Sunday, December 04, 2011

One of a Kind Gifts

Greetings~ I have an Etsy store, Under the Maples. I began posting my arts and crafts on Etsy a little over a year ago, a few months before I started this blog.

Anyway, here it is the season of buying gifts and I wanted to post a few of the things I have created specific for Christmas and the Winter season and also some items that would make nice affordabe, one of a kind gifts. To see more, I invite you to visit my store at

Please get ahold of me if you have any questions.

Golden Marionette Hamsa Dolls - I made 3. $15.00 each.. Buy 1 or buy 3 at 15% off.

A tropical Holiday "underwater." $11.50 each. Seashells and seaglass collected by me.
These can also be hung on the Christmas tree.

Silver Hamsa Guardian Angels. $10.00 each. I made three slight variations of these fierce guardians angels.
Buy one or buy three and get a 15% discount.

There is another variation of this "canvas" greeting card. Envelopes included. $12.50 each

I made three different canvas pieces with three different Rumi quotes. $16.00 each.

This is a Nature Keeper of Falling Leaves. $28.00

This is the Nature Keeper of Fallen Feathers. $28.00
Enjoy your days of shopping. And wherever you shop, I hope you take the time to pick up some home made crafts and spread the love.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My little gift to you.

If you have a few moments to read; then I offer you this gift.

The following is a blessing offered by John O'Donohue to me on my birthday. You can consider this as a birthday blessing for yourself as well on your day .... It is from his book, To Bless The Space Between Us. Yes, it is from this same small but powerful book that I have been picking up and finding insightful, soulful blessings these last couple of months. I also added a couple of pictures of places that I would choose to spend some of my time today...


Blessed be the mind that dreamed the day
The blueprint of your life
Would begin to glow on earth,
Illuminating all the faces and voices
That would arrive to invite
Your soul to growth.

Praised be your father and mother,
Who loved you before you were,
And trusted to call you here
With no idea who you would be.

Blessed be those who have loved you
Into becoming who you were meant to be,
Blessed be those who have crossed your life
With dark gifts of hurt and loss
That have helped to school your mind
In the art of disappointment.

When desolation surrounded you,
Blessed be those who looked for you
And found you, their kind hands
Urgent to open a blue window
In the gray wall formed around you.

Blessed be the gifts you never notice,
Your health, eyes to behold the world,
Thoughts to countenance the unknown,
Memory to harvest vanished days,
Your heart to feel the world's waves,
Your breath to breathe the nourishment
Of distance made intimate by earth.

On this echoing-day of your birth,
May you open the gift of solitude
In order to receive your soul;
Enter the generosity of silence
To hear your hidden heart;
Know the serenity of stillness
To be enfolded anew
By the miracle of your being.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Lunching with My Favorite Ladies

I had a really nice lunch in the Dog House.

No, I lunched at Yellow Dog Cafe with my Mother and my sister, Megan.

It is a little "shack" that has been transformed to a quaint cafe with riverfront dining. Being a vegetarian, that limits my like for creams and eggs, I have found menu and slightly off-menu choices from the "award winning" chief, also available. My Mother and Megan found enjoyable seafood choices and salads.

The warm Autumn afternoon view of the river, actually our Lagoon, was sensational. The golden sunlight glistened off the rippling water as the tarpon jumped. A dolphin fin occasionally broke water; it always is a reason to draw a companion's attention. We enjoyed all this from inside looking through the enormous window views.

i broke off yellow dog cookie's little tail...
 I had a quiet riveting verse of Happy Birthday sung to me by the "sing because it is joyful" ladies as a little carrot cake was brought with a candle, lit with the semblance of the light of a new year of joy to come. By the cake was a little yellow dog cookie. So adorable!! We all shared the cake, it is what you do with cake on someones' occasion. You commit to share in their joy, hopefully, to come...

So, Megan asked as I blew out my candle's flame if my wish came true. Yes. It did. I was having lunch with my favorite ladies.  

Life is full of times that sparkle with the gift of Love.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Creating Altars

I love the idea that my home is sublime, sacred. I have set up altars throughout to recognize this. The ancient Greeks placed altars in homes, marketplaces, public buildings, and sacred groves. I have altars outside in the gardens also, but I am not going outside today.

At the entrance, or front door, there is a small patio that is screened in. I have a few items here that show my respect to the seasons, the elements, and the Earth and Heavens. In this little spot, I also put together a meditation for the season. I place this on the altar. Well, it really is an old wooden table given to me when the neighbor moved. So, by now, you have the idea of the type of altar I have created: humble.

This Autumn, I have been enamored with the idea of Echoes of ancestors, of voices of the past. This altar piece has bones collected on a walk. They represent, of course, the bones of those who have gone this way before us. The feathers carry their words, their ideas on flight. The pieces of wood, willow, ignite passion and thought, and again, ideas. This piece upon my entrance way altar shows my welcome of the Echoes.

I have in my craft room another altar. I use it to meditate upon more personal matters. These days I find the need to meditate upon being free and what that means.

I recently have left my job, the “work week.” I now have time to engage myself in my art and my Etsy shop. I also love my connection with being “the keeper of the keys,” the housewife. Really.

This altar changes. But for now I meditate upon the concept of being free, Rumi’s love, the violet light and putting all of these together in my craft.

By the way, that is one of my I Ching dolls, Earth. She is almost done; I need only to adorn her with her symbol and attach her I Ching hexagram card. I have two other dolls, Deep Water and Earth/Mountain that will be on Etsy soon.

This is our House Altar. It is along the sideboard by the dining table. Tom and I are always added things from the beaches and the woods and the forests.  We believe that the unique feathers, rocks, empty turtle shells, seaglass, seashells, and things like that are gifts left for us.

Sometimes, we pick them up and carry them for awhile, only to leave them in the area found. Sometimes we leave them just where they are found, only admiring their beauty for awhile. And, sometimes we decide to bring them home. Through the years these nature gifts have found their way to this altar.

But, on this table, this altar, we enjoy the seabeans, the feathers, the roots, and fossils along with the shells and seaglass that we have collected close to home and far away. You can see the jars of seabeans and shells. On the wall is the giant root into which we place the feathers from many states and mountain ridges. We, too, adore, crows and ravens, and love the added images. All these collections add to the story of our life, Tom and I.

I have one other little altar that changes almost daily. It is for sure the one that I meditate upon the most. It is above the sink. The kitchen sink windowsill.

I have thought for a time that it would be a most interesting book of images or even a blog posting to gather, of people's windowsills above their kitchen sinks. I do feel mine is an altar and honor it as such. I honor daily that I have fine, healthy food to eat and clean water to drink. Water out of a faucet and not from a well or a stream miles away, taking hours of my time to gather, and then it's sanitation questionable is one of the best things in life.

I honor that I can choose organic food most of the time. I honor that my family is joyful and Tom and I "dance" in the kitchen as we prepare and clean up our meals. I honor the breeze that comes through the open window and cools the kitchen and carries the smell of curry throughout the whole house. I love to honor this altar with fresh cut herbs from the garden or a nosegay of flowers from the gardens. In the Summer, this altar always has new seashells and seaglass. In the Fall, marjoram or night blooming jasmine. In the Winter, orange blossoms. In the Spring, feathers. I love to keep empty bottles on the sill so that the light shines through. I try to keep blues and aquas in the area around the sink to honor water.

gem tree from heronsmoon on Etsy

Well, these are my altars. They may be small, but they are meaningful; they keep me centered in my home. We don’t need to go far to make a space sacred, a place that helps us stop and catch our breath in order to bring our mind, our heart back to center.


Monday, October 24, 2011

A Day Befit Words of Poetry


Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.


To Bless the Space Between Us - John O'Donohue.
Pictures out at Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Honoring Sun Day

As I said in yesterday's blog post, Alobar's enjoyment of the cooler Autumn weather has been noted by the swaying sound of the hammock on the porch. I was able to take a couple of pictures today.

On this Sun's day, he pays tribute in little ways. The alter to the Sun lays out for any who wish to take a moment to sway in the warmth of the glorious rays; to mix up molecules so that the altar, the honoree, and the Sun all become one.

I only imagine that Alobar is in the moment and has no possible want or need for these thoughts.

  May we enter
  Into lightness of spirit,
  And slip frequently into
  The feel of the wild.

  Let the clear silence
  Of our animal being
  Cleanse our hearts
  Of corrosive words.
           (excerpt from To Learn From Animal Being, John O'Donohue)

After I took these pictures, I  had a lie down for a few Sun Day morning moments on the hammock in the Autumn Sun's light, enjoying the seasonal warmth and the golden breezes. Tom was at Hospital on call so I had some hours alone to play and be introspective. I had an awesome CD playing chakra meditations. I have been playing it in the house for the last few weeks and have felt a stronger aura of love and kindness within and throughout the house and gardens. The CD is Tibetan Chakra Meditations, created by Chris Michell and Ben Scott. I have other chakra meditation Cd's, but this one is different; you sometimes don't even know that there is music/sound playing, there is just a feeling of balance. I have included a link to the Heart Chakra, compassion, below. Open up and enjoy.

Peace. (If not interrupted by the Screaming Parrot)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Slow Awakening

Today, I have found the effort to reinvent the essence of my blog: the colors and the template. I have kept up with reading all my favorite blogs over the summer months; I just haven't had the gumption to add anything to mine.

I think that we who live in the South have a sort of "cabin fever" that we experience in the summer rather than the winter. Some days, I felt like a slug, just barely able to slug myself into the kitchen to put together something to eat and something for tomorrow's lunches. The animals also experience this slug metamorphosis. The cats were in sleep mode within moments after eating. They moved ever so precisely to the coolest part of the house- the north front door stoop where we have a screened, small patio- as the temperature and humidity rose. However, just these last couple of days, I have seen the old one, Alobar, a cat with an otherwise quite envious coat of layered fur, chase lizards in the back patio along the screen. I hear the hammock swing on it's chained stand as he jumps on it to take an afternoon nap in the late afternoon Autumn sun. His little sister, Kudra, joins him. Her Siamese heritage allows her to keep her "cool" throughout the summer, much like me. She and I are the ones who will be suffering when the North winds begin to blow in the months to come.

But, now the sluggishness of summer is leaving us day by day. As it leaves, I realize that I have read more books than I can count; I have stacks of papers and magazines and odds and ends on tables throughout the house that need clearing and closets that need reorganizing. The gardens need tending now that the mosquitoes are not as prolific in number as they have been these last few weeks. I feel awake! I am looking forward to spending more time under these Florida Maples and relishing the joy of each moment of this journey.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Meet Me at the Well

As I listen to the Summer rain, I think about the symbols of water. I recently worked an art piece using I Ching symbols and highlighted the Hexagram 48. I did so because I felt that this Hexagram is one that is needed, at this time to help balance and heal our community, our Earth. 

It also is a great one to concentrate on in a season of "rain dances!"

Hexagram 48 of the I Ching symbolizes the Well, or more accurately the bucket and pole - the process of drawing water from the Well. To draw or throw this hexagram gives one the following reflection. I thought it appropriate for our World today.

Rustic sincerity is no error, but may have to be guarded and tended like a good well of limpid water to fortify against overuse and spoiling changes. The deep well is often taken as a symbol of basic vitality that is shared and common.
The all-important thing about a well is that its water be drawn.
Communities and individuals are to tend to and not neglect their source of inner strength. They need to set aside time to cultivate their contact with the inner sources through good meditation and other doings. Thus, a good well is useless if nobody drinks from it. 
A deep well has to be kept in good repair, and people need to cultivate their source of vitality by setting aside time enough for this deep purpose. 
The source of vitality is very deep inside oneself and everyone else alive in the community. 
The superior man encourages the people to help one another. 

For centuries, meeting at the water, drawing from the water,  has been a community affair.

In ancient India, this is evidenced by unprecedented step wells.

Step-wells were once used as for royal baths along with serving the purpose of reservoirs. Step-wells often had separate royal bathrooms for males and females with big verandas to stand in sunlight. All this would overlook thousands of cris-crossing steps which are steep and which make a pattern of upside down Vs. These steps were used to descend till level with the water.

When British Colonial rule came to India, the Step wells were shut down because they were believed to be unsanitary. Today, because of the beauty of the architecture, these step well structures are being revitalized and refurbished.

Samaritan’s Purse is coordinating an effort to drill wells in villages throughout the Nuba Mountains, supplying thousands of families with a source of clean, safe water.

Well houses are beautiful structures in their own right. Cool in the summertime, made of ancient stone or more modern wood for a bath effect.

In Europe, as in this picture of the Clootie Well in Glenda lough, Ireland, an old tradition is still around today. That is, the soaking of strips of brightly colored cloth to tie to nearby trees. This is done to pay tribute to the Spirit of the Well.

So, however,  you pay tribute to your community, remember the well. All may have enough, if we drink just enough to quench our thirst. A superior person, the I Ching, states, knows this, and practices this.  
The well is there for all. No one is forbidden to take water from it. No
matter how many come, all find what they need, for the well is dependable. It
has a spring and never runs dry. Therefore it is a great blessing to the whole land.

Help heal the Earth. Drink just enough to quench your thirst. The waters of the well will be protected by the many of us who will meet you there.

1. Hexagram copy 2. Book cover 3. Internet image 4. Abhaneri Images, Amantran Tours 5. Claude Renault . Book cover 8. Cup of Water « Connecting Peoples Southern Africa  9. Water of Life Well Drilling - Burkina Faso 10. Indiana University Well House 11. Bishops Palace Outer Gardens, nr City of Wells, Well House 12. 13. Laura Miller

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Early Summer Moroccan Colors

Early in the Summer, when the daytime temperature rises, I think of exotic colors and spices. I think of the inner cities and sights of Morocco. I leave the towns and places along the sea for later in the Summer. It is the sights of Marrakesh, the red city, these things that this time of the year brings to mind.

Even home in a cave is brightened. How cool it must be as the temperatures begin to soar.

Enjoy these warm days and nights and let your minds, as just the hint of sweet sweat dampens your brows, take you to exotic places of intrique and spices and color. Do you hear music?