Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weathering the Winter

Contrast on the rocky glades

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mushroom Monday: Winter Roundup

Perhaps the wild winter rains of the Midwest have prolonged the mushroom season or perhaps there are always some lingering fungi during the cold months. I don't recall seeing so many (or perhaps looking for them) in the past years. Since I have attuned my sight to find fungi - I have found it. It is such a nice surprise, too. Like finding flowers in bloom in the dark of winter. I even found my first Oyster Mushrooms on a giant dead Elm tree. They are edible but I couldn't tell how fresh they were (since the cold air has likely preserved them) so I left them on the tree as white wintry adornment. I've been seeing lots of mushroom (faerie) rings, too, and tons of the hard to identify little white mushroom. Though I know it is far too soon, I am already dreaming of spring and the hunt for those lovely morels.
Oyster Mushrooms on Elm Tree
Underside of Oyster Mushrooms

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

? Perhaps tiny oyster mushrooms.....on the same tree.

A ring, or a crescent rather, of mushrooms

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Holiday Creations

Some hand-crafted, heart-felt, holiday gifts from me to loved ones - a leather bound journal, a memory game with wood burned wooden cards, & a little galaxy watercolor.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A New Year

May the coming year overflow with blessings & joy, journeys & discoveries, wonder & whimsy. May we take the time to look for these things in our lives for they are all around us.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Wishes

Peace & Joy to you & your families!
A homemade, ephemeral Ice Votive filled with evergreen and rosehips

Monday, December 21, 2015

Yuletide Tidings

The wheel goes round. And here we are again, always unbelievably quickly, at the door step of Winter, the solstice, the longest night. It is strange here today - it feels like March. The sidewalks and stones sweat in the mild morning. It will be around 60 today. In my bones I feel tulips pushing up but it must be a mirage. Winter is surely just masquerading, making merry with the rest of us.

May your cold (or mild) winter be full of warm hearts, warm hearths, and hot drinks full of spice and stars.

Mushroom Monday:
Lovely Lavender Blewit

I was so pleased to wander upon a Blewit Mushroom with gills of such a soft lovely purple in mid December. I guess it has been a wet and mild month. What a prize - an edible prize! I only found one but cleaned it and sauteed it in butter. It was delicious. Hope to find more.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

12 Days of Christmas (Journals)

An order of 11 journals just completed for Inviktus Salon's lucky employees. And one below for boss lady :)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Whimsical Winter Windows

 Some festive shop windows that have been keeping me busy. At least I have had many fair weather days to paint.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Ramble Around Ireland #5:
Stone Circles

Ballynoe Stone Circle

These ancient stone circles are strewn all about the Ireland and the British Isles along with other formations such as standing stones, dolmens, & cairns. The purpose of these relics are still mostly a mystery. Theories range from scared burials and religious/social gathering places to celestial observatories (many are aligned with celestial bodies or events). Today, they serve to keep the people connected to the earth and to history, their ancestors. And many folk still feel a connection, often leaving an offering of cloth or trinket on a revered tree as one might light a candle in a place of worship.

We've visited several stone circles in Ireland, England, and Scotland over the years. While some stone monuments have remained as towns and roads built up around them, the ones we have visited have been rural and secluded. It is in this setting that one feels utterly removed from time. The trappings of the modern world fade easily away. If you drive there, you'll leave your car behind and must journey further on foot to arrive on a hill or a plain where the stones still lie after all these centuries. And usually there is a wind, a wind that erases and sound of modernity, a wind that howls from another era. 

At Ballynoe Stone Circle, below, you enter via a dense tunnel of thicket and briar, hedges hung with plump, ripe blackberries and a few wind chimes. You walk from modern road to ancient stones within this transporting tunnel.

Ballynoe has over 50 stones and is believed to date back to around 3000 BCE. The circle is over 33 meters wide and cremated remains have been found here. Beaghmore site has seven circles, ten alignments, and 12 cairns. It was discovered as farmers cut peat in the 1940s and dates to the Bronze Age, 2500-500 BCE.  
Hedge Tunnel to Ballynoe Stone Circle, County Down

Tree hung with offerings at Ballynoe

Ballynoe Stone Circle

Ballynoe Stone Circle
Offering Tree at Beaghmore
Beaghmore Stone Circles
Rows at Beaghmore Circles
Beaghmore Stones

Beaghmore Stone Cirlces

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


December is upon us and so softly and silently did it creep near. The longest and darkest nights will soon be here. I decorate my home so that it is more magical to spend to time in than usual but still I remind myself that I am not quarantined within these walls because it cold or dark. The winter wood holds new marvels. So I watch the sun set and the moon rise and keep warm by a winter fire. May your December be filled with some natural wonder, too.  

Monday, November 30, 2015

Ramble Around Ireland #4:
Dundrum Castle

Heading north from Newcastle, but following the coast, we stopped at Dundrum Castle, an Anglo-Norman castle which was built beginning in the 12th century. Dundrum was a modest ruin you can climb a small tower for spectacular views. The view illustrates how strategically located the castle is. It is worth noting that most of the ruined castles like Dundrum are usually looked after and well kept by a Heritage council and are free to the public. I love how generous the Irish are with their artifacts, their history, their culture. We also stopped at Tyrella Beach which had grand views of the Mourne Mountains. What a beautifully sunny view of the Irish Sea.

View from base of Dundrum Castle of Dundrum Bay

Mourne Mountains from Tyrella Beach

Where the Mountains of Mourne Sweep down to the Sea