Friday, October 31, 2014


Carving the big orange pumpkins that we do nowadays is a relatively new thing, and is considered a very American thing as well. Though gourd carving has been practiced all over the world, back in the day, at least as far back as the 1800s (and doubtlessly even farther back), people in Europe, especially England and Ireland, would carve lanterns out of turnips and beets. I decided to give beet carving a whirl this Halloween and was very pleased with the results.

I love very primitive, simple figures and these beet carvings certainly fit the bill.

A small tea light will just barely fit into these---also, I threaded some wire-covered ribbon through the sides of the beets to make handles.

There are all sorts of possibilities---carved zucchinis, apples, acorn squash, etc etc. I used an apple corer to hollow out the beets and then just a small knife to carve the simple faces. I love how it is an older tradition, but makes my Halloween display look different, edgier somehow.

Happy All Hallow's Eve!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Found Art Project---Paper Masks

As we turn towards Halloween, it occurred to me that this is an excellent time to do another art storm. Especially since I had some paper masks left over from a recent thrift trip that were very spirit-of-the-season. None of them had strings on them, so I made some fasteners out of some left-over yarn I had from a previous art storm and soaked the yarn in one of my favorite fragrances, the aptly-named "Autumn".  I then took the masks out and left them along a running trail. This time I decided to group them all together in a thicket at a turn in the trail system.

This way, when someone comes around the corner, at least from one direction, they will be met with all these faces hanging from the bushes. Had I more time, I would have made some masks of my own to go with these pre-printed masks---I think it would be incredible to have dozens of these hanging off of bushes and trees---maybe next time :)

Boo! Happy Halloween :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Further Mushroom Festivities

 In keeping with the mushroom theme of my former post, I thought I'd share some pictures from this weekend's Yachats Village Mushroom Festival. Located in a charming coastal town, this festival is smaller than the other one I usually attend, but it more than makes up for it's size with it's overall spirit---the whole town gets into a mushroomy mood. 

I have to say that our weather has been very dry and hot this year. I was a little worried about how many mushrooms might actually be out by the time the festival occurred, given how little moisture there was. Fortunately, it rained a few days beforehand and when I stopped with my friend to go on a favorite little forest path, we saw tons of new mushrooms sprouting out of the pine-needle carpet:

This bode well for the festival and, indeed, there were plenty to be seen, both on the walk we attended and the display that was set up in the Lion's Hall.

Amanita Muscaria

Cauliflower Mushroom

The mushroom walk revealed not only amazing mushrooms,

Lobster Mushroom


But also this guy, who was nestled down in the moss next to a clump of small fungus:

A newt? A salamander?

We also visited the Giant Spruce Tree which has an opening under it large enough to get inside:

In town, we made a stop at the Lion's Thrift Store and, in keeping with the woodland flavor of the day, we found these awesome fabric fern napkins for a quarter apiece!

I have to share this with you, a present my friend got on Etsy and gave me in honor of our mushroom celebrations:

Cart Before The Horse

Incidentally, if you are interested in Amanita Muscaria and it's presence in folklore and history, please see my friend's blog Raven's Bread, where she has long been collecting various images of the Amanita in art and culture.

Ye olde disclaimer--I am not a mycologist. I present these pictures for our mutual enjoyment, not for identification purposes. If you are going to collect mushrooms, do so with an experienced mushroomer.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Owl Tea Party

I'm a firm believer that if you have really amazing vintage china, then you should use it. Sure, keeping it safe high on a bureau or in a china cabinet is better for it in the long run, but these things were made to be used---they long to be used.

So that is what I did around the turn of the Fall Equinox when I invited my friend over for some tea in my prized owl teapot, and for some "glamourbombing".  I had never heard of the term "glamourbombing" before I met my friend Dver---I had always known the practice as "found art", "guerilla art", or "artstorming"  (see another example of one we did in the past here). The reasons for doing this can range from the simple joy of creating an art piece and releasing it free into the world for someone else to find, to serious devotional offerings. And sometimes, for all reasons together. The theme we chose for this session was mushroom appreciation. And, no, we didn't drink mushroom tea (the mushroom in the picture is a maitake)---we drank the Lavender Tulsi tea you see in the picture above. Quite good, BTW.

I did make mushroom-shaped sugar cookies for the occasion and they turned out great!! You can buy all kinds of wacky, glittery frostings that probably aren't especially healthy, but they look fabulous. You have to make concessions sometimes:

Fall is an excellent time to appreciate mushrooms as many varieties of them choose to pop out of their mycelium carpet during this time. They are some of the most amazing organisms on the entire planet. And, they have a significant presence in religion, myth and folklore. Dver and I chose slightly different mediums for our glamourbombs this time around---she made some wonderful paper clay mushrooms painted in metallic colors:

 some great little paper mushrooms on popsicle sticks:


 and some hanging tags made with mushroom playing cards (off to the left):

I ended up making the mushroom/lichen tiaras you see in the picture

We took our treasures/offerings to a wooded park and distributed them along the path and in the trees:

While we were placing our glamours a woman came up to us and said she was an art instructor at the university and that she loved what we were doing---art should come off the "white walls" and out into public.

Couldn't agree more :)

All the pictures in this post, except for the owl teapot and cookies pictures, were taken by Dver.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thrift Store Therapy---Hefty Gnome

One load of stuff taken to the thrift store + one 20 % off coupon = one badass concrete gnome! The wheel of stuff goes ever on....

linking up with Thriftasaurus

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pinterest is for....Conservatives?

The Graphics Fairy

I ran across this article in the Washington Post the other day and had a good laugh. Clearly, the author of the article, and the Harvard study she cites, didn't bother to actually go on Pinterest and explore the different boards. All a person has to do is type in "liberal", "pro-choice", "feminist", "environmentalism", "pagan", "vegan" or any number of other words not commonly associated with conservatives (and, yes, I know there are conservative pagans, etc, etc), to see that Pinterest has a broad spectrum of political/lifestyle leanings. I can't understand why Pinterest has garnered the association that it's only for "vapid, stay at home moms who like to shop on the internet". For one thing, I don't have a problem with stay at home moms, or anyone who shops on the internet (which would be just about everyone these days?). It's a free(ish) country---people pin all kinds of things (and there are plenty of people outside of America who pin as well). The only criticism I can give some weight to is that sometimes you can't get back to the original source of the pin---but that criticism could be made about a lot of platforms---like Tumblr, for example. The article seems to sneer about people pinning recipes and Etsy stuff---uh, so what? That's what the site is for. Just like Twitch is a site for gaming where people go to watch other people play games---not generally talk politics.

Strangely, the article and associated studies don't even bring up YouTube, where you can not only find makeup tutorials and cat videos, but an astonishing plethora of political leanings, including alternative news shows---aha, maybe that's why the Washington Post doesn't mention it ;) 

Ultimately I guess I am irritated with blanket statements and superficial research, even in the guise of a "fun" look at the function of politics on various sites.

Are you a Pinterest user? What do you think?