Salt Life

Hello from the gulf coast! Yes, we are in winter coats and hats and our baby is naked, but believe me, she wouldn’t have it any other way! We headed south in our camper van, Cricket, after the holidays to explore winter in northern Florida.

The beach is soft and white and in the right light you can’t tell if it’s sand or snow. I love the textures that form from the play of light and shadow. 

We are chasing birds, finding feathers, smiling at strangers, and savoring waves, sunshine, and sunsets. Lots of walks, naps with a view, new words and adventures in potty training fill our days. 

Balancing family life with the endless inspiration that comes from having a community of creatives keeps my heart overflowing with gratitude. It’s truly a blessing to have our extended family in the Hollow to share, grow, and create with. 

Panning For Gold in Memorial River

I’m panning for gold today. I’ve got my Dreamoire (journal), some images I printed last week, and my mug (from my niece for Christmas) filled with soy latte and dusted with cardamom and cinnamon. I’ve got this treasure of a dedicated space — my Imaginarium — and my beloved desk, a gift from my husband sooooo many years ago. It has scratches in it from my cats that annoyed me at their occurrence, but I treasure them now. The gold in those scratches is instantaneous time travel to… Holly sitting on my Desk, demanding my attention.

I miss her. We lost her just before Christmas to cancer – we had no idea she was even sick until the end, such a shock. Life’s shocks are the best places to pan for gold. The tragedies that crack me open reveal hidden treasure over time, but only if I allow myself the full experience of grieving. After Holly died, my sadness was so overwhelming, I had lost hope that I might ever feel happiness again. My logic knew from too many grief experiences in my 50 years that this was not true, but my heart’s heaviness saw no relief. I tried collaging and ended up tossing it out — I did save a few bits of ephemera I wanted to reuse. I carefully pulled them off and laid them sticky side up in a compartment in my desk out in my Imaginarium. Weeks later, I tried to collage again. I knew one bit of ephemera had gone missing – a little word that had been cut out of a Christmas card. I had no memory of what the word was, just that I originally had two and now only one. The next day I was in my house (not my Imaginarium shed where my desk is!) and saw a little bit of white on the hearth. I picked it up and read “Hope” and laughed out loud. I had quite literally lost then found my hope!

Holly is with my sister now, and so many others, like my friend Holly & her cat who died in an apartment fire in 2006. (I didn’t name my cat after her, they both came to me already named.) Like Michelle, my friend who introduced me to grief. She died when we were in 2nd grade. So many beautiful souls whose lives helped to shape me…. mentally bringing them each to mind now… I miss them all, and carry them all in my heart. I feel them — the essence of who they were in my life — so deeply.

I’m panning for gold in Memorial River today…today marks 17 years since my sister died (at the age of 38) in a snowmobile accident. We were best friends who decided to live like the old TV show “Full House” and we bought a duplex together right before she died. Her kids were just 13 & 14. My husband and I were not sure we could conceive – we’d been married 9 years then. That sadness from not having children of my own at the time became relief that all my parenting energy focused on them. As life tends to go, we did finally conceive when the kiddos were 16 & 17. Our daily lives in those years contained so much gold that simply wouldn’t have happened any other way.

Tina & Stephie

Never would I wish for my sister to be gone, but never could I imagine my life any different than it has been. There is pure gold in how her passing shaped me. That entire experience of the deepest grief brought out every part of me, taught me exquisite self-care, mastery in the art of living, of being gentle with myself, of faith in connectedness beyond physicality.

Here in the heart of winter, just beginning to notice more light, slightly longer daylight each day, I honor the wintering experiences life provides. I honor my sister, the two Hollys and so many others… with a river of memories… I’ll dig into my Dreamoire, list those names I mentally brought to mind while writing this, and collage. Practicing exquisite self care, I gently tend to my grief by panning for gold in Memorial River.

Fleeting Art

Have you ever created, knowing it’s soon going to be destroyed? If you spend time with kids you probably have. Luna is currently enjoying watching me draw, and then likes to scribble over it with a crayon. As a creative, with a case of perfectionism currently in remission, it’s a valuable exercise to draw or create with speed, flippancy and detachment. Lately, its taken the form of symbols and glyphs in the sand. Sand art is intrinsically impermanent, fun to create for the sake of creating. I love how Luna watches and encourages me to keep carving lines into our sprawling canvas with a piece of shell. To draw without thinking, just moving my hand in bold strokes as a sort of meditative practice. Standing back to pretend it is a secret language of glyphs and characters that was channeled. Laughing together as Finn runs through barking and spraying sand on us, wiping the canvas clean. 

Embracing these days of unexpected creation—of finding the whimsey, wonder and wisdom woven throughout. 

Will you create some sort of impermanent art today? 

Gold Everywhere

In Autumn, surrounded by death and decay, I am reminded that there are gifts in everything. There’s gold everywhere. Falls, losses, grief, and life’s difficulties build trust in our resilience as we practice gold-finding. We don’t always trust our own resilience, nor do we always know how to spot the gold. Autumn and Samhain are here to remind us. The cycle of life includes death. The light casts shadows. There is beauty in darkness. The resilience of human nature is a mirror of the resilience of nature.

Knowing the grief of losing people and pets, two of which were so shocking that I completely lost all strength in my body, then fell limply to the floor! The act of breathing felt impossible and the sensation was of having no bones in my body. Grief is a strange and awful landscape, the perfect place to hide gold. Loss is part of life. Trees know this.

Autumn is a role model of trust, release, beauty and acceptance, showing us mastery in finding the gold in decay as well as trusting resilience through the cycle of life–the seasons & cycles of nature. Tragedy and trauma are a part of life. When the level of trauma is too much for the level of trust you have in your own resilience, you lose trust. When you trust your resilience, the trust grows, and we cycle back into hope and enjoyment once again. The seasons & cycles of living go on and on.

May this season of mist & magic conjure gold from within its shadows.

Sugar Skulls & Bones as Muse

One of our moon names this cycle is La Luna de Calaveras y Calabazas and it has gotten me musing on skulls lately! This is a painting I used to teach back in my “painting on vinyl records” days! How do you feel about the aesthetic of the Day of the Dead sugar skulls? In general do you find skulls and bones interesting or gross? 

Creating my moon rock reminded me just how fun it is to paint sugar skulls – the color, swirls and patterns! Especially this simplified version!

I’ve found myself fascinated with bones over the years and incorporated them into some art pieces. I love finding antlers in the woods. My previous 4-H leader/best friend’s mom knew I was on the lookout for some bones to use in my art, and called me when she heard about a farmer who had lost a cow over the winter and there was a perfectly clean skeleton we could forage. That was the most extreme experience of gathering bags of bones, with humble appreciation for the cow. Below is one of my 3D pieces using her skull (it’s very heavy!)

I’ve definitely been inspired by Georgia O’Keefe as an artist and for her renditions of bones. She has a softness to her style that captures the beauty of bones. 

I would love to hear if you have every used the subject of skulls or bones in any art or creations! Or, are you inspired to now? I’d also love to hear your musings on bones and what they bring up for you. 

Delighted at 50

Reflecting on 50 trips around the sun, I am delighted with my life. Every aspect contains gifts within it, and I’ve practiced the art of living and enchanted life. I consciously surround myself with people, experiences and things that my heart & soul adore whenever and however possible. I face my shadows over and over again, and for the most part we’re old friends. Of course every now and then aspects of me even surprise myself. “Oh, look, more gold!” I say, then feel the feels, shed the tears, face the fears and carry on. I wouldn’t go back to 20 for millions unless I could take my practiced wisdom and creative confidence along! I’m happy where I am and eager for more!

It’s autumn, we’re surrounded by the beauty of decline, death, and decay. This part of the life cycle is where the leaves get to just stop trying so damn hard to grow all the time, show their beautiful colors, and be released from the tree’s hold. At 50, I am thrilled to be at the very beginning of autumn in my own life cycle. I’m fully embracing my bright colors!

In celebration, I’ve been creating Witches House Unboxing videos – the 8 box set was a gift from my dear sister. You can watch the videos on my youtube channel.

May this bring a bit of delight to your day!

Daily Wildflowers

I’ve never been so in tune with what is in bloom as I am this year. Luna has been taking me on daily walks to gather wildflowers. She mostly grunts and points, but delights in smelling each flower, and making sure everyone else who is on the walk smells the flowers as well, including our dog Finn 🤣! He’s a good sport about it. Sometimes her daddy hums the song by Pete Seeger, “Where have all the flowers gone? The girls have picked them every one.”

These moment of slow magic are just so special, of enjoying the purple asters and yellow golden rod, noticing details in the flowers I’ve never seen before, smelling aromas I’ve never taken the time to smell. I’m still working on turning off my mind and slowing down to noticing the miracles all around. Do you find your mind wandering elsewhere, even when you’re intending to be mindful?? I’m often amazed at how frequently mine can bounce around to focus on other things, and I think, wait a minute, we were reveling in the beauty of wildflowers, what happened?! I appreciate my little guru continuing to bring me back to the present moment, pointing, over here, there’s more flowers to be gathered. 

Finding new details in nature to be in awe of, noticing the slight changes from day to day, is a gentle tuning to the season that is working its magic on me. 

I invite you – will you go pick a handful of wildflowers today? Pause to smell them and notice new details you’ve never seen before. And hopefully, for a moment, find yourself in that blissful state of awe. 

Creative Projects!

The rains have come after such a hot dry summer, and my own thirst for autumn themed creative projects needs quenching too. I love to start a new journal, and this practice of seasonal journalcrafting with the muses works well for me! Each of the four seasons also contain another season within it, for example, Autumn begins Sept. 22, then about 6 weeks later we have Samhain which takes us through another 6 weeks or so until the Winter Solstice, or Yule. Each of the four seasons is roughly 13 weeks, and each of the 8 seasons is about 6-7 weeks — the perfect amounts of time to hold my attention span for goal setting, habit tracking, learning cycles, various creative projects and anything that just goes better with a bit of structure.

I am excited about my autumn projects – it’s my favorite season — the Season of Mist & Magic! I’ll be journalcrafting with the muses as usual, but also creating pixie-besoms, running a time-travel journey with the tarot, unboxing 6 more mini-witch house toys, celebrating my 50th birthday, playing in the leaves, and making more of my portable fairy portals!

I recently finished my summer treasure box, which we gave the magical name of Portofae – a portable storage box for the special items collected over the season. It’s amazing what can be done with a bit of cardboard, images and glue! Enjoy this sped up show-and-tell video! The Season of Bloom & Balefire (summer) is now safely tucked away until next summer.

I’m always curious about how other’s creative projects ebb & flow throughout the seasons. Do others find themselves as heavily influenced by the seasons as I? A walk in nature in the autumn is a completely different experience than one in the spring! I notice how the light changes, the air feels different, and different things call to me. It’s quite magical how the first whiff of autumn bubbles up an effervescent buzz of delight!

May your autumn be full of spiced delights, crunchy leaves and a harvest of love,

Sunflower Moon!

Every lunar month we collectively suggest playful names for the moon and then vote on one to inspire our crafting and creativity! What looks like play from the surface is really a much deeper journey into nature and ourselves, and the synergy born of interaction as we spark each other builds beyond what we can create alone! 

This past month we celebrated Sunflower Moon! In Capri’s Moon Ring Crafting Collective we gathered image boards of various artistic styles and mediums for inspiration.

Sometimes layering in our intentions or celebrations, with Sunflower as Muse, here are examples of our own creations!

Some of our creations we mailed to each other as Sunflower Moon Mail for our community art correspondence project in The Lunar Society!  Inspired by our moon name and infused with hidden new moon intentions to be magnified by recipients, together we weave a web of magic through tangible mail art!

In Lady Isabella’s Tea & Tarot, once a month we come together on Zoom to pull cards and explore an original card spread inspired by our moon theme! Here you can tap into the wisdom of Sunflower and try out our Sunflower Spread!

Continuing to tune into Sunflower messages, we wrote love letters to our inner Sunflower!

In our Mystic Raven Secret Garden & Apothecary we celebrated and became inspired by Sunflower with vintage naturalist drawings, learned about its healing and medicinal properties, explored soap and edible recipes, plant essence techniques, and enjoyed bountiful bouquets!

Will you go pick a bouquet of flowers – wild or cultivated, and perhaps include Sunflower?!

Moon Hollow Hideaway Playhouse

Wow this summer has flown by! Quiet days playing in the pond, exploring nature, and finding joy in the simple life. Painting doors to the Faerie Realm adds a layer of magic to our daily walks, and reminds me to connect with whimsey and my imagination.

One of the highlights is our time spent in Moon Hollow Hideaway – Luna’s playhouse and my Imaginarium. 

My childhood treehouse, built by my dad and grandpa, (here’s me and my sisters back in the day!) was re-painted with the help of my niece and nephew two summers ago when I was pregnant, refreshened with a cheery red, bright white inside, and a repurposed door so that we can actually keep things inside. 

What a difference! So fun to realize that when painting it I was full of hope and anticipation for these very moments, now that Luna is big enough to enjoy it together. We have fully moved in – with rugs, pillows, decorations, instruments, books and art supplies! There is something magically cozy about small spaces. I have discovered an appreciation for colored pencils and coloring books lol. I’m hoping to be able to continue to enjoy this space as the weather cools. 

A few of us in The Hollow are intentionally creating sacred spaces for our art and crafting – our Imaginariums. And we’re creating portals to each other’s spaces to peak in and offer inspiration, because, well, who doesn’t like a secret portal?! (You can spy mine to the lower left side of the door). 

Do you have a special place where you create? Is there anything you can do to spruce it up or give it a refresh of energy? We continue to realize how decluttering and organization can add to our creative vitality in big ways! 

We are so excited as The Hollow continues to expand and inspire new creative endeavors. Our muses have been flooding us with a steady stream of inspiration to share with our community and we feel so blessed to have this creative exchange. Sending so much love to each of you as we step into this Season of Mist & Magic!