Do You Enjoy Halloween?

I’m so excited I could burst!

I love the fall season…and Halloween/Samhain. For those of you unfamiliar with “Samhain” it is pronounced “sow’ en” and is the Wiccan New Year. I won’t go into a lot of explanation right now but suffice to say that October is one month where just about everyone is into crafting whether it be costumes, home decor or party planning. Which brings me back to my announcement…

Museiddity has been accepted into this year’s Samhain Sirens October Extravaganza! Throughout October the website, Samhain’s Sirens, will feature blog posts and giveaways in celebration of the season. I’ll be posting some craft “how tos” and also offering items for giveaways. We are going to have a lot of fun! It’s a long time ’til October though…

In the meantime… June will be beading month here at Museiddity! We’ll be talking with a jewelry artist, a “sequinista”, and a lamp worker (maker of glass beads)…and I might offer some sneak peaks of my October Extravaganza giveaways. If you love jewelry you’ll want to join us!

Creative Spotlight: Destiny Allison, Artist and Author–Guest Post and Book Launch Announcement

Destinyl__3964Today I welcome metal sculpture artist and author Destiny Allison. I first “met” Destiny while managing a WOW Blog Tour for her memoir, Shaping Destiny. Her book, and her sculptures, connected with me in a deep way. Destiny has recently finished her first novel, Pipe Dreams. I’ll share more about that in a minute.

Destiny possesses a compelling “voice”; I find it strong, intelligent and poetic. To give you a taste of her writing I’ve invited her to share an essay about her own creative “awakening”.

Destiny Allison on embracing her creative spirit…

After I discovered my voice, I was quiet. No shout of joy or cartwheel whoop issued from my pressed lips. Hands on hips, eyes narrowed, I contemplated the tiny, regal figure who had freed me. Her brown skin, slick with my sweat, glistened in the morning light. She did not meet my eyes, care for my interest, or notice me at all. Instead, her gaze was to the horizon, focused on something I couldn’t see.

I hungered after her, oblivious to the demands of happy children sticky with juice. Ignoring dishes, spilled cheerios on the breakfast table, and the guttural snores of a sleeping husband, I stroked her hair with a fingertip, pushed my nail deep into the line between her lips, and cemented her expression. She did not mind the pain I inflicted or acknowledge the ache she had kindled in me. I added a bit of clay to her arm, defining and strengthening. Then she looked wrong, unbalanced, and artificial. I tweaked, smoothed, and adored until I destroyed her, my image of who I wanted to be.

I pushed her away, furious with myself, and turned my attention to my youngest. Runny nosed and crying, he had tripped chasing his brothers. I pulled him into my arms, rocking, and as I did my eyes drifted toward the horizon. It shimmered, taunting me with hope, possibility, and dreams.

When my child’s sobs ceased, I set him down and picked up my ruined sculpture. Somewhere in that soft, awkward form was my future. A tiny hand grabbed my leg, but I was intent. He tugged again, asking for a drink. I sighed, stepped into the kitchen, and handed him his cup. Then, for the first time and without regret, I said, “Go play, sweetheart. Mommy’s working.”

Coming June 3rd–Pipe Dreams, A novel by Destiny Allison Pipe_Dreams_preview.1

Destiny’s first novel is a fast-paced dystopian sci-fi made all the more horrifying by the feeling that this scenario could very well happen at any given time. If you like The Handmaid’s Tale you’ll love Pipe Dreams. Here is the author’s description:

Beneath the park bench, a young girl cries for help, her voice a cold hand on Vanessa’s throat. Bruised and ravaged, the naked girl is Vanessa’s mirror twin, but compassion for the Fallen won’t be forgiven. “Please,” the girl whispers. In the empty square, a piece of trash tumbles. A bird settles in a tree. Then there is silence. No voice, no wind, no movement. It’s as if the world is waiting.

Vanessa’s hesitation is her undoing. Unbeknownst to her, Lewis seeks his revenge. The virus, originally developed to save mankind from itself, will be his tool. Once airborne, it will create a slave race and retribution will be his. Vanessa is the symbol of everything he hates. She will be his unwitting pawn. Haunted by her thick, auburn hair, serious eyes, and mocking laughter, Lewis is determined to quiet her once and for all.

As his plan unfolds, Vanessa is forced to flee. Escaping through the sewer, she finds love, heartbreak, and the red beam of a gun sight dancing on the slick, black wall. In the deep dark of the foul pipe, Vanessa also discovers she has been betrayed. That’s when she learns Texas is real.

One reviewer stated, “Pipe Dreams is a dystopian novel set in the near future. If gene splicing could merge Margaret Atwood and Suzanne Collins, the resulting author might write this book.”

To download the first two parts FREE, and get updates on the full release, sign up for the mailing list.

TO PREORDER THE PAPERBACK VERSION OF PIPE DREAMS, CLICK HERE.

Destiny is “paying it forward” by donating 25% of her first month’s sales towards another artist’s goals. Visit her blog for more details.

Sunflower Kooky Clock: Make a Clock with Clay and a Tiny Tin.

Wacky Time by rlcHung up on time? Set this funky clock on your desk as a reminder to lighten up!

I originally created this clock as part of the Tiny Tin Challenge and have been using it as my desk clock ever since! Materials are readily available at your local craft store. You can complete this project in an afternoon (depending on the drying time for your paint). To read the original post and access the other Tiny Tin participants visit A Ponderance of Things.

Materials List:

1 Tiny Tin

1 plastic, battery operated clock. Disassembled and reassembled using the tin as the clock face.

Sculpy Ultra Light oven bake clay

Acrylic paints and sealant

Paint pens for face of clock (optional)

Directions:

Disassemble clock to insure backing will fit inside your tiny tin. Mark the spot for the pin that hold the clock hands. Drill the whole. File any sharp edges.

Create your Sculpy form directly on the tin cover. Be sure to check that Sculpy form does not interfere with replacement of the tin bottom. Bake cover for the required time to harden clay.

Once cover has cooled, paint your sculpture and clock face. Allow to dry completely before applying sealant.

Apply sealant. Allow to dry completely.

Reassemble clock onto the tin cover. Depending on your sculpture you may need to trim the clock hands. (Note: reassembling the clock may require realigning the clock wheel mechanisms).

Insert battery into clock and snap the cover back onto the tin bottom.

Sweet or Salty: Make Your Own Body Scrub

Homemade body ScrubHave you ever indulged in a body scrub? I know of no better way to exfoliate, hydrate, and stimulate the skin—and they smell wonderful! Scrubs can retail for fifteen to twenty dollars, but why spend the money when you can make you own? You probably already have most, if not all, of the ingredients.

You will need:

A jar or other container

 

Ground Sea Salt or Granulated Sugar.

Sea salt contains beneficial minerals but you want to choose a salt already ground, don’t just use your home grinder. When using a home grinder the resulting crystals have sharp edges and are too abrasive.

Carrier Oil.

Choose an oil that will be absorbed into the skin and has a decent shelf-life. Here are some choices:

Grapeseed—grapeseed is often used because it is relatively inexpensive and has a long shelf life.

Jojoba—jojoba penetrates more deeply into the skin

Sweet Almond—sweet almond contains minerals, vitamins, and protein

Essential Oil

Essential oils not only provide fragrance but also offer health benefits. Here are a few of the most common–you can combine two or three:

Relaxing/Comforting/Soothing

Jasmine–comforting
Lavender–relaxing
Neroli (Orange Blossom) —soothing
Rose—soothing

Stimulating/Mental Alertness

Eucalyptus–stimulating
Orange/Lemon—mental alertness
Peppermint—mental alertness
Tea tree—stimulating, anti-bacterial/anti-fungal

Grounding

Cedarwood
Patchouli
Sandalwood

Directions:

  • Fill your container about ½ to ¾ with salt or sugar
  • Top with layer of oil about 1 to 1 ½ inches
  • Add your essential oils—The general rule for essential oils is up to 15 drops (total) per tablespoon of carrier oil but it is best to start with a light hand. I suggest starting with 10 drops total per jar of scrub, you can always add more if you desire a stronger scent.

If using two or three scents you may wish to blend them in a separate bowl before adding to the scrub. When blending, decide first what your base note will be as you will be using more drops of that scent. For instance, if I wanted sandalwood-rose I would begin with 5 drops of sandalwood and add two or three drops of rose.

That’s it! Leave the oil sitting on top and stir just prior to use.

Go ahead and pamper yourself! Scrubs also make perfect gifts for:
Birthdays/Graduations–make two or three different scented scrubs to tuck into a gift basket.
Weddings–gift your bridesmaids with matching scents.

Rediscovering Creativity with Linda Neas

Have you ever felt stuck?

The feeling of “stuck” can grab you in any area of your life from writer’s block and lack of inspiration to stress cycles or financial burdens. In essence, you need a doorway into a new experience—a new way of approaching the situation. But where do you begin?

Please welcome today’s guest, Linda Rhinehart Neas. Linda is an author, poet, educator, healer, and compassionate soul who is here sharing her wisdom …and a gift! Yes, a free gift! We’ll come back to that. First, Linda has a few words to share on being creative.

Linda Neas You ARE Creative:  Rediscovering Creativity

by Linda M. Rhinehart Neas

When I began giving workshops on Rediscovering Creativity, I began the first session with this wonderful reading From On Wings of Light: Meditations for Awakening to the Source by Joan Borysenko, PhD and Joan Drescher.

“Once upon a time love erupted with a mighty roar. A ball of living, breathing light exploded into a universe of fire and ice, suns and moons, plants and animals, you and me. Since that first moment, love has known itself and expanded itself through us. Our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, our dissolution in night’s soft womb and re-creation in the morning’s song are reflections of the divine love that plays its infinite melodies on the tender strings of our hearts. The notes of anguish, exultation and anger delight, pain and grace unite in a sacred harmony when we remember that behind all appearances beyond the illusion of separateness…We are One!

“In that remembering we can rejoice in our divine birthright as children of loves’ first light. Come and let us remember together…”

Let us remember! You see, we are and always have been creative beings, especially women. However, somewhere along the line in our lives, we have been told that we didn’t do it good enough, or that creating things was a waste of time, or we weren’t smart enough, or even the most popular statement, we should get a real job. All of these comments, whether said in an off-handed manner or as a direct command, crippled our ability to see ourselves as creative.

The good news is that we can still create. We don’t have to be gifted, or rich or anything else. We simply must want to make something. But, where to begin?

In my workshop, I have students look at all the aspects of their lives. I explain that there are hundreds of ways to be creative each day. Usually, as we go through the list, participants realize that they had been creative all along; they just didn’t recognize their creative selves.

Once students have reviewed the various aspects of their lives, I encourage them to pick one aspect and try something new. For instance, if they want to work on their emotional self, they might decide to keep a journal. By writing something every day, even if it is only one word to describe how you feel, a journal helps to heal and focus our emotions.

The workbook that I created, which you are able to download as a free PDF, will help you find where YOU are creative. I would suggest reading it slowly, taking time to reflect on each aspect of your life.

Remember, we are our own worst critics. Be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Allow yourself to fail. If something doesn’t work, think of something different or try doing whatever it is you are doing a different way. I couldn’t learn to crochet holding the needle the “traditional” way–between your thumb and pointer. I taught myself, finally, holding the needle in my fist. Looks strange, but I can crochet for hours.

May you find your creative self and may you be filled with the joy of creating! Namasté!

About Linda: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas is an educator/writer/poet. She has two books, Winter of the Soul, (2008) and Gogo’s Dream: Discovering Swaziland, (2010). On January 1, 2013, her story, “The Angel in the Bright Green Jacket,” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels Among Us. She teaches English as a Second language, writing and poetry throughout New England. Ms. Neas lives in an enchanted cottage with her beloved husband, where she gains great insight and inspiration from her four daughters and six grandchildren. Visit her blog at: Words from the Heart.

Free Gift! Whole Person Creativity Model book

Every person leaving a comment on this post will receive Linda’s free downloadable 13-page Wellness Workbook: Whole Person Creativity. This workbook is a “tool to stimulate your creative spirit” by guiding you in balancing the various aspects of your life.

To receive your copy, simply comment on this post by May 15, 2013  Enjoy!

Creative Spotlight: The Award Winning Poetry of Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball

There are different types of poetry. There is the kind that paints a pretty image, and then there’s the kind that causes pause and ponder. I love the latter kind. For me, poetry offers respite, and good poetry marries my heart to my mind.

Magdalena and Carolyn write beautiful poetry—the type of poetry you’ll want to slowly savor…and then share with others. I recently read, and am re-reading, Sublime Planet. This is just one book from their Celebration series. After savoring just a few of these poems I knew you would want to meet these amazing ladies! Please enjoy the following interview and poetry samples.

Hello Carolyn and Magdalena, welcome to Museiddity!

To begin…I’m interested to hear about what place poetry holds in your life. How has writing poetry influenced your life, your outlook on life, or your sense of self?

Carolyn: I love poetry. It’s everywhere in my life. On signs I pass when I’m driving. On scraps of paper floating around my desk. It shows up in my fiction and—yes!—sometimes even in my nonfiction.

Magdalena: I’ve been writing (and reading) poetry for as long as I’ve been reading (say, around 4 y/o), so it has been a key part of how I look at the world, how I view myself and how I communicate with others.  I try, wherever possible, to look at my own life and the world in which I live in a poetic way – that means the use of symbolism, metaphor, and trying to keep my perspective fresh and novel.  I think I’m definitely a poet first as a writer, and that my fiction will grow, sometimes painfully, around my poetry.

You are both strong, successful, award-winning writers on your own. How did you come about collaborating on the Celebration series?

Carolyn: I’ll like to speak to this one because it will save Magdalena from bragging about her own site. My first chapbook of poetry was published by Finishing Line Press and I requested a review of it from Magdalena’s highly respected book review site The Compulsive Reader (http://CompulsiveReader.com/html). I was grateful that she said yes and I did my usual thank yous (part of any great marketing campaign—maybe even more important for poets!) and then more or less forgot about it. There is always so much to do! Then my poetry chapbook “Tracings” (http://budurl.com/carolynstracings) was listed on The Compulsive Reader’s 10 Best Reads List for the year. That set my little marketing brain to work. I realized I needed to know a whole lot more about this talented writer and business woman who lived a hemisphere away from me. Her name is Magdalena Ball and, I’m proud to say, we now have coauthored five chapbooks and one full book of poetry together. And we’re working on our next—also a full book. This one will have poems about (or inspired by) food.

This question also gives me the opportunity to say that, though many caution against the pitfalls of coauthoring (and I tend to agree!), I found the perfect partner in Magdalena. Our literary tastes are very similar, but our poetry is different enough to offer a reader variety. But mostly, she is an angel to work with.

Magdalena:  I’ve been migrating The Compulsive Reader to a new platform and have had to hand set up each review, so I was reminded of the first review I did for Carolyn, otherwise I might not have even remembered how we met.  It felt like serendipity.  Somehow we’ve always managed to support one another, promoting in concurrent, effective ways, and critiquing each other’s work.  Working together has had so many benefits, not least of which has been egging each other on to finish our projects (mostly Carolyn egging me on!).

In an attempt to describe your poetry I find myself using the words “intelligent” and “thought provoking.” How would you describe your poetry?

Carolyn: Absolutely. “Intelligent” and “Thought-provoking.”  May I use that quote in my media kit? LOL.  Magdalena?

Magdalena:  Who am I to argue?  Of course we’re always aiming towards provoking thought, but maybe more than that too.  In “Man Carrying Thing”, Wallace Stevens said “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.” I like this idea of the poem and the reader working in sync with each reading towards a new shared sense of meaning, of perspective, of connection. That sense of the poem’s individual performance each time it’s read is something that excites me.

Yes! Each reading reveals a new facet, because the reader is in a different place.

Your most recent collaborative work is Sublime Planet. You mentioned that the proceeds go to World Wildlife Fund; can you share more on that?

Carolyn: We wrote this book to celebrate Earth Day. We already had books celebrating everything from Valentine’s to Christmas but celebrating Earth Day seems like a commitment to something larger. We thought about it for a bit and decided that we wanted an organization that most readers would feel comfortable supporting—indeed that they would want to help support.  But we also wanted something that would have worldwide appeal because the authors (that would be Magdalena and me) came from such different parts of the world. Our diversity is part of what makes this book on Earth and the Universe so special.

Magdalena:  We decided, right from the start of this book, that we would find an ecological charity and donate our profits.  Initially we thought it might be a proportion, but poetry isn’t known for being super-lucrative, so in the end we decided to donate 100%.  I suspect it may end up being more like 150%, but either way, the idea of using our writing to actually help a real live ecological charity, and WWF was a global one that we both felt good about, was something that felt absolutely right.

I want to thank you for that. By the time you add in the costs involved with publication, etc… this is a very generous donation to a respected, worthwhile, and much needed organization.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share a couple of my favorite poems from Sublime Planet: Transparent Love Song by Carolyn Howard-Johnson and The Immeasurable Sea and the Boundless Earth by Magdalena Ball.

Transparent Love Song By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

The amazing glass frog shows her eggs,

innards, and what she had to eat

that day to fellow Venezuelans

and anyone else who cares to look.

The barreleye fish her brains

to those who swim in deep dark

waters to find her. Down in Antarctica’s

ocean depths the crocodile icefish

has an oyster-white heart—not red—

a secret she does not mind sharing

with passersby. Somewhere in a valley

of a deepsea mountain range lives Phronima

whose invisibility protects her from diners

with a taste for the exotic, but not from scientists

who found her anyway, and out Hawaii

way a transparent larval shrimp hooks

a symbiotic ride

with a see-through jellyfish. The glass

squid lives down under, invisible

to passing whales and goblin sharks,

and—when that doesn’t work—rolls

herself into a ball hedgehog style.

A laboratory-designed zebra fish

willing to let scientists watch her cancers

grow, the glasswing butterfly reveals

only flowers beneath her wings. You, my dear,

the one who lives in my own domain

opaque

because, as they say,

Men are from Mars.

The Immeasurable Sea and the Boundless Earth by Magdalena Ball

A knife’s edge boundary

you can’t cross

no matter how loud

your song pressing

boundless earth.

It isn’t really the bountiful, beautiful

Earth you want

not the ocean rich

with mysterious kelp

you’d like to cross.

There’s nothing you’ll find

in your ragged quest

for life

digging dirty fingernails

against pica hunger.

Nothing there

in the uncharted horizon

your life spent mapping

dizzy with knowledge

and misunderstanding

you don’t already know.

Thank you, Carolyn and Magdalena, for visiting with us today and allowing me to reprint two of your marvelous poems.

The Celebration Series by Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson offers both greeting card alternatives (at a greeting card price) and gift alternatives for holidays–using poetry. Carolyn says, “We think of it as a way to popularize/commercialize “real” poetry.”

Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) will soon be here and these books are perfect little tuck-in gifts!

Following ate the titles included in the series so far are. All are available as paperback and e-books.

clip_image002She Wore Emerald Then: Reflections on Motherhood (http://budurl.com/MotherChapbook)

 

Cherished Pulse: Love Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/CherishedPulse) clip_image004

 

clip_image006Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine Apparitions

(http://budurl.com/Imagining )

 

Deeper into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity

(http://budurl.com/DeeperPond) clip_image009

 

clip_image008Blooming Red: Christmas Poetry for the Rational
(http://budurl.com/BloomingRed)

 

 

And, of course, Sublime Planet in celebration of the Earth and Universe

(http://amzn.to/SublimePlanet) clip_image011

To hear Magdalena read the title poem: http://magdalenaball.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/SublimePlanet.mp3

 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson  Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s several careers prepared her for promoting her own books and those of others. She was the youngest person ever hired as a staff writer for the Salt Lake Tribune—“A Great Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper”—where she wrote features for the society page and a column under the name of Debra Paige.

Later, in New York, she was an editorial assistant at Good Housekeeping Magazine. She also handled accounts for fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert who instituted the first Ten Best Dressed List. There she moved from reading effective media releases (then called press releases) to writing them for celebrity designers of the day including Pauline Trigere, Rudy Gernreich, and Christian Dior, and producing photo shoots for Lambert’s clients.

Carolyn’s experience in journalism and as a poet and author of fiction and nonfiction helped the multi award-winning author understand how different genres can be marketed more effectively. She has been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s renowned Writers’ Program since 2003 and has studied writing at Cambridge University, United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University in Prague.

She turned her knowledge toward helping other writers with her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers. Her marketing campaign for the second book in that series, The Frugal Editor won the New Generation Indie Best Book Award. You can connect with Carolyn at her website.

Magdalena Ball  Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagine the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at www.magdalenaball.com.

What is your favorite poem? Share your thoughts with us!