Studio Wednesday

About a year and a half ago, I took a Talisman workshop at the Center at Westwoods in Westwood, MA. In the workshop, we did an exercise to find a word that would best represent the talisman we were going to create in PMC. The exercise involved choosing images we were drawn to from a large pile on a table and then meditating and journaling about a word that we thought of when gazing at those images. My word was “connect”. I then created a small charm for each letter and later made a bracelet with my letter charms. Whenever I wear my talisman bracelet, I am reminded of my word and its special meaning for me. It represents the authentic connections I have in my life, both inner and outer, and how important those connections are to me.

Here is the definition of a talisman from the Merriam Webster dictionary.

1 : an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune
2 : something producing apparently magical or miraculous effects

This past summer I found an old stash of faux jade polymer clay I had created years ago at one of my polymer clay guild meetings. I created a pendant with the Kanji character for “beauty”. When I sat down at my worktable today, I pulled out the faux jade again with the intention of creating some more Kanji inspired pendants. Instead, I thought of my talisman bracelet and took out my letter stamps and created some word charms. I also made one out of black clay and Pearl-ex powders.

The charms are pictured above before sanding.  They’ll have much more of a green jade color once I sand away the red paint. Right now the paint gives the clay a pinkish cast. After baking, I drilled a hole in the top and bottom of each charm.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with my charms but creating them today in my warm, cozy studio next to a roaring fire lent a sweet magical feeling to my day.

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Tagged again

I’ve been tagged again for a meme, this time by Arline. So, I’ll try to think of 7 more random things about myself.  Let’s see…

1.  I am a voracious reader, reading about 2-3 books a week. When I moved 5 years ago, I discovered just how many books I actually owned so I gave a lot of them away and vowed to visit my public library more. I add books to my queue online and the library e-mails me when they arrive. I love this relationship!

2.  I love stories about Goddesses. Some of my favorite books when I was a child were about Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. Years later as an adult, I delved deeper into Goddess lore and ancient Goddess centered cultures. This led me to express this intense interest in my artwork by creating fabric Goddess doll pins embellished with beaded hair, charms and symbols.

3.  In the summertime during thunderstorm season, I am a doppler radar nut. I love anything weather related, especially lightning, thunder, wind and cloud formations. I think that I was a metereologist or a storm chaser in a former life.

4.  I am a devoted Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan.

5.  4 1/2 years ago, I had a frozen left shoulder. My physical therapist said that it was so bad that I would never have full range of motion in that shoulder ever again. I never injured the shoulder so no one could explain why that happened. After 6-8 months of intense physical therapy and reiki treatments and the most painful moments of my life, my shoulder healed completely.

6.  I love sweet and salty things together, like pretzels and M&Ms. I rarely eat them but I love them.

7.  I have lived in 5 states – New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas and Massachusetts.

I am supposed to tag 7 more people but instead, I invite anyone who would like to play along to join!

Saturday Morning Tea

This morning I got right into a frenzy of fall cleaning right after breakfast so my usual morning tea has now turned into my noontime tea. After all of that deep scrubbing, I was in the mood for something very light. I chose a China green tea called “After the Snow Sprouting”. The full leaf sets are plucked in the early spring. That’s a short 4 months away from now…I can dream…

As the leaves steep (3 minutes in 180 degree water), they lighten to a beautiful sage green color. The aroma is fresh and vegetal and the liquor is a light greenish yellow with a taste of fresh asparagus. There is a slight tang in the aftertaste.

Today I am using a blue and white gaiwan (traditional covered teabowl) I found at a flea market years ago. In China, people will toss some leaves into their gaiwan and then keep adding hot water to the leaves as needed, never removing them. The lid helps strain the tea as you drink it. I prefer to use my little glass teapot with infuser basket for steeping the leaves.

This past week I kept coming across the mention of tarot cards in my daily wanderings. I have a couple of decks which I used years ago to help me access my inner wisdom during a tough time in my life. Even though this is not a tough time in my life, there are challenges here and there and I feel like the universe is sending me a clear message that it is time to dig my cards out and listen to my inner wisdom again.

Now, let me see what that fortune cookie says…

Studio Wednesday

Today in my studio I made some more citrus canes – pink grapefruit and lime. I was surprised by how much fun I had making all of these cane slice beads. While I’ve loved working with polymer clay for almost 15 years now, I have never had much interest in cane creation. Creating these canes opened up a whole new world for me. I love to create cane fruit!

This is the view from my worktable. Don’t those logs peeking out from the plastic remind you of…..canes?

I also got a little work done on my September beaded journal “Tree Spirit” bracelet. I love that twisty tree branch stitch.

My friend Amy recently started a new blog called “Exercise Diaries”. She asked me if I would like to be a guest contributor and I was happy to oblige. You can read my post here.

Saturday Morning Tea

With each passing fall day, the weather is getting cooler. Sometimes I forget and open the door onto our backyard deck, thinking I will be gently greeted by the soft warm air. The crisp cool rush of air against my face quickly reminds me that those even 60 degree days are now past. So, I slept in this morning, so reluctant to emerge from my warm cocoon of blankets and comforter. Do people hibernate? This time of year puts me in that mode.

This late morning I am sipping a cup of rich darkness, an Assam from the Nahorhabi estate. As you can see from its photo, it has a good amount of leaf tip (the yellow parts) to it. I think that this brings smoothness and more complexity to the cup.

I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling water. The leaves are a German chocolate brown color and the aroma is distinctively malty and sweet. The tea itself is a warm russet brown and fills my mouth with rich malty notes that linger with a gentle pungency. This tea is so incredibly rich that I think it would stand up very well to milk or cream.


I’ve added some half and half to my cup. Its creaminess brings out even more maltiness in the tea. I usually don’t add milk or cream to my Darjeeling tea but I do like it in the darker, more full-bodied teas like Assam. For me, it smooths out the astringency that I find present in most Assams.

Today I am treating myself with a trip to the hair salon. Between the gorgeous color of this Assam and the blazing leaves outside, I am getting some interesting ideas.

Studio Wednesday

I’ve had a really lousy week so far so I decided to cheer myself up with some lemon and orange slices. No, not the fruit and no, not the candy that looks like the fruit but the polymer clay cane variety. I’ve been thinking of making a fring-y bracelet for awhile now, using lemon, orange, lime and pink grapefruit cane slices, and today was the perfect day to start that project!

I took a break around mid-day and went for a nice long walk. What a beautiful warm fall day. It was so peaceful and quiet except for the swishing sound of my sneakers on the newly fallen golden leaves. I love their sweet dry smell. The sky was so blue and the trees were ablaze in orange, red, gold and maroon. As I looked up at the trees, I could see the leaves falling down like a soft rain whenever the breeze kicked up. A perfect moment…

Back from Texas

I returned home from Texas last night, very tired but very happy that I could attend such a special event in my son’s life. It was an amazing experience, one that I now share with millions of parents across this great country of ours. To all of the young men and women making the decision to serve our country, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your proud service and selfless dedication.

I stayed up to watch too much of the Red Sox game last night when I returned home so, in light of this tired stupor I find myself in, I am postponing my Saturday Morning Tea til next week. To all of my loyal tea review readers, thank you for your patience. If there is a specific kind of tea that you would like to see me review, please let me know.