Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Mothers, Don’t Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Punk Kitties

A few weeks ago, I introduced you to one of my new Ornimals, the Graduate Owl Ornimal. This piece received good feedback so I decided to make more for the upcoming Graduation season. And then I hit a wee little snag. I couldn’t find any 2″ glass bases in order to make more Graduate Owl Ornimals. I only had two left in my studio and one of those bases was supporting my prototype.

Geez, I really hate it when a good idea comes along and then you can’t find the necessary materials to make more.

I hunted around online, talked to some friends, and finally found a source. Thrilled with finding an online supplier who had the bases in stock, I placed my order. A few days later a box arrived. I anxiously carried it to my studio, opened it up, pulled out one container and said “Oh crap, they’re the wrong size!” And I mean they really were the wrong size by a whole 1/2 an inch.

The thought of returning the bases didn’t cross my mind. I was sure I’d find a way to use these small glass bases. I accepted this as a challenge. Thankfully the creative muse was on my side and within a few days this new little guy was sitting on my worktable.

Punk Kitty

Because of the size of the glass bases, I thought they’d be perfect to make baby ornimals. But something happened on the way from inspiration (a picture of a baby kitten) to action. Introducing Punk Kitty:

Punk Kitty (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

Punk Kitty Side View (Amy A. Crawley, 2012)

And don’t forget his paws…

Somewhere a proud Tiger Striped mom cat shakes her head and smiles.

And I won’t lay blame for this little guy on Robert Palmer, who happened to be singing away in iTunes while I worked.

As always, thanks for your continued support on this journey. And thanks for stopping by….

Have a great weekend.


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Welcoming a New Brood of Kitties…

Ah spring, when the flowers bloom and baby animals are introduced to the world. Here in my studio this spring I am “birthing” new artwork. So it seems rather fitting that today I introduce you to my newest brood of kitties.

Cat Ornimals In Progress

My large cat ornimals are sculpted with Super Sculpey clay over a glass base. There are several steps involved in the process from prepping the glass to the final curing of the paint. Here are a few in-progress shots.

Cured Cat Ornimal

Cat Ornimals after acrylic wash

Hanging out on the display

Cat Ornimals get some character

A New Brood of Kitties

Though I enjoy sculpting my animals, the real fun happens when I paint on their “fur” and add their eyes. Because each piece is hand sculpted, slight variations occur. That is the nature of sculpting for me. These fur balls were all sculpted in the same week, yet each one has a slight difference in its face that gives each cat its own personality. That personality becomes evident as the painting occurs. Between the sculpting and the painting, I hope to capture some of the humor in the animals.

Cat Ornimals 2012 Group Shot (Amy Crawley)

Grey Tabby Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Brown Tabby Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Siamese Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Tiger Striped Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Tuxedo Cat Ornimal (Amy Crawley, 2012)

This first group of five Cat Ornimals will be available for purchase in my ArtFire Studio in a few days. I’ll let you know when they have been added to my online studio.

Next I’ll share with you what happens when life gives you the wrong sized glass base and the creative muse is activated.

As always, thanks for your continued support on this journey. And thanks for stopping by….


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A Year of Mindfulness-A Media Fast

It seems hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the year. So far in our year of mindfulness we’ve practiced using our non-dominant hand, leaving no trace, eliminating filler words, appreciating our hands, and simply eating. We’ve paid true compliments, paid attention to our posture, expressed our gratitude, truly listened to sounds, paused before answering the phone, and practiced loving touch.

This past week we took the time to practice all forms of mindfulness while waiting; waiting in traffic, waiting in the check-out line, waiting at an appointment. How did you handle your time of waiting? We’re you able to feel yourself relax if you practiced deep breathing while waiting? Did you feel your frustration clear if you closed your eyes and meditated while waiting?

This Week’s Practice: Take a Media Fast

Practicing mindfulness while waiting seems to dovetail nicely with this week’s practice. This week we are asked to take a complete media fast. No email, no TV, no computer, no iPod; no newspapers, books, or magazines; no Twitter, Facebook, or other social media.

OMG!

Think you can do this? My first reaction was “Wait, I run a business. I’m the only one running my business. I can’t go cold turkey.” So I’ve decided a compromise may be in order. If you can’t take a complete media fast, can you eliminate one thing for the week? Or can you reduce the frequency of your media usage for the week?

The intent with this practice is to find alternatives to consuming media. Long before we had the internet and cable TV, most of our media exposure was limited to whatever happened in our immediate surroundings. Local news was truly local. Now that we can access all forms of media 24/7, the odds are pretty good that our anxiety has increased as we witness suffering that we are helpless to fix. That suffering sits heavy in our hearts and in our heads. We can easily suffer from “secondary victimization” where we are affected by trauma simply by hearing about it.

So this week, consider taking a media fast, eliminating some form of media, or reducing your frequency of exposure. Become mindful of what opens up or presents itself to you.

Reflection:
If we can decrease our intake of these toxic images, we can more easily establish a heart that is open and a mind that is serene and clear. This is the best foundation we can have if we want to move out into the world of woe and make a positive difference. -Jan Chozen Bays


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Welcome Spring!

Introducing my latest Bobble Totem, Spring!

Spring! 2012 Amy A. Crawley

Spring’s head is from the collection of heads that reside on my work table. He’s been patiently waiting several years for a body. His coat is a faux malachite cane. I took thin slices off the cane, applied them to a backing sheet, and added the other canes and seed beads for accent.

His birdy friend looks a bit like a robin doesn’t it? The bird was made with white clay and colored with alcohol inks. Spring! is another piece that that was created intuitively. I let the color of Spring’s! jade green face guide me in creating his body/coat. He hung out on my work table for a few days while we talked about how to finish him. The recent spate of warm days and singing birds must have spoke to both of us. Thankfully his friend is well-trained and promises not to leave a gift on Spring’s head or shoulder.

Spring is 9.5″ tall (base to bird).

Speaking of Birds

I was thrilled to learn that my pair of Blue Birds were featured on the blog Blue Morning Expressions. Thanks to Julie for the feature. The Blue Birds are available for purchase (separately or together) from my ArtFire Studio.


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March Slump

It has been a little quiet here at Musings from the Moonroom. While some experience March Madness, I’ve been going through a bit of a slump and not feeling very chatty these last few weeks. This usually happens to me during the month of February. Something to do with the grey weather I suppose.

This time my March Doldrums had nothing to do with the weather. It had more to do with disappoint in plans I made. Plans that never materialized or didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped. One disappointment after another left me wallowing in self-pity. I started to question myself and my plans. “What’s the point?” I’d ask. “Why bother anymore. I did what ‘the experts’ suggested and still nothing happened.”

I definitely exceeded my recommended 15 minute pity-party. In fact, I was starting to have a pity festival!

This attitude was not conducive to creating.

In place of creating, I attended Jennifer Lee’s 10 day Right Brainers in Business Video Summit which was a fun event. This was Jen’s second year hosting the summit. It features a different speaker each day accompanied by a chat feature. The event is free and you have access to the videos for 48 hours after the live event. Jenn also offers two different upgrade options that give you unlimited access to the videos and other goodies.

This year’s speakers included Mark Silver, Lindsay Wilson, David Goldsmith, Tara Gentile, Hiro Boga, Elizabeth Marshall, Alison Marks, Jeremie Miller, Chelsea Moser, and Jen Louden. Topics ranged from heart-centered selling, social media, and legal basics to earning money, spirituality in business, organization and technology.

Some of my take-aways from this event:

  • make a connection
  • post on Facebook in the morning & ask a question
  • if you need a lawyer, get all your thoughts down on paper first
  • know what sells
  • know how much you make
  • be comfortable with the value of your product or service
  • tap into the wisdom of your inner resources
  • what do you want to achieve with your marketing?
  • define what your organizing first
  • what is your message?
  • a lousy first draft is better than no draft
  • you need to invest in yourself first in order to grow
  • look at each day; are you trying to do too much?

Bench Pressing Away the Doldrums

That last point (are you trying to do too much?) was made a few times during the summit by different speakers. The more I heard it, the more I realized that part of my problem was trying to do too much. I realized that while I was spreading my attention over at least five areas in my business, I had drifted from my original focus for the year. And we all know that when you try to divide your energy over too many areas, something is going to suffer.

During this time I also pulled out my materials from Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Life workshop. I took the workshop in 2009. I’m sure Christine has made some changes and upgrades since then, but the basic bones of the program remain consistent. I started to get clearer on my intention for myself and my business. I returned to writing my gratitudes, gifts, and gains. And I started de-cluttering (the infamous, never ending clutter; it’s not just physical clutter either.)

In just a few short days, I began to feel my doldrums lift. Energy started to shift back to the positive and opportunities started to present themselves. The last 10 days have felt a bit more manageable. And I have started creating again (updates soon to follow.)

Bench pressing away the doldrums didn’t come easy. Some days it felt like I was pushing 500lb weights off my spirit. I really was concerned about staying stuck in this mindset. I simply had to kick myself in the pants, listen to my inner voice, and get clear on what I was doing and where I was going. Will the rest of the year be easy-going? Probably not. But I’m hopeful that putting some systems into place will make any future doldrums a little easier to bear.


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Ostara

Ostara Revisited-The Vernal Equinox

Enjoy this re-post on the history of the Vernal Equinox. Originally posted in 2008, the first day of spring 2012 looks quite different than what I saw outside my window in 2008. This year the vernal equinox brings temperatures in the 70′s and spring blooms bursting all around.

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Ostara is a neopagan holiday that is celebrated around the time of the Vernal (spring) Equinox when day and night are nearly of equal length.

Ostara comes from the name of an ancient German Goddess, Ostara, after whom the Easter festival may have been named (as speculated by Jacob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie.)  In addition, Grimm’s source, Bede, put forth a thesis that the Anglo-Saxon name for the month of April, Esotur-monath, was named after a Goddess, Eostre.

The Equinox is considered a time of rebirth and rejuvination.  It is, therefore, not surprising that Easter also occurs around the time of the Equinox.  Several “traditions” associated with Easter find their origins in pagan rituals, such as eggs which are a symbol of fertility; coloring eggs and hunting for eggs (decorated eggs were offered as gifts and to bring blessings of prosperity and abundance) and the Easter bunny and Easter chicks.

Chicks and rabbits are very fertile animals.   The rabbit was an animal sacred to the Goddess Eastre (Oestre).  Eastre is the Goddess of spring and presides over the realm of conception and birth (animal and human), pollination, flowering, and ripening fruits of the plant kingdom. By honoring the rabbit in spring, by eating candy in the shape of rabbits or chicks, it was believed that we’d take on their characteristics and enhance our own fertility, growth and vitality.

The bluebirds, a sure sign of spring, made an appearance in our back yard a few weeks ago.

bluebirds0208-01blog.jpg      bluebirds0208-02blog.jpg

Unfortunately the first day of spring in Massachusetts is rather dreary.  I found the following images on Flickr to remind me of the warmer weather and flowers soon to come.

spring1.jpg

spring2.jpg

kniteastereggs.jpg

Happy Spring!


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A Year of Mindfulness: Practice Mindfulness When Waiting

Here we are half way through the month of March. Spring is definitely in the air. Last week we were asked to practice loving touch as part of our year of mindfulness. Doesn’t spring time seem like a perfect time to practice loving touch? New growth is pushing its gentle tendrils through the ground and tender buds are ready to burst forth on branches.

Think about how you approach these tender new shoots when you see them. Perhaps you gently cup them in your hands or tenderly touch them with your fingertips. Definitely an act of loving touch.

Were you able to use loving touch throughout your week? I must admit that I did not do very well with this practice. Other than using loving touch in the most common ways, I was not very present when it came to other situations, like putting away the dishes. Once in a while I caught myself. But more often than not presence was not with me last week. That’s okay, however. Mindfulness comes in steps.

This Week’s Practice: When Waiting, Practice Mindfulness

Okay, this could be another tough one. The basic premise of this week’s practice is to take those moments when you are waiting and use them for deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or some other act of mindfulness.  So, instead of occupying your time with a distraction, such as texting, checking email, or getting annoyed, take this time to practice mindfulness.

This practice, like many of those we’ve already discussed, require that we return to the present moment. Waiting is one of those activities that makes many of us uncomfortable. We don’t like to wait. We don’t like to find ourselves in a situation where we could be “more productive.” Waiting implies stillness, slowing, or not moving.  In our hurry-up and rush, rush society, waiting is considered a burden. When we are asked or “forced” to wait, we don’t know what to do with ourselves.

With this practice, the phrase “hurry up and wait” may take on new meaning.

ReflectionThere is no great achievement that is not the result of patient working and waiting. - J.G. Holland

(And I couldn’t resist this one for the giggle: I took a course in speed waiting. Now I can wait an hour in only 10 minutes. -Steven Wright)


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A Year of Mindfulness: Loving Touch

The month of March began with a mindfulness practice that asked you to take a breath before picking up the phone. Specifically, we were asked to take three breaths before answering the phone. However, knowing that may not be feasible for your situation, taking at least one breath before answering the phone was just as good because the main point of this practice is to put some space or a pause between you and the activity.

How did you do?

If you couldn’t try out this practice before answering the phone, were you able to use it before engaging in another activity such as replying to a spouse, partner, or child? Taking this pause can be very handy when your normal reaction might be to sigh or say something snarky in response to a question or comment. It brings you to the present moment and helps you from being re-active.

This Week’s Practice: Loving Touch

I find this practice very interesting. In this practice we are asked to use loving hands and a loving touch with everything in our environment, including inanimate objects.

Now you might find this a little awkward at first but think about it. We using loving touch when we touch babies, lovers, pets and crying children. We touch with tenderness and care. Yet how often do you use loving touch when bagging your groceries, emptying the dishwasher or packing your suitcase?

Mindfulness of loving touch expands our awareness of how we touch things and how we are touched. This is not limited to just the touch of human hands. This can include our clothing, food, drink, the wind, and the floor beneath our feet.

So this week, be mindful of touch. Touch all things with loving kindness.

Reflection: Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.  -Leo Buscaglia


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A Year of Mindfulness: Pause Before Answering the Phone

Last week, our mindfulness practice was to listen. Were you listening? Were you able to quiet the mind by listening? Were you able to hear the uniqueness in even the most annoying sound in your environment?

In our active society, which is full of a multitude of noises, slowing down to simply listen is indeed a challenge. How often do you pop in the ear buds to block out noise? How often do you sit in silence?

One of my favorite practices is listening when I take a walk. I absolutely cannot bring myself to wear ear buds when walking. I love hearing the sound of nature around me. When I walk, I feel the earth below me and I hear her songs all around me. I feel a greater connection to nature when I don’t block her out.

This Week’s Practice: Pause

This week’s practice once again reminds us to slow down. The intent of this practice is to take three breaths before answering the phone. To put some space between you and the phone.

Now, if you’re like me, taking three deep breaths would mean that the phone probably stops ringing and switches to the answering machine before the breaths are complete. (Yes, I can take three, long, deep breaths.) In that case, take at least one or two deep cleansing breaths before answering the phone.

After taking those breaths, what do you notice when you do answer the phone? How do you feel? What is different between doing this practice first versus simply answering the phone?

If your phone doesn’t ring very much (and that certainly is not a bad thing), you can also do this practice with a timer. Or, take one to three breaths before answering a question, especially if you’re dealing with a difficult person.

Create space. Don’t rush forward.

Reflection: Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours. -Swedish proverb


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Here Comes The Sun…and a Bird…and a Heart

The other day I took a break from making the bobble totems with bodies. I wanted to make something a bit smaller that was quicker to put together. I am planning to add the bobble totems to my line of work and having a range of price points is always a good thing. The “tiny totems” would fit that mindset.

This idea for tiny totems first popped up in my head while making my hearts last month. I wanted to find out how one of those hearts would look & function as a totem.

Heart Tiny Totem 2012; Amy Crawley

The heart looked pretty good. Of course, while this idea was ruminating in my head, I had to think about other sculptural items that might look cute as totems.

How about a tiny bird?

Bird Tiny Totem 2012; Amy Crawley

Bird Tiny Totem (Side view)

Of course, what bird doesn’t enjoy a bit of sun?

Sun Tiny Totem, 2012; Amy Crawley

And here is the tiny totem trio:

Tiny Totem Trio 2012; Amy Crawley

The heart is 4.25″ tall. The bird is 3.75″ tall (to his beak). And the sun is 4.75″ tall to his longest sunbeam.

Have an excellent weekend everyone!

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