Stamping Christmas Cards (sorry it’s so early)

I’m happy to report that I’m working way ahead of schedule this year in the area of Christmas cards. Year before last I stitched some Christmas card beauties and, frankly, set the bar way too high for myself, as witnessed by last year when I barely wrote replies to those industrious souls who kept us on their list. It’s a tough grind that one wants to keep going right? (Yes we do – it’s worth it – handwritten snail mail rocks!). In some cases it’s our only reachout to some of our favorite people! And once my progeny moved out of the house the ready-made family photo was no longer available as card material, so I had to come up with something (dog photos? Scruffy is pretty Scruffy-licious!)

Draw a Few/Carve Once – Stamp Lots

One of the things I love about rubber stamp carving is that it allows me to easily share a creative idea across multiple media. I’ve just experimented with paper here but I can see some fun to be had in stamping material with these (handmade stamped canvas gift bags?).

I sketched so many trees before I figured this one out! I like the way it comes out after Sharpie embellishments.
So many things to love…

The drawing for the tree stamp is partially showing top right, so that’s fun to see in it’s original state (the candy cane and heart you’ll see in a minute). Then the poinsettia, which I stamped in a darker red to accentuate the spaces, and also in a lighter red so I could marker-outline the edges. Right now I can’t decide which I like more. Let’s make 10 of each!

I think those are the winners in this year’s contest for “Which Rubber Stamp Carvings Will Make This Year’s Christmas Cards” (the acronym isn’t worth it…this contest may never happen again).

Runners Up

Candy canes big and small deserve air time, and I’m here to make sure that happens.

The heart candy canes are my own design (though I doubt I’m the first to think of it so I won’t be seeking a patent) and I think they’ll look great on the sealed back of a Christmas/Valentine’s Day card envelope.

The larger candy cane stands alone as a tribute to lazy rubber stamp carving. It was easy, so I did it, and I can’t imagine where I’ll use it. Such is the way with rubber stamp carving sometimes. (Good news: I used a scrap piece from another stamp to make it, so no full rubber stamp lives were lost in the making of this candy cane stamp.) Phew! Thank you for your concern.

Sending love and thoughts of light. What art are you working on today?



Zentangle: Is It Cheaper Than Therapy?

I’ve seen the word “zentangle” come up in “adult coloring” searches and have been thinking about it for awhile. This weekend I decided to do an image search on “zentangle designs” and I dove right into the vat of kool-aid. Now I’m a zentangle addict with some fine-tip Stabilo colored pens on order (due to arrive any day now, but who’s counting. I am. That’s who’s counting.)

It All Started with Chisel Tip Sharpies and a Kleenex Box

I *think* I bought this set of Sharpies for a banner that never got made (how else does one find oneself in ownership of a full rainbow set of large chisel tip Sharpies?).

Then there was the Kleenex box in my office that has white flower designs. I had a few Sharpies in my office pen holder and lots of time on my hands listening in on business meetings…so doodling began. Along the way I realized that these big Sharpie markers had a calligraphic edge so they got carted out to my office for further doodling (pictures forthcoming, once the masterpieces are complete…of course. Reminder: There are 6 sides to a Kleenex-box-work-of-art. Have patience people. Reminder to Self: This Kleenex box “work of art” is destined for the Recycle Bin. Art Everywhere!)

What Would These Sharpies Look Like in My Art Journal?

My mom is my first official Art Supporter and she enrolled me once in a brief calligraphy class that involved “nibs” and “ink” and some really cool lettering (I was probably 12 yrs old). As soon as I started messing with these chisel tip markers it all started coming back…

First I tried practicing the calligraphic strokes I remembered
First I tried practicing the calligraphic strokes I remembered, plus some general mark-making.

As you can see on the next page I started one of those “zentangle” designs we used to make in kindergarten (Instructions: scribble a big set of connecting loops then color the inside. The beginning of many refrigerator-art-masterpieces…not to mention adding wax paper, crayon shavings and an iron.  We were all artists in kindergarten and we still are!!)

Here’s another angle of the tangle (ok that was fun):

Crayons graduated to Sharpies...and more ideas are generated...
Crayons graduated to Sharpies…and more ideas are generated. I barely got done with the Sharpies before I was off and running in my sketch book with some fine-tip markers.


Taking It to the Image Search

Once I realized the similarity between our childhood scribble homework from kindergarten and the “official art form known as zentangle” I was off and running.

My favorite image search engine provided helpful filters (in lovely rainbow colors) to show me what everyone is up to in the zentangle world (it’s a whole world y’all). I saw “hand” and “step by step” and started making some marks.

Hand Patterns in Zentangle

When I saw what the world is doing with handprints and zentangle I had to get me some of that. So I made the old turkey beginning handprint with a pencil and started doodling.

Here' the first one I did of my hand using a couple of super fine black sharpies.
Here’ the first one I did of my hand using a couple of super fine black sharpies.


Here's my mom's hand with some different designs.
Here’s my mom’s hand with some different designs. I love the 3D designs and keep trying to emulate them.


The railroad tracks were the first design on this handprint (hard act to follow).
The railroad tracks were the first design on this hand print (hard act to follow, but easy to learn from the free online tutorial graphic). The “tendon design” on the thumb turned out pretty cool. The middle finger is a 3D pattern gone wrong (and saved at the last minute :).


And then I got hold of my daughter's Stabilo point 88 color markers...
And then I got hold of my daughter’s Stabilo point 88 color markers…Oh Happy Day!


Another "selfie" with colors
Another “selfie-hand” with colors

Shortly afterwards my daughter packed up her supplies/belongings for college and I was left to my own devices. I promptly ordered another set of markers similar to hers and am awaiting arrival…

I tried to use my “in-house” fine-tips to create more color tangles but they dried up after a few marks. I couldn’t wait for my ordered markers to arrive (Impatience IS  my middle name) so I went to my local craft store and dropped $5 on a sale set of fine-tip markers that bled more than expected in my sketchbook but still turned out some fun results.

Bigger markers - same fun
Bigger markers – same fun

Check out zentangle designs online y’all! It’s relaxing, fun and quick to spur new original designs. (I think these could make cool cards too! And rubber carving options – oh my!).

Monoprinting Fun

Hello All! I feel like I’ve been away forever, even though I’ve been sewing and crafting the whole time.

This week I took another class with Jane LaFazio, learning how to use a gelli art printing plate to create some fun monoprint “masterpieces.” In these classes I tend to forge ahead toward a finished product, then I love to step back and use the skills I’ve learned to create new things at home.

Print Once, Use in Multiple Projects

This is a layered technique, not only in the making but in the using. Collage and layering are fun challenges for me (it’s hard to cover up stuff I love and let the “next thing” emerge). First I used acrylic paint and a variety of resist material to create some fun patterns on rice paper. I gathered them in color palettes below.


Of course it was windy at photo time – the shell from the garden helped.
These are both uncut because I’m just not seeing it…yet. P.S. The gals at the table next to me loved both of these images. So I’ma give it some time…

Color Palette #2

I was in too much of a hurry toward a finished product in class, so I wasn’t able until today to leisurely stroll through my prints and find my various color palettes. It was really fun to discover the color families I ended up making and I can’t wait to make some more (and work these into new projects).

I got an encyclopedia page in the mix, though the paint coverage isn’t very delineated (learning…). I think the upper right is my overall favorite – I like the mix of colors and shapes.


Wait, the bottom right is my new favorite. The red “roses” were made with rubber bands!


Color Palette #3

I added the seahorses afterwards from a rubber stamp I carved.
The purple and the swirls show up a little differently in this angle.

Color Palette #4

These are bolder than the rest – I like them!




In Process

I’m using a gel matte as glue to attach my favorite pieces to a 12 x 12 gesso board.


It needs a second layer of varnish but I’m digging it as a first effort!

Carving Rubber Stamps (and I bought some amazing gourds!)

Today I went to Oceanside Museum of Art and took a class from Jane LaFazio to learn how to carve my own rubber stamp. It was a great class…but before we get to that…I got there an hour early…

And there was an art show in the streets!

So I got to browse around and found one of my favorite artists, Grace Swanson ( I bought a beautiful gourd from her last year that incorporated a dyed pine needle trim and woven antique silk kimono material. Today I found two new pieces I just HAD to have (I went back to her booth after class for a beaded gourd I had seen earlier, but got stars in my eyes over these two beauties and there was no going back).

She "chip carved" the outside of this gourd (involves a special tool that makes a notch or chip, then you scoop toward the notch). Then she dyed the notches.
She “chip carved” the outside of this gourd (involves a special tool that makes a notch or chip, then you scoop toward the notch). Then she dyed the notches.

She often scoops out her gourds (and sometimes appliques cool textures inside) but this one is left whole so the seeds inside shake around a little (I like that :).

Then there’s this piece of magic…

Grace carved the outside of this one then painted it (it's a flat little gourd - belly button on the back :).
Grace carved the outside of this one then painted it (it’s a flat little gourd – belly button on the back :).


I love this oblong cut in the top (jagged on the painted edge and smooth on the back edge).
I love this oblong cut in the top (jagged on the carved/painted edge and smooth on the back edge).


Trying to capture some of the glitter of the paint
Trying to capture some of the glitter of the paint

I was so glad to get the chance to see her work again and chat with her about her materials and process (she also does spectacular pine coiling and she uses Montezuma pine needles from Texas – we talked about the differences between those and the Torrey Pine needles in my neighborhood). Getting to add to my “Gourds by Grace” collection was icing on today’s cake.

And Now, Some Rubber Stamps

The class with Jane LaFazio was everything I hoped for and more. I spoke with someone who is taking one of her online courses as well and they come highly recommended. I got to see this gal’s art journal from the class (water colors and sketching) – so elegant and exactly the kind of skill I’d like to learn. I’m sure I’ll be signing up for the next one of those.

So we started with something called a “gum eraser” to get some practice and create something small.

I went with a wavy pattern. I call this my "water phase." :P
I went with a wavy pattern. I’m in what I call my “water phase.” 😛

I borrowed the carving tools from the museum but I’m definitely going to invest in my own set because this is a fun and easy way to make amazing reusable patterns. In the class we talked about making Christmas cards, printing tote bags, combining these patterns with watercolor painting – the possibilities are endless. Some people made a printed envelope in class with some brown paper, and the teacher showed an example that she stamped, scanned and printed on vellum. So many options!!

My next design was a seahorse. I’m proud of the detail I was able to achieve in his body and fin (I worked thru the lunch break :). I’m planning to cut away more background so he isn’t framed with a rectangle.

So the bottom right design is my first print test after cutting out the seahorse (I kind of like the black background). Then I went through a series of trimming and printing to get at the effect I was after.

My stamp, next to some trial prints and a first drawing rev
My stamp, next to some trial prints and a first drawing rev (the yellow-green paint represents where I’ll shave next to get rid of some of that “chatter”)


The teacher likes to work with black ink so she can watercolor the insides, but colored ink yields some cool results too...
The teacher likes to work with black ink so she can watercolor the insides, but colored ink yields some cool results too…

What a fun day and an interesting class. The materials for this are not too expensive (cutting tool, some rubber pads and ink) and the results are really fun to play with (I haven’t even started to play with coloring in my designs with pencils and water colors). I saw some really artistic renderings today from folks who have some experiences with these stamps. We also learned ways to repeat patterns and create mosaic type designs. This might play a role in this year’s Christmas cards…

Sea Grass Basket

Thank you Donna Sakamoto Crispin for the base pattern!

Sea Grass Basket
Sea Grass Basket
Shells from my collection – Ocean-drilled spaces…
the bottom of the basket
the bottom of the basket
front of basket – overlapping braid end
sea grass braid
purple sea grass braid
beads inside
surprise surfline beads inside
It works upside-down too!
It works upside-down too!


Basket front
Basket front

I’m having so much fun with this basket (it clinks when I move it!).

It feels, smells and sounds like the ocean…

Overflowing with Art

Hello World! I’m back from a week long art retreat in Portland, Oregon called Art and Soul Retreat. SO.VERY.ENGERGIZING.AND.INSPIRING. If you find yourself near any of their upcoming locations I encourage you to check it out: authentic artists, inspiring teachers, sharing participants. I could go on and on…and I shall… 🙂

Art and Soul Retreat-ing

Pics to follow and teacher info below for “enquiring minds” like myself who like to read ahead. They were all AH-MAY-ZING teachers who shared a plethora of information and technique (and supplies!) and I highly recommend checking them out (in person if you are nearby – they’re from all over).

I took 6 day-long classes learning the following:

  1. Wet (Nuno) Felting – made a scarf!
    (LeBrie Rich – Pen Felt)
  2. Doll making with cloth and paper clay – WIP! 🙂 Paper clay is fun!
    (Lulu Moonwood Murakami – lulumoonarts)
  3. Needle felting with a sewing machine – made 3 bases I’m in love with! (broke some needles – I’m not proud – “it’s part of the process” – more on that later)
    (Rebeckah Meier Designs)
  4. Gold leaf and copper strung African beads on a half ostrich egg bowl – featured below!
    (Debbie Rijns, who specializes in Precious Metal Clay work in South Africa – I couldn’t find just one link that summarizes her artistic work – best to internet-search her)
  5. Hand stitching and embellishing the Alabama Chanin Way – after all these years of hand-sewing I learned a new way to thread, knot and sew. Amazing. (WIP! I bought a shirt pattern…there’s A LOT OF HAND stitching to do…hopefully I can finish it while I’m still this size. 🙂
    (Natalie Chanin designed the pattern and technique – Patti Calande taught the class)
  6. Basket weaving with sea grass – another WIP (boy did I dig this one! Weaving is so meditative for me.)
    (Donna Sakamoto Crispin – the amazing artist/teacher blend we’re all looking for! Donna was great!)

A Finished Product: “Home Base”

I enjoyed figuring out this artistic vision as I went. Layer work is still a challenge for me, though I learned so much about the value of strategic layering throughout the week.

This one is named “Home Base” because it incorporates elements of all my home bases (virtual, physical and metaphysical).

These photos are staged on the lobby floor of the hotel in a brief moment of Oregon sun (yes, I was laying on the ground taking pictures when my significant other arrived…he wasn’t surprised and offered to help…bless our lovies!)

African album beads and grass seeds, copper wire, seashells, monkeywood base, gold leaf edging
African album beads (red/black around edge), grass seeds & Ethiopian silver (red/green hanging right side), copper wire, seashells, monkey wood base, gold leaf edging, armadillo symbol from Sand People drawings (for me on this bowl this represents my hometown of San Antonio, TX).


A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front.
A look at the inside of the bowl. African porcupine quill at the front. I learned how to “stitch” with copper wire (lesson learned: it pretends to be like thread, but it absolutely isn’t thread in some crucial ways – blergh!). I especially appreciated the way Debbie taught me to “hide” the wire behind each inside disc. That’s some tricky sh*t that took me LOTS-O-PRACTICE to secure those beads.


I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut i apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. They had 2 holes each already drilled so it was pretty easy to incorporate.
I had a touristy seashell bracelet in my stash, so I cut it apart and stitched the seashells onto the ostrich shell with copper wire. The shells had 2 holes each already drilled so they were pretty easy to incorporate. The image at the bottom of this view is the Coral Tree seed pod, which grows in South Africa and ALSO in Southern California (in my front yard!). It was a nice connecting home image for me, and it sits opposite the armadillo on the bowl.


The tiny coiled copper wires are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).
The tiny coiled copper wires (left of photo) are the beginning and end of my beading work (fun shadows!).

It was good layer work for me – I started with the green wash paint inside and dots in the middle, and they ended up guiding the bead design.


Lovin' the sun on this one!
Lovin’ the sun on this one!

I really enjoyed this class, learning about gold leaf and incorporating South African Sand People images into my work (there’s also: giraffe and the “thread of knowing,” which represents our collective conscious dreams).

Get out there and try something new!
Crafting on…!

Crochet Mandalas

I read a post last week about mandalas by a blogger friend that got me thinking (check out this Hooked! post for an amazing mandala by Amy Le Pelley…she made a clock out of a mandala y’all – genius!!). She also talks about doing a mandala in off-white colors for a baby gift – which also strikes me as genius (patent pending for Amy!!).

She encouraged me to post some pictures of mandalas I have sewn, so I staged a photo shoot today (after several evenings of: “Damn, it’s too dark to take good pictures now. Maybe tomorrow morning…” followed by wash/rinse/repeat until today – breaking the cycle and following the light!).

These are all sewn following this pattern by ZootyOwl (Thank you ZootyOwl!) and using Finca Perle No. 8.

My 1st mandala - mounted on a hoop
My 1st mandala – mounted on a hoop (this involved math and I don’t want to talk about it. Also: I look at this while I brush my teeth every night – highly recommended to get through that 2 minute brush the dentist thinks we’re doing each night.)

Forest Green

My 2nd color scheme,  based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)
My 2nd color scheme, based on the colors of my walls (e.g. I should crochet one for each room!)

Poor things aren’t blocked yet – they’re stuck in WIP mode and I stretched them across a stepping stone for a photo shoot.

I used to have a room in I started this color path (still on the hook)
I used to have a room in blue…so I started this color path (still on the hook)…

And now for something completely different…

Uhm...I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don't know what to do with this...
Uhm…I tried a new color path and suffered the consequences. I still don’t know what to do with this (it might look worse in person. Most people who look at it in person say, “Oh…hmm…” )…apparently it matters what colors one uses, and in what order…I continue to learn this lesson.


I took a “stab” at needle felting!

It’s a goofy title, but very apropos if you’ve done any needle felting. I went to a meet-up and used a felting kit to create this little bit of cuteness:

Phillip the Felted Phenguin (BA, Alliteration; MSA, Onomatopoeia)
Phillip the Felted Phenguin (BA, Alliteration; MFA, Onomatopoeia; yearbook quote: “I’m a conflicted soul.”)

So this took about 2.5 hours, and he’s more “woolly-looking” and less “puffy-looking” than I might have liked for a finished felted product. But that takes a lot o’ stabbing y’all. I only poked my finger (about) 5 times in the making of this bit of cuteness. And I’m not sure his feet are attached well enough to stand much articulation. But that’s not what felted creatures are for, is it (what are they for again…? Oh cuteness, right!) So he needs a scarf that I’ll be crocheting for him at another time between projects. I was supposed to felt it, but it was such a skinny piece of wool I (tried but) couldn’t imagine felting it in the end – crocheting seemed like the best approach.

Embroidery in the Sun

[First of all: Look at me trying new site templates and stuff! For those of you following me: how ya’ diggin’ it? Suggestions for improvement? I LERV that top photo. I found several logs fallen that had been drilled by woodpeckers in another life. Alongside a bunch of fun acorns with stems. I couldn’t stop until every hole was filled!]


This morning was kind of weird because my power went out right after I made my ceremonial morning latte (Krups has started my days for the last 19 years, which is – not coincidentally – the age of my child. Making a good latte before venturing out into the world became important early on…and early in the day…).

It was weird at first because my kitchen electronics started beeping at me while I was making my coffee. My stove beeped and flashed a cryptic “PF”* message in the digital display. Huh. Moving my purse strap from the surface of that, in case it decides to turn itself on later. Steaming milk on my Krups. Microwave beeps and flashes. OK, need to reset the clock – must be a power surge. Then, as soon as my milk is steamed and my latte machine is cleaned and put away – all power in the kitchen goes off. What timing! Thank you Coffee Gods! (* “PF” = Power Failure; I thought I would have to consult the manual but I figured it out all on my own!)

Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn't work. Thus the mismatch.)
Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn’t work. Thus the mismatch.)

A quick trip outside (in my house shoes and star socks, because I work from home and have no shame) tells me that one of those transformer electrical thingies attached to a nearby telephone pole has stopped working and they have to “call in a crew.” Bummer. Huh. What now?

I’ll remind you in this moment that I work in IT from home, so I’m pretty much reliant on every electronic device in my house – including that stupid WiFi router whose plug now means nothing. If I’d had a bunch of meetings scheduled I would have hoofed it to the nearest Starbucks, but today was a magical no-meeting day, so I informed everyone of my electronic tragedy (via text – my only way out!) and hunkered down.

Then I actually wandered around the house in a strange fog thinking: what shall I do next? How will I communicate with anyone? Who might have started following my blog while I was asleep and how can I thank them?!?!

Oh dear – dire straits. So I drank my coffee, read a little (Tom Robbins, Tibetan Peach Pie is the book du jour – I recommend it if you can handle his brand of zany. I think it’s entertaining, especially in smallish bits.) Then I went really crazy and walked the Scruff-Man over to Marge’s to pick up some new wooden spools she recently found in a drawer. (Apparently “morning sun” smells different in the neighborhood than “evening breeze.” I was equally entranced and sad that “morning smells” seemed like distant memories. Maybe I should be getting up earlier again – instead of hitting snooze – and hitting the streets with the dogie. It was quite lovely and not too hot at all.)

The wooden spools are great, but here’s what really caught my eye.

Crochet Rose by Marge
Crochet Rose by Marge
It unravels to a crocheted string!
It unwinds to a crocheted string!








Like the hero and mentor that she is, Marge asked if I brought any of my current art with me to show her. Like the artistic coward that I am, I admitted that I didn’t think any of it was “good enough” or “done enough” to “show anyone.” Silly rabbit. I promised I would get over that and bring her something soon. I’m Girl Scout Promising and Pinky Swearing on this y’all.

Girl Scout as youth - GS Leader as adult
Girl Scout as youth – GS Leader as adult

Make new friends, but keep the old

One is silver and the other gold.

A circle’s round and has no end,

That’s how long I will be your friend.

[I had to stop my Pandora Lauryn Hill radio station to remember that song enough to web search it. Audio-multi-tasking-challenged]

So here’s one of the things I could have/should have taken to show Marge.

Overcast stitch around the first "L"
Overcast stitch around the first “L” – caught in the sun (I followed this sun spot around the house this morning. Sewing in the sun is more satisfying than I could have imagined – plus easier to see stuff for us near-sighted folks sporting the goggles.)

The previous versions of this were here and here. I’m having a lot of fun with these pre-printed quilt squares my mom sent me as a package. It’s puckering a bit because I don’t have it in a hoop – not sure how to solve that problem (believe you me, I have imagined several self-made “square hoops” that are exactly this size – some made of twigs and pine needles. Is there a market for this?! I doubt it. Is it even possible?! Probably, but why?)

After the basic French knots I looked to my favorite embroidery pattern book for some outline stitches (another amazing Christmas gift…that I requested):

My favorite embroidery dictionary
My favorite embroidery dictionary

I used yellow thread for the base stitches and I’m using the dark orange for the overcast stitches.

Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists...
Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists…

I’m planning to add beads at some point, but I may put more outlining in place before I do that.

Nighty-nite for now. See you in my AM.

Netsuke Mermaids

I made this several years ago from some mermaid netsuke I purchased in Hanalei, Kauai. It hangs in a window of my office and today I happened to look up when it was catching some cool sunlight.

Mermaid netsuke, round wooden beads, shells, gemstone chips on a hemp string
Mermaid netsuke, wooden beads, shells, gemstone chips on a hemp string

I made it one day on a whim when I was cleaning up. I had these netsuke that didn’t want to stand up on my desk (they aren’t really made to work as statues), and a set of chakra gemstones that didn’t want to stay strung together. I have seashells in, well, every room of my house now that I think about it. And out in the garden strewn about in flower beds. Huh. I live at least 20 minutes from the beach but it turns out I’ve surrounded myself with ocean artifacts right here “in the inland!” (I have a couple of bottles of sand too.) This is as good a time as any to mention that I think I might have been a mermaid in another life.

the wooden beads between them used to be blue - looks like they're fading with the sun
the wooden beads between them used to be blue – looks like they’re fading with the sun

I love a lot of things about this piece:

  • I made it in 20 minutes
  • with pieces of things that:
    • were cluttering my world (including a big paper clip to hang it from the curtain rod – so much cleaning happened)
    • but that also mean a lot to me (I remember where I got each piece, minus the paper clip)
  • and it’s functional.
  • It came together so simply, with a short series of fun logistical puzzles (what materials have holes in them that I can use? what cord will make it through these tiny natsuke holes? where do the knots go and which beads can slide?).
this mermaid carries her child on her back - love!
this mermaid carries her child on her back – love!

You can see the chakra gemstones in this shot (slightly out of focus) and I forgot until I saw this close-up…there’s a Hamsa at the bottom!! This symbol has particular significance to me after a trip to Spain several years ago when I was lucky enough to visit a museum in Cordoba that focuses on the story of Sephardic Jews in Spain. It’s called Casa de Sefarad and I highly recommend it if you find yourself in southern Spain. I felt a deep connection with the people in the stories I learned there and began to appreciate the history and symbolism of the Hamsa.

I had to get my scrapbook out to remember the name of the museum, and now I have to share a couple of pages. (Apologies for the lighting – it was hard to capture on a whim.)

Page from my Spain scrapbook for that day.
Page from my Spain scrapbook for that day

The picture in the bottom left is of the museum owner/creator, his translator, and the back of my head listening to them. It was an honor to hear his story.

OK – I’m officially out of control with the reminiscing and memorabilia. But just this one last thing.

scrapbook page focusing on mosaics
scrapbook page focusing on mosaics (+ amazing pasta restaurant, upper right corner)

I took approximately 1.6 zillion photos of the mosaic and tile work that decorated just about every surface in every historic building in Spain. Some of these were ceiling tiles and the zoom on my camera was pretty amazing, so I was able to print and cut these out as if they sat inches from my face.

For those that actually were in reach, I had to touch them from time to time. All placed by hand, by artisans, so many years ago. I’m certain their energy and dreams still hum within each tile.

Feeling the energy of history
Feeling the energy of history