Friday, December 24, 2010

Bah humbug!!

A Christmas Carol is one of my favourites to read at this dark time of year, and 2010 marks a first time hearing for my children! They have not yet seen any of the more formidable movies (1951 Alistair Sim or even the George C Scott version), that have made so well, the tale of Ebenezar Scrooge, but dear Donovan Boy - who still believes, and Little Gandalf - who can hardly contain his excitement, only lay listening to the richness of the written word by dear Dickens. Tonight they hear the final chapter, so apt of course of this eve.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and remember those who are not with us in this life and bless those who are far away. Magic is all around us always and at this time of the year, it is thinly veiled.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The Winter Solstice is here at last, did you get to see the lunar eclipse early this morning? The rain is still pelting down here in soggy California, with those that live in the hills on 'storm watch' for flooding and possible mud slides, which can be quite devastating.

Something about the holiday season brings either the best or worst out in people I've noticed. So when I'm out an about doing errands in the nasty weather, I'll try and smile, wave and be gracious in traffic, because we all deserve a little kindness in times of stress, right? Pass it on! I still live in hope that these little offerings will come back around!

Some magical new items to match the Winter line up of starry constellations, will be up in my online shop tonight, please stop by there to check them out. Great for 12th night gifts ( January 6th).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Scoping scapes

I've been wanting to make many things recently, but seem intent on making playscapes that I like to call Free-scapes, because they can inspired by a hike, a place or just your imagination and it's a very freeing endeavour ( for me at least!).

work in progress...inspired by a hike to Temescal Canyon
firepit and retreat cave with back exit

mushroom hideaway for faerie folk with spiral pond

I will have - fingers crossed- many mini offering at this years Winter Faire at OCS next Saturday December 11th from 10am-4pm.. but they are unique and cannot be saved! You can request a custom scape but please not after December 17th! I will post a custom request order in my etsystore or maybe you'll stop by to visit the holiday bazaar and spot The Phoenix Gift booth!

Happy shopping, remember supporting your artisan community is good for your soul!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy T Day!

many mini playscapes, will adorn the booth at this years
Winter Faire December 11th at OCS

Pops flies in each for the said bird each year for alas, old Blighty has no such excuse for early Turkey before Christmas and more than often it's a Goose!

Here in the U.S. of course, it's a great traditional get together of gratitude, fellowship and thanks. One of my favourite holidays actually. We have time off work to travel, share some cozy nesting time with family and friends, get our warm clothes out and on and play some games! Unfortunately it's also becoming an insane consumerism frenzied spend a thon.

I don't think I preach out here very much, but this seemed important enough to share a thought for how we choose to act during the holiday season.

This letter was sent to me today......

Each Thanksgiving, I think of Marie Tellismond. Two years ago on Black Friday, Marie lost her 34 year-old son, Jdimytai Damour. Jimmy-as his friends called him-was trampled to death while trying to protect a pregnant woman from a stampede of bargain shoppers at a New York Walmart.

Now, I've never met Marie Tellismond, but as a fellow mother, I am pretty sure she would give anything to have a day with her son again. Losing, or even coming close to losing someone we love, makes us get our priorities straight really, really fast.

Most of us have a choice this Friday that Marie no longer has. We can chose to leave the warmth of our beds before dawn, to sit in our cars in a parking lot at some mall and to spend the day searching for low prices on products which we don't really need and often don't event want, but getting them is all part of the Black Friday Frenzy. Or we have a choice to stay put with loved ones, to play board games and eat leftovers and maybe even play a game of football together.

If we're going to figure out how to build an economy and society that is healthy for people and the planet, this Friday is a good place to start. Let's opt out of the frenzy this year.

Please help me spread the word this Thanksgiving week.

With Gratitude,
Story of Stuff.
Suess-ical tree in La Jolla....truly though, he lived here!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ahh Autumn!

I hope you enjoy this poem, it so perfectly captures the feeling essence of Autumn for me.

To Autumn
John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

We went recently on an autumn hike to be inspired for playful free scape building in wool and to try and experience the feel of the new season. Treasures, not unlike the acorn pig nose, were found in the forestry route by the disappearing children along the winding pathways. A perfect walking staff for later carving in the winter was mine to have and hold, as was the breathtaking beauty of the playful wind painting with leaves that day! Though somewhat rocky in places, the children ranging from 2 -11 picked their way to the goal and were rewarded with a cool paddle in a small stream and some dried fruit.
treasure #1

treasure #2 and Little Gandalf monkeying around

hunters of forest treasure gather to plan their next steps..
On a completely different note, I have started writing a book that will hopefully be shared with the wide world upon it's's largely woolly in essence but will have some great creative and artistic goodies to share with felting fanatics!

in the works, quite large collaborative free-scape

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Poe Port and Potter

Glorious is the season that begins for me, with a lovely excuse to buy some monster cereal, read some favourite stories and dark poems, feel abundant in smooth dark chocolate and drink hot cider and warm port (Oops, nothing's actually new here!)

I hate to admit it but when I saw a poster of the newest Harry Potter movie, I was all excited at the thought of donning my witchy wardrobe to attend. I'm perfectly well aware this is lame and I had even toyed with the notion, of not going at all and waiting until its double feature time....we shall see....

The "Switch Witch" is the perfect example of none knowing where this started- or where indeed it will end, but nevertheless we have been doing this for quite a few years and it's still working on Donovan boy age 11 and Little Gandalf age 8! I hope they laugh with me about it later on......

These are our Switch Witch house rules:
  1. You must leave out your candy to receive a decent switch, i.e a small toy, book etc. a few pieces don't really do the trick with her hagness. ( see #2)
  2. You may keep only as many pieces as you are old if you really must have more candy.
  3. Please leave all candy in a cauldron or other suitable receptacle ( bag will do) to be easily swiped whilst riding a broomstick.
  4. You may not ask for something in particular for your switch, you never know what you will get, but hopefully it's something interesting and not a pair of old socks!
Have fun!!
good news! My witchy cat arrived today....
she does follow at my heels, but is a little sleepy most of the time!

Traditionally I like to hunker down and read different stuff at certain times of the year (like Sherlock Holmes in December!)... poetry is an all encompassing medium for conveying just the right insight or capture a mood. Here are some to get you started...

I'd start with some serious Edgar Allen Poe if you really want to jump in the deep end!

Last but not least..Lady Autumn comes wafting in on the blustery winds. A far more gentle creature who comes to the young at heart to remind them of a special shared secret and maybe a special hand made gift to remember her in the deep winter, the Gnomie Homies are back once again thanks to a great pattern by Carle for her acorn gnomes. I wonder when she will wander through our park to visit the wee ones at Seeds of Joy?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Yes it's true I've been wearing pink recently and even a shade or two of pastels... Not really sure what's come over me but apparently I've matured enough to don the fairer colours of the hues, after a lifetime of strong vivid's and bold prints - what's that all about eh?

It's breast cancer awareness month and you don't have to look very far into our circle of friends, family or community to find those who have battled.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jumping Jupiter!

Taken from the Farmers Almanac this month....
The giant Jupiter is closer than ever. Not since 1963 has Jupiter been so close, so bright, so easily seen—a result of its slow, oval orbit around the Sun that will take nearly 12 Earth years!
With two planets Uranus and Jupiter coming to opposition both on the 21st, they stand side by side this Equinox!

Finding Jupiter should be easy. Look halfway up the southern sky for the night’s brightest star. This is Jupiter and at it's best at midnight!

our very own Jupiter, who is in fact a great jumper, but likes to do this more...

Upon a shiny planet I wished for ....

dreamless sleep
space to think
starry nights
exotic travel

You can find the instructions and kit for these pumpkins right HERE!
However much one tries to rationalize it, the overwhelming sense of life fills the air after the spirited energy of the children from this years' Summer camp has long gone and Autumn is knocking at the window. I had the pleasure of sharing some thoughts with some Moms, at his years California Home-school Expo, thank you to those who attended the 'Zen and the Art of Handwork in the Home' session and the follow up felting class. I enjoyed meeting all those who attended and hope to be back again next year with more to share.

Perfect reminders of summer and fit for a pocket! Mermaid kits are easy and unique!
On SALE now at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Gosh, It's already the end of Ramadan, start of Rosh Hashannah, back to school for the kids and Summer officially is gone ( although we suspected that about two months ago).

I'm behind on my post, felting and laundry duties, well what can I do except wish really hard on a star for a hardworking doppelganger or PA to show up on my doorstep sometime soon? I find myself making stuff in my dreams or planning books, stories, landscapes and travel itineraries whilst I drive around without a radio, so all is not lost, someday I will be creatively fruitful again!!

In the meantime, I try my utmost to avoid the mainstream news, common colds, unfriendly drivers and dust ( makes me wheezy apparently). These avoidance's do not include and are not limited to particularly dark chocolate, Friday night ice cream that's on sale, valued friends who don't mind that I'm never around, and playing the new frenzy game of Ticket to Ride!!

Oh and football season is starting and so is WISC, so I'd better make my picks quick ( go Vikings) and stay on target ( said with star wars inflection)

The summer playground hunting quest with a 2 hour radius, was met with much gusto, off we trekked from highest peaks to rocky shores. It was the jammiest trip ever as I think summer shone upon those days we were away from the chore beasties and the computer.....:-)

summer playground #1
Big Bear mountaintop hiking fun..

yep, I found the place where the sea fairies live...
I may have to felt this one....

summer playground #2, pond weed lake - stripped and dipped!
A quick trot over the southern border for a hot lunch!

Little Gandalf contemplates the surf in la Jolla Cove...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Magic and Myths

The moon tonight will be the farthest and smallest of the year, but only those close to the ocean will notice the weak pull upon the tide. In preparation for this years astoundingly beautiful curriculum of geometry, Ancient civilizations and botany, we are drawn into the mythology once more of India, Babylonia, Egypt and of course Greece. I spent much of my childhood exploring various greek islands, and can see than an immersion of food, culture and stories will bring an important year of learning to the ever growing fount of knowledge - Donovan Boy!

The magic is already built in!!

All this while Little Gandalf will delve deeply into his fables, animal myths and a large quotient of knitting I suspect! In the meantime, off we go for one more short family excursion, this time to the farthest south of California, and after the recent return from the mountain top of Big Bear, we are happy to have breath to do so!

Ray of Light, always seems to find the prefect spot
( my photo shoot area this time)

Summer is finally here and I haven't had a single Margarita yet! The legs may even see a light shade of brown before I'm done, I may even finish the trashy vamp book :-), snooze outdoors in the middle of the day and possibly, just maybe, not answer the phone for a few days!
Happy Day!

some of my favourite summer colours - in the dye pot of course!!

I proudly managed to get into trouble for this lovely array of silk hanging on my balcony!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Planes and Cranes

The beautiful work from the Planes and cranes day to the wet felted
treasure pouches completed today...tomorrow, the volcano erupts!

For want of a better term, I've been MIA since mid June only resurfacing from teacher training for a quick birthday trip to the much improved L.A. Zoo and for the children of this years' Phoenix Academy Summer Camp, who have marvelled at the art work they have done this week and they never cease to amaze me!

"It's not poison - it's a vegetable." Overheard at the snack table...

I am too knackered to really write a bevy of fantastical stories about my observations this week, but will do as soon as time allows! Rather I wanted to share a slice of life for us over the past couple of weeks in picture format. I do have some recipes brewing, some gardening exploits and I haven't even shared the illustrious work of some talented felters from a recent fantasy playscape class either. After the fast approaching California Homeschool Expo this weekend, where I am tasked with speaking about Waldorf education in the home, I will have more stories to share and hopefully some pics too, that don't embarrass me too much!

Ah! The out breath of Summer shines on everyone it seems.

best way to keep cool in the midday sun, munch on cactus leaves?

Just loved this shot from the zoo,
doing what he does best.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Rounds

As I move through July in a maze of birthdays, gray skies and limited time to ponder the world or relax, I wonder about the shape of things to come, how they morph and how I may meet them in the future.

Donovan Boy reached the grand age of 11 today. Last eve, we retold his beautiful birth story, I stayed up until 1.06am, fave foods of spaghetti and choc pudding pie were on the menu, a big day out with friends, where we were freaked out by some ancient mummies from around the world and all culminated in a final bloody battle of a 3 day old God Storm Risk!!

Today is about loving ...
my silver hair
my mothers voice far away, singing
family - and friends are that too
an answer to a question....please.

Ya know, Thursday's are the worst ( unofficial) traffic days, have you noticed too?

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Campers at the Phoenix Academy Summer arts program spent their days walking in imagination filled nature, singing silly songs, playing games and engaging in artistic endeavours each day. With budget cuts slashing even the programs in schools, that are supposedly arts-integrated, the children lapped up the painting, collage, sculpting, wet felting pictures and cooking! Held together with a unique Super Me! game, and as much swimming our poor cold bodies could bear in this abominable atmospheric condition California is trying to call 'Summer', we all had loads of fun!

Now I am gearing up for the next intensive - but splendid - week of Eurythmy with WISC (Waldorf Institute of Southern California) with the hope that I can also pull off starting and completing successfully, a UCLA early childhood course during the next 9 weeks.

So long summer vacation!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sloshin' around...

The oceanfront in Encinitas, San Diego, was certainly a treat to visit and stay for a first of several days attending Waldorf teacher training with WISC. The amazing patience and wisdom of Steve Spitalny coupled with the charismatic eurythmist Dean Pollard threw caution to the early childhood winds and inspired those present with their thoughtful insights in the realms of the 12 senses of the developing human. I'm still processing all that today...thank you!

Food for thought by Dean Pollard
A prelude to this amazing week was a trip to The Black Sheep Gathering in lovely and friendly Eugene, Oregon. The hippest of neighbourhoods there has to be the one where art is created at the roadside curb on every turn! This curbside garden came complete, with cycles aplenty and plumes of cabbage and runner beans climbing stakes.

This is not my garden

When the heat like a mist veil floats,
And poppies flame in the rye,
And the silver note in the streamlet's throat
Has softened almost to a sigh.
It is July.

Susan Hartley Swett (1860–1907