure for me. Yesterday we had errands to run. Had to go see the Doc to check on my ankle, which is actually doing a lot better! I'm not on crutches or using a cane at this point...just call me 'hop along'. I still can't run a marathon or go hiking or be on it for too long, but at least I can get my own coffee. We stopped for lunch at Knight's Diner.

Then we popped over to Northwest Seed & Pet to buy seeds for the garden. We decided to try the heirloom seeds this year & try our hand at saving the seeds to plant for next year. I still have research to do to figure it all out, but that's part of the fun! The seeds we bought are from Ellensburg from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. We also bought a couple blackberry plants & a couple blueberry bushes. The folks at Northwest Seed & Pet are really helpful & knowledgeable. Now we just have to plan our garden out for this year.
This years seeds.

Oil is coming along nicely.

Good bye crutches!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Crutches Are Now My Best Friend

So this is why I haven't been at my computer much this last week...Tony & I went up in the woods to pick cottonwood buds. We do this every Spring. Why? I make a medicinal oil out of the sap in the buds. I use it for things like sprains, arthritis, fibro pain (note: this is not medical advice from me to you). It's not something that can be bought so I make it. It smells so good! We have a lot of good memories doing this too. It's something we look forward to every year.

It was a beautiful sky, warm, lots of sunshine, no clouds, fresh air. Things were going beautifully...we were in a feild that had some snowy patches & bare patches. I was walking across a snowy patch & my foot went through the snow, which had been happening all day, but there was usually more snow underneath that would support my foot. Not this time....there was a hollow under the snow where I stepped & wouldn't ya know it...I rolled my ankle...more like folded it in half. I thought it was broken at first. So we're in the middle of a feild & I'm laying in the snow. Tony helped me walk to the road...although I wouldn't call it walking. He left me by the road & went & got the truck. I'm just sitting there hoping that something doesn't come along & eat me in the mean time. LOL

Went to the Doc & it's not broken...I just tore all the ligaments in my ankle. Great. Doc says to take it easy & sit on my behind for the next couple of weeks (this was a week ago yesterday). Basically, if the ligaments don't heal right...I'd be looking at surgery. So even though I'm a horrible patient & I hate just sitting, I am following doctors orders. It must be getting better though because I'm able to sit at the computer longer & longer each day.

In my boredom I started taking pictures of stuff from wherever I'm sitting. Below are a few pics. Some of them I was playing with my telephoto lens.

Me hanging out in the back yard while Tony stacks wood. All of the photos below were taken from me sitting here.

Here's the oil I'm making from those cottonwood buds. Isn't it a gorgeous color?

Another photo of my tulips coming up.

Just the power lines that run down the alley. But look at that blue sky! Beautiful!

Spring Has Sprung

You know how life just seems to get away from you sometimes? Today I'm catching up on my blog. I've been taking pictures, meaning to share them...but then life happens. I've been at my computer in brief spurts...stay tuned for my next post & I'll tell ya why. But I'm back now. Took these a couple of weeks ago around the yard.

My Chives are comin' up. I even used some in the potato soup the other day. Yummy!

Crocuses by my front door.

Tulips are getting bigger!

Last of the snow!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April In Idaho

Days like today I wonder if Spring & Summer will ever really get here. I don't think I can remember a time when we had snow in April. One year we did have snow on the Spring Equinox. And one Summer it may as well have been October...I was wearing July. That Summer it rained & I actually remember a day where it was 40 degrees. That was back in the 90's.

We ran out of wood last week. Tony went up to my folks property to get more.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Eat Green Lettuce

I had no idea! I'm definitely going back to good old fashioned lettuce!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Candles, Cookies, & Tea

Last night was Earth Hour from 8:30-9:30pm. I made super yummy gluten free oatmeal raisin cookies...but I was out of brown I used regular sugar & they turned out even better! Then I made a pot of tea before 8:30. We lit all the candles we could find in the house. It was beautiful! Tony & I were like, why don't we do this more often? We spent our time talking & then our daughter came home & got in on the action. She's'd think a teen would be like this is boring...but she really enjoyed it. When it was time to blow out the candles & go to bed, she was bummed.

We enjoyed ourselves so much that we are going to go 'power free' one night a week. No lights, no stereo, no tv, no computer...anything that can be turned off will get turned off. The fridge & all that stuff will stay on of course. We will allow one exception...& that is if our daughter has homework & needs to use the computer. That's pretty important stuff! Here are some pics of our Earth Hour:

Cookies & tea by candlelight. Divine! You can see what time it is on the stove if you look close.


This is a close up of my hanging candle holder. I got it at was a chandelier light for over a dining room table. Well, I repurposed it & viola! Candle holder.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

See? I HAVE been working! Right on!

I originally posted this on my MoonWillow Studio blog. I couldn't post it here until now because it was a gift for a friends 40th birthday...& she reads Karny Life now & I just couldn't take a chance that she'd see it before I gave it to her. Actually, she did see it. She came over the other day & came through the studio door. So of course she saw it! I had to do something! So I just played it off like, 'Yeah, this is what I'm working on. It's for my new series that I'm workin' on. Whatcha think?' LOL So she was completely blown away when I gave it to her yesterday!

Following is the original post:

Finally...inspiration! Yaaaayyyyyy!!! This is something kinda new for me. I'm playing with acrylics on canvas with no stretcher I guess it's more like a wall hanging...or a door hanging in this case. It's actually a mixed media piece as I'm using dry pastels, paint, stamps, ink, collage, beads, charms, & fibers. This is the first little do dah from my new series I'm working on. It's titled, "Gift For A Friend"...OK, you got me...I don't have a great name for it, but it is a gift for a friends birthday. So this one is already spoken for, but there's more to come so stay tuned!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Earth Hour: March 28th

Join me in observing Earth Hour next Saturday, March 28th from 8:30pm - 9:30pm. We're planning on having a candlelight dessert & telling stories. Would love to hear what you did.

Friday, March 20, 2009


It's the first day of spring! Here in our neck of the's 59 degrees. That's a heat wave! The snow is melting! How excited am I? SO EXCITED! Before long it will be time to plant our garden. I've been daydreaming about Spring & Summer since the first of February. Here's what I found in my back yard:
This is the last of our wood. I'm SO grateful that it's getting warmer!

Our tulips & daffodils are pushing up to see the Sun!

That's BLUE sky folks! Yep! REAL blue sky! Haven't seen that since September!

Quinn's Hot Springs

Tony & I got away for one night. He surprised me with a text asking what kind of wine do you want in our room. I love surprises! We went to Quinn Hot Springs in Montana. It's between St. Regis & Paradise. We'd never been there before, but they were running a special & it was fairly close to home, so off we went! The room was great! The food was amazing! The bottle of wine in our room was really good. The hot springs...very relaxing. The staff, so helpful & so very nice. It was as if we had been there before & they were happy to see us. We even made new friends that live just over the boarder in Washington. Here's some pics:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Me Taking Pictures Of Me

Here I am just playing with my camera. This is my shadow in the snow.

Like my artsy hairdo & my pirate shirt? Hey, sometimes a girl just hast to be a pirate! Hee hee hee...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Laundry Room Ceiling

Just thought I'd share a picture of my laundry room ceiling. I painted it myself & then rubbed a butterfly decal on top. After all, who'd mind doing laundry under the watchful gaze of a butterfly, fluffy clouds & a blue sky ;)

Lemonaded Twice!

Wow! Another award & from two great people! Thank you Sarah & Crystal! Ok, so I'm nominating the following:

Crystal & Sarah...I have to tag you back. Seriously, you both are amazing, have great blogs, & uplift me in so many ways. How can I not smile when I visit your blogs!
Psyche Connections
I'm always finding something on her blog that make me smile.

Bairbre Aine, I smile every time I get a chance to peek at your blog!

Monique at Cake & Cappuccino. Every time I look at Monique's blog, I want to bake something & tidy up just for fun. How cool is it when someone inspires you to take a task that may seem like drudgery & instead you feel good about it! Now that's magic folks!

If you've been nominated and you want to pass on the award, here's what you do:

1. Display the logo on your blog.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs that show great attitude.
3. Link your nominees with your post & let them know via comment that they're lemonaded.
4. Link the post to the person who gave you the award!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

An Award! For Me?

My dear friend Sarah passed this award on to me. I'm thrilled! This is my first one! Sarah is an amazing artist that inspires me all of the time. She has always included me in things that she thought may move me forward & that has been an amazing gift because it has moved me forward. I love that! I value her advice, adore her energy & sweet spirit & I'm honored to know her. She lives right here in the same town too! We've had coffee. How cool is that? Thank you Sarah for thinking of me & passing on this award! Ok, so here's the 7 things that I love:

1. My husband Tony. He has been amazing! I was diagnosed with CFS/FM soon after we were he's had to be my caretaker as well. Things were rough. No matter what happened, he loved me through it & saw the person that was inside of me...not the 'sick' me. He believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. He believed in me so much he converted our garage into my studio. He's my superhero ;) Now that I am doing MUCH better, he's getting used to having hobbies & interests again! LOL

2. My daughter. She is the light in my life. Watching her grow up has been a beautiful thing. I'm so proud of her! She's so smart & I could brag about her all day. She reminds me of what it is to be young & fearless & of all the possibilities waiting just around the corner.

3.My parents. They've helped me/us through the dark times of the CFS/FM. Many times they helped with my daughter when I couldn't. My dad, always cheering me on & believing in me. Anything that may help my recovery to health, my dad has been right there saying don't worry about the cost. He says health first, then art. My mom just listening to me when things were hard.

4. My friends. I know some of the most amazing people & I'm honored & thrilled that they are my friends. I've had many an adventure with friends & gatherings are never dull! Pirate parties, Witch's tea parties, & Fairy parties just because, Sister Sunday brunch, Drumming circles, Chinese New Year, & don't forget Halloween! My life is never dull! They've been there to celebrate all the big stuff in my life. They've come to anything that has to do with my art & been so excited about it that I felt like a rock star! LOL

5. Autumn. There's a vibe, a feeling that goes with Autumn. For me it actually starts in the Summer. One day there's a Summer vibe...then out of the blue it feels like something shifts & changes...the energy is a bit different...something is in the air, the light changes a bit, even though the calendar says it's still Summer. I love that feeling & I hold on to it as long as I can.

6. Halloween. Seriously, I'm not even kidding here. I have 6 large tubs of Halloween stuff. That does not count the things in my collection that I love so much they are tucked here & there around the house. My witch dolls sit on the bed in our guest bedroom & my crows are still up. My corner cabinet is full of my favs. The haunted house Tony built me is still out, but it's too cool to put away. I have a big Halloween party every year. The house goes through quite the transformation! It's like magic!

7. Vintage clothes. I have quite the colleciton! Lots of black & velvet, lace & jewelry. I don't get to wear them all the time, but they are just to beautiful to not have! How else do you think I end up with such a cool Halloween outfit? I have a collection of kimonos & vintage bathrobes too. I just have a knack for finding them at the thrift store & they are gorgeous! It's kinda like someone put them there just for me!

Ok, well to pass this on:

Sarah, back attcha on this one! I love Sarah's art! Visit her at

Crystal at I love everything she makes! Her handmade incense is amazing! I made her logo for her shop & I'm thrilled that she aksed! Thanks Crystal! On top of that, she's a great friend & I'm very blessed that she's part of my life.

Phoenix Springwater at I love her work & she's an amazing friend! She's inspired me more than once to get my art out there. We buy & trade eachother's art. Her painting, The Dreaming Tree, graces my guest bedroom.

Szarka at I love her work! She makes amazing jewelry & she's a really interesting person on top of that. I buy a lot of my beads through her. Beautiful beads!

Tony's Forge

Last night we blessed Tony's forge. Friends came over & brought with them a candle that had been lit from another candle that had been lit from Brigid's Flame in Ireland. St. Brigid is the patron saint of blacksmithing. February is her month, so it seemed like perfect timing to bless Tony's forge. We lit a special candle from their candle for Tony & then he lit his forge with that flame. We also blessed it with water that came from the White Well at the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England. The White Well is Brigid's Well. He hung a Brigid's cross that I made for him over the door of his shop. It was very cool! Can't wait to see what he makes! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 2, 2009

One of my favorite quotes...


Notes From The Universe

I signed up for these a while back. They're little Notes From the Universe. Yes, The Universe. The cool thing is that they kinda personalize it. How cool is that? Here's what I got today:

How will you answer those, Karmen, who will one day look at your utterly amazing life, complete with thriving, profitable, vibrant, art studio business and cool friends, and say, "Yeah, but for you it was easy"?

Huh, huh, huh?
The Universe

Karny Life Logos

So this is what I've been up to lately. I've been playing with a sort of 'logo' for Karny Life. I was going to use it as a banner at the top of the page, but for some reason it just doesn't want to cooperate. Such as it is. So I thought I'd just share 'em anyhow. Hey, at least I'm getting back in the swing of things! Right? The brown one has elements that I did myself & then I scanned them in to the computer. Then I collaged them together in Photoshop. The multi-colored one there. I did that in Illustrator. I took part of that one & turned it into a button for my MoonWillow Studio blog.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


What an amazing little clip! Peace!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Newest Brigid's Cross

Ok, here's the one made out of wheat stalks. It is a bit more difficult than using pipe cleaners! I made 2 of them. Here's some tips to make it a bit easier:

1. Soak your wheat stalks ALL kidding. I put mine in a turkey roasting pan with water in the morning & left them there until 5:00. The longer the better or you'll end up breaking them.

2. Put three butter knives in the bottom (two on the ends & one to support the middle) of the pan & lay the wheat stalks on top. Weight down the wheat stalks with 2-3 more butter knives. So you're kinda making a butter knife & wheat stalk sandwhich ;)

3. You'll need a total of 14 stalks....two are straight...the rest will need to be folded in half. DO NOT FOLD STALKS AS YOU GO LIKE IN THE VIDEO ABOVE. This is VERY important! Fold them in half all at once & put them back in the water. Otherwise you'll be super frustrated as it will be almost impossible to hang on to the cross & folk wheat stalks at the same time. It may work if you had someone help you or if you're one of the Hindu gods with lots of arms.

4. You can just bend it in half in one spot...but I folded it several times over & over...each time right next to the last so that it softens it up. This makes it so the bend is not so sharp. It ends up being kinda squared. Did I say that right? I think I'd really have to show ya what I mean, especially if you're a visual person like me.

5. So once you've got it all together you'll need to fasten it. At this point make sure everything is nice & tight. You can let go of trying to hold it all together & just hold onto one arm of the cross. Now take a rubber band to fasten it...make sure it's real tight. Now do that to all the sides. It will look 'ugly', but that's ok because you'll end up cutting the rubber band part off...if you want.

6. Now decide how long you want your arms to be. Mine ended up being 8 1/2 inches long. I cut the arm where I wanted it, then I tied it with fake sinew. It's kind waxy & really strong so you can really tie it tight. It should make the ends fan out a little bit. Now if you didn't want to use sinew, you could use rubber bands & then tie pretty ribbon around the rubber bands to hide them. You'll still need to rubber band all of them first & then cut them to size & then rubber band them again. It will work better this way. It will just keep everything together while you're working.

7. Fresh reeds would be really nice to use. Maybe I'll have to make some of these in the Summer.

OH, I almost take the heads off of the wheat stalks before you put them into the water. I'm saving mine to do something crafty maybe a charm to hang up in the kitchen. Also, I got 2 crosses out of the wheat bunch I bought at Micheal's...with enough left over for half of another one. The bunch cost $5.99.

Well That's Cool!

Got this in my email today. It's from Schmap.

Hi Karmen,

I am delighted to let you know that your submitted photo
has been selected for inclusion in the newly released sixth
edition of our Schmap Seattle Guide:

It's for Volunteer Park

Here's the picture. It's of the conservatory at Volunteer Park in Seattle WA. It's from our family vacation there in August.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Making A Brigid's Cross

So since Tony's going to be blacksmithing, I've been looking up some info about The Goddess Brigid (or St. Brigid). She is the Goddess of blacksmithing, among other things. February is Brigid's month & her holiday is called Imbolc, which is traditionally on February 1st. So...I thought due to the timing of Tony getting his blacksmithing tools & Imbolc being just around the corner, that it would be the perfect time to make a couple Brigid's Crosses.

Following along with the video below & using pipe cleaners like my friend Crystal suggested, I managed to make this Brigid's Cross in under 15 minutes. This was my test run, so now I'll try it with wheat stalks sometime this weekend. Stay tuned to see how those turn out ;) Really though, I don't think the pipe cleaners look all that bad & would be a great way to get the hang of it. With a little help, it would be simple enough for the kiddos.

Tony's Been Busy

Last Thursday we took off on a little adventure. Tony found blacksmithing tools, forge, anvil, etc. for sale in the paper. So after breakfast, off we went. We had to go to Naples, which is North of Sandpoint by quite a bit. So we bought everything & now Tony is fixing up the little red shed for his shop. Here's a picture of the mess he's making in the back yard. Actually, he did clean it up & took it off to the dump...but only after I salvaged some of the wood. LOL

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wisdom on a Starbuck's cup....

This is another quote from Starbuck's, The Way I See It quotes on their cups.

Why are we inspired by another person's courage? Maybe because it gives us the sweet & genuine surprise of discovering some trace, at least, of the same courage in ourselves.

--Laurence Shames

Save Handmade Toys!

Save Handmade Toys

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Shining Stars Are Everywhere

Last night I was laying in bed trying to fall such luck! These words popped into my head & kept after the tenth time, I got up, ran downstairs to the studio & wrote it down. So here it is....

There are people in this world,
Who shine bright...
Not to make you feel small,
But to be a shining star to lead the way,
To show you the possibilities,
As if to say,
If I can,
So can you.

Take a look around...Who are your shining stars? Think on this...YOU may be someones shining star. Even in the smallest ways we are all shining stars to someone, in some way, on any ordinary day....You may be shining & not even know it!

Many thanks to all of my shining stars out there who's brightness has inspired me in so many ways! Now I bet you're wondering who you are? Is it YOU? Stay tuned!

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Animal Odd Couple: Wow!

Snow, Snow, Go Away....

...come back another day...or maybe just come back next year......It just won't stop snowing! Since I don't snowboard, ski, ice skate, snowshoe or do any other outdoor winter activity, I'm so ready for anything but snow. So far we've gotten over 5 feet of snow & it's still snowing. At least I have tons of projects to do in the house. Now that the holidays are over, it's time to get crackin'! Here's the latest pictures of our winter wonderland.