Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


A Year of Mindfulness: The Bottom of Your Feet

This Memorial Day weekend was a lovely weekend to be mindful of the color blue, our mindfulness practice from the past week. The weather was amazing. The sky was blue and there was blue in the grass & leaves. I could even see blue in the bean seeds I planted and in the cucumber sprout that pushed its nose through the dirt. Glorious blue.

Where did you see the color blue the past week?

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Bottoms of Your Feet

Hmm, okay, that sounds a bit curious. Our mindfulness practice this week is to be aware of the bottoms of our feet. This includes sensations on the bottom of our feet from the floor or ground as well as heat or coolness.

So why would we want to be mindful of the bottoms of our feet? Well, as with other mindfulness practices involving our extremities we typically move through our day without thinking about our feet (or other extremities.) After-all, our feet are about as far from our head as we can get.

By becoming aware of the bottoms of our feet, we begin to feel our connection to Mother Earth, we become grounded, and we improve our balance. An excellent way to become mindful of the bottoms of our feet is to practice walking meditation. If done barefoot, the sensations on your feet become more apparent. However, simply walking can increase your awareness of the bottoms of your feet. The same with standing. (I enjoy rocking forward slightly & then back on my feet when standing for a period of time.)

The challenge with any movement is to keep your mind quiet and focused. This week become aware of the bottoms of your feet.

Reflection: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. -James Oppenheim


Moonman Sculpture Inspired by Recent Super Moon

I’ve always enjoyed looking at the nighttime sky. As I get older, I find myself more fascinated with the twinkling stars and constellations. I do wonder “what is out there?”

The Super moon that we had a few weeks back was thrilling. Though it didn’t seem quite as large in my own backyard, some of the pictures posted online were fascinating. Looking at those pictures, an image popped into my head for a new sculpture. I drew the idea in my sketch book and began work on this new piece. I’m thrilled with how it turned out and am happy to share pictures of Moonman with you today.

First up is Moonman before he went into the oven. Looking rather fleshy isn’t he? Usually the sculpts are kind of ugly looking at this stage. He looks rather proud of himself.

Moonman Nekked

An acrylic wash is applied after the sculpt is removed from the oven and cooled. Then the fun begins when I add oil paint for dimension and character.

Moonman’s smiling face (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Moonman’s starry slippers (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Moonman in his starry jammies (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Moonman (Amy Crawley, 2012)

Moonman is approximately 4″ tall. He is made from polymer clay with a glass & wood armature. I think his smiling face might work its way into a new line of ornaments.

Thanks for stopping by.

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A Year of Mindfulness: See the Color Blue

Wow, it’s hard to believe we’re almost at the end of May and almost at the half-way point in our mindfulness practices. How are you doing with these practices? Noticing any changes? I’m sure some resonate with you and others you leave behind. That’s okay. I do the same thing. Of course, it is the ones that we wish to leave behind that are probably the hardest for us.

Last week our mindfulness practice was to say yes. Last week I said I found the practice challenging before it even started. The reason for that is, as a woman, we are often conditioned to say yes, whether we want to or not. That saying yes is being polite. That saying yes is what nice people do. However, for many women, saying yes to everything can create a passive person. Someone who is expected to simply agree and do everything.

So I bristled at last week’s practice. On one hand I understood the purpose (not really “giving in” and being submissive, but being open to others.) On the other hand, a lifetime of societal conditioning raised it’s head and fought the practice by saying NO. How about you?

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: See the Color Blue

Hmm, now this sounds nice. I love the color blue. It’s not my favorite color, but it does rank up there. The purpose behind this practice is to notice the color blue in our environment, not only in its obvious form (the sky) but also in its variations and subtle appearances. Ironically, this practice was brought to Dr. Bays by a student who was an artist and who was keenly aware of color. If you look for the color blue, you may find that blue is in almost everything.

This practice reminds me of a popular philosophical question: Is the color blue that I see the same color of blue that you see? Or, is what I see as blue the same thing that you see?

Probably not, because we bring our own experiences to our lives. No one else can experience our life as fully as we experience it.

So as you make your way through this week, see the color blue, experience the color blue in all its variations and subtleties. For no one will experience blue the way that you do.

Reflection: Colours are brighter when the mind is open. -Adriana Alarcon and  Let the blue sky meet the blue sea and all is blue for a time. -Moncy Barbour


Graduate Owl Ornimal Ornaments: Now Available + How to Sculpt Owl Feet

My Graduate Owl Ornimal Ornaments are now available for purchase. Five of the Graduate Owls are nesting at Five Crows in Natick & waiting for their new forever homes. The remainder are available from me directly. The Graduate Owls are $28.00 (+ MA sales tax if you’re a resident.) If you’re out of state, I ship via USPS Priority mail. Shipping costs will be added to your order. The Graduate Owls come with a story card and are placed in a clear gift box .

Graduate Owl Ornimals

Doesn’t it look like they’re going to break out in a round of hooting?

If you’re interested in buying a Graduate Owl Ornimal for your 2012 graduate, leave a comment on this post. Let me know if you’d like a custom color tassel to match your graduate’s class colors. Tassels are included for free. I’m already working on a second batch of Graduate Owls as I only have one left in stock. (Yep, four have already been claimed for some special 2012 graduates.)

How To Sculpt Owl Feet

In the midst of producing the Graduate Owls, I decided to make a series of videos on how they were created. The first one in the series shows how I sculpt their feet. Enjoy!


A Year of Mindfulness: Saying Yes

As we continue our journey in mindfulness, we were asked last week to let our hands rest. This practice resounded with several of you, especially those of you who use your hands every day as part of your job. As I write this, my right wrist is starting to ache. A good sign that I need to take a break and give my hands a rest. Because we use our hands frequently during the day, it is easy to forget and neglect them. So be mindful of your hands. Be kind to your hands and let them rest.

This Week’s Practice: Saying Yes

Hmm, I’m already finding this practice a challenge. This week we are asked to say yes to everyone and everything that happens. The purpose behind this practice is to recognize if the impulse to disagree is really necessary. Is it possible to simply nod or be silent and pleasant?

How often do you take a stance that is negative or oppositional? When someone is speaking, are you aware of your thoughts forming defenses and counterarguments? Can you resist the desire to disagree if the issue is not critical? How often do you automatically think “Oh no” during  a typical day?

When you are asked a question or are having a conversation with someone, become aware of your body language (tensing muscles, crossed arms), thoughts (“I don’t agree with….”), speech (“That’s a stupid idea”), or actions (rolling the eyes.) These may all be automatic, negative responses or reactions. Can you turn these around into positive reactions? Or perhaps no reaction (ie: the “silent and pleasant” comment above.)

As Dr. Bays states: “Not expressing opposition helps us to let go of self-centered views and see that our personal opinion is actually not so important after all. Saying yes can be energizing, since habitual resistance is a persistent drain on our life energy.”

So this week, try saying yes (if the situation is not dangerous to you or others), or nod pleasantly, or be silent, pleasant and neutral. Make note of what happens.

Reflection: If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.- Joseph Addison

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How To Put Together A Polymer Clay Toolkit

I teach several beginner level classes in polymer clay. During those classes I’m often asked what type of tools to buy that can be used with polymer clay. That question inspired my newest YouTube video: Putting Together a Basic Polymer Clay Toolkit.

Be sure to stay through till the end for a little blooper.

If you liked this video, be sure to click the LIKE button on my YouTube page.

I have a few more videos waiting to be edited, including a short video on pasta machines for polymer clay, sculpting, and painting.  Subscribe to my YouTube page and you’ll receive automatic updates as soon as I add new videos.

Thanks for stopping by.


A Year of Mindfulness-Rest Your Hands

How did you enjoy last week’s mindfulness practice to notice the trees? Hopefully it was an easier practice for you; a nice break from some of the more intense practices we’ve discussed. I love looking at trees. Their gnarly roots, the different patterns of bark, and just how flipping tall they can be. Talk about feeling like a speck on the ground.

Trees are also fascinating when they die. I love to look at the holes that woodpeckers have created in trees. To see all the layers beneath the bark and the crazy patterns that emerge as the tree disintegrates and the bark peels away. Some trees just invite you to crawl inside. But I think the prospect of coming face to face with some bugs or other creepy little insects will keep me an outside observer.

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Rest Your Hands

In theory this seems like an easy practice. Rest your hands. Putting it into mindfulness action may prove harder.

In this week’s mindfulness practice we are asked to rest our hands. To physically stop any activity we are doing with our hands and to let our hands rest comfortably in our laps. And this isn’t just a short break. With this practice we are asked to let our hands completely relax.

Our hands reveal much about our state of ease or discomfort. How many of you have a nervous habit using your hand, such as tapping your fingers, rubbing your hands, cracking your knuckles or snapping your fingernail? I have a tendency to crack my knuckles. I’ve eased off quite a bit since I was a kid but old habits die hard.

When you rest your hands and let your hands relax, the rest of your body also relaxes. Your shoulders relax and release tension. Your eyes become softer. Your back relaxes. Perhaps even your breathing slows and becomes deeper.

Consider too other times when your hands are tense and need resting. How about when you’re driving and you’ve got a tight grip on the steering wheel? Or maybe you’re sitting in a meeting with your hands clenched into fists? Be aware of these times. Remind yourself to relax your hands, to loosen your grip, to open your fist and let your hand breathe.

Reflection: Better is a handful of rest than a double handful of hard work and striving after the wind. -Ecclesiastes


A Year of Mindfulness: Notice The Trees

As we ended the month of April, we were asked to be mindful of entering new spaces. The focus of this practice was to increase our awareness of leaving one space and entering another; something that we rarely pay attention to as we tend to move quickly from one space to another.

How did you do with this practice? I failed. Dr. Bays said it was one of the hardest mindfulness practices and it is indeed. I rarely found myself pausing while leaving one room and entering another. Dr. Bays comments in her book that one reason this practice is so hard is that as we leave one room, our mind moves ahead toward the future, moving into the next room and what we will do in that new room. It happens so quickly that we aren’t even aware of it.

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Notice the Trees

Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful practice? This week we are asked to notice trees; their shape, their texture, height and foliage. Don’t analyze the trees. Appreciate the trees. If you don’t have trees where you live, notice the grass, the cacti, or the bushes.

What is the point of this practice? To become aware of our interconnectedness with trees, nature, and the environment. Trees are part of life. They provide shade, shelter, and filter air. You might even have a favorite tree to sit under, to climb, or perhaps it holds a swing.

I remember how much it hurt to see the tree damage that occurred from the early snow storm last October. The broken, snapped and twisted branches. And yet, this spring, many of those same trees sprouted new leaves and flowered as if nothing had ever happened. Now that’s resilience.

So this week, notice the trees when you look out your window, when you walk or drive.

Reflection:  There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. -Minnie Aumonier

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. -Dr Seuss (The Lorax)