Crafting Variety

A Multifaceted Creative Approach

One of the biggest things I wrestle with as a creative person is the sheer amount of varying things I want to do. Frankly, I am also tired of trying to pick a focus. I love all the different parts of my creative life. If I had my way I would do even more. There are many craft skills I have yet to learn. and yes, I want to do them all. I love learning new versions of the old ways. and if you haven’t heard me refer to necessary skills for the apocalypse (ooh, now I might have to do a post…) then wait about five minutes. I’m sure it will be referenced somewhere in my social media feeds.

Journal Covers
Journal Covers awaiting new homes at a craft show

So back to this here blog. I have wavered for a long time, probably since starting Heart of Autumn, on what focus the blog should have. Should it be for my crafts or my writing? Perhaps include the rest of my life, which encompasses horses, dance, cats, being pagan, survival skills (there it is! 15 seconds), my hubby (ahhh, put him as #1 on the list), living in Maine, and every other aspect of my life I find fascinating? Both more and less than I think it’s going to be at the same time. I’m sure that made a hell of a lot of sense. Did I mention the day job? Eh, that is what it is. It pays the bills and lets me do all these neat hobbies. Have I mentioned them? Oh, right. 

Who let me get off track again? It was you in the back. I knew it. If that’s chocolate you best be sharing. 

I’ve never had a purpose for the blog, other than connecting with other creatives and finding audiences that are interested in my crafts and writing.

Hey, dumbass, you gotta write and share in order to connect with others. 

Who was that? We’re upgrading from chocolate to booze here. Mead or craft beer, please. 

This share thing. I’m trying . It’s the hardest part for me about being creative. Yeah, yeah, self esteem and all that jazz. I still don’t wanna share, but, I’m going to anyway. Pretty much at the ‘I DON’T GIVE A FUCK’ stage. Which if you’re riding around in a carousel brings me to – 

I’m gonna write about it all. ALL THE THINGS.

Pictures, songs, poetry, my work and others, some stuff you might be interested in, some stuff you might not. But, hey. Don’t like my posts about animals or the environment, then don’t read them. Might not want to follow me either because what the fuck is wrong with you if you don’t have a soft spot for cute critters and oh, the air we breathe. I know, not everyone cares. I do. 

What else? I love to make things out of fabric. Yes, I’m gonna post about those creations and yes, I do hope you wander over to my Etsy shop. Money from there is what makes it possible for me to ride horses and take dance classes, and since you want me to be happy and in a good mood when I write posts then buy my stuff once in a while, eh?

Or not. Honestly, IDGAF. New slogan that I’m trying out. I think I’m gonna embroider that on a pillow or something. Quite serious here. That’s a kick ass idea.

Then there’s the mountain of I keep trying to climb. Encased in fog, barely a third of the way, and I keep going back down. Looking for that great climb where you push hard still manage to sing as you’re nearly dying from muscle fatigue. That’s when magic happens, right? When the skies part and the sun comes out? Reality is, that’s not gonna happen. Instead of turning back around this time , I’m gonna take some steps. Small steps. Stop and rest, when trail snacks are welcome. A couple more steps at whatever pace I can manage. Maybe I can get halfway up this time. The fog might clear. I might have to fight off some zombie squirrels. Can you imagine them? Spastic critters now in slow motion, but will appear out of nowhere when you least expect it. 

Extra trail snacks welcome, so I can toss the GORP as a distraction. Yes, I’ll sacrifice food to combat zombies. That’s how dedicated I am to survival.

Craft Show Items
A sampling of crafts from the days of showing.

What’s this post all been about, anyway? Letting you know that you get to follow my brain as it shoots off into different tangents, and getting to see all that I love, hate, and how you can bribe me to be more entertaining. Food, alcohol, and…COFFEE. I might have a slight dependency on coffee.

Thanks for reading this far, and stay tuned. In the meantime, I’ve gotta try out a couple of sign offs for the blog. My usual – In Light and Magic. Hmmm. Is that the right one? Readers, give me a shout if you have other ideas, or if you want me to keep that one. 

For now,

Amy

Crafting Variety

Cupcake in Memory

Trigger warning for those sensitive to suicide topics.

Just for the record, I love cupcakes. Moist, delectable cupcakes with frosting. Lots of frosting.

And I can’t eat them now without a physical reaction. My gut clenches and tears find their way to my eyes. Oh, I still eat them and enjoy them, but I can’t have one without remembering that day. The day my friend took his life.

I walked into the student center where I work after calling Mark to find out where he was. No answer. Not unusual, he often didn’t hear his phone or got tied up with work. He’d meet me in the pub later like he always did, I assumed.

Down the stairs into the main corridor, and met one of the dining employees. She had a tray of cupcakes in her hands.

“Those look scrumptious.” And knowing the college’s dining service, I knew they would be.

“Want one? They are leftover from a meeting. We were trying them out.”

Tell me, who passes up a free cupcake that looked like chocolate heaven? Not I. So I walked into the pub, cupcake in hand, and filtered lots of greedy looks and comments to abscond with the treasure in my hands. I ordered food, then found a table and texted Mark. Hey, Mark, just checking on you to make sure you are alive. The amount of horror I feel at that choice of words now is superseded only by the fucking cupcake.

I ate my lunch, chatting with coworkers that stopped by, inquiring why I was dining alone. We joked that I got stood up by my work spouse.

And then I ate that cupcake. It was delicious. Everything perfect a cupcake could be. I was close to licking the frosting off of the paper, it was that good.

All the while my dear friend’s body was getting colder. All the while a small amount of blood dripped down from where the bullet had entered his skull. All the while the gun had dropped to the floor after the shot rang out.

My friend was dead. And I was indulging. The two items are not related, I know this. Yet they will be forever linked in my mind.

The kind, sweet soul that he was would tell me that of course I should eat the cupcake. That I should always eat the cupcake.

I will, Mark. I promise. I just wish you were here to share it with me.

Crafting Variety

Starlight

I finally switched over the calendar in my loft to December. Yes, I realize it’s the end of the month and the new year is close upon us. I haven’t spent much time in my loft, which I use for writing, yoga, and where most of my books are, for quite a while. Life, work, busy, busy, busy…you know how it is.

Now that I have a couple days of reprieve, I am picking away at the clutter and clearing space for peace and creativity. Finally, I flipped the calendar to December, already wondering which of the lovely calendars I received for Yule and Christmas will take its place.starlight

I stopped all movement when I saw this calendar page. I think my heart and my breath both caught and remained suspended for a long, long moment. This page is a gift, a message, from Tanya, my beloved friend who passed two and a half years ago.

She called me Starlight in every email, her name for me. The artwork I know she would have adored. Every part of this picture represents our friendship, well, more than that. She was the sister of my heart, and always will be.

This page was a reminder. To clear out the clutter, physical and emotional, to focus on what matters, and settle into my core being. To write. To dance. To laugh. To revel in beauty and magic.

I may have pushed that sign away, caught up in the spin of life, but the universe waited until I was ready to listen. So with gratitude for my beautiful friend, I smile and breathe deeply. I settle in to the core of my being, ready to move forward. Knowing she is always looking out for me.

Perhaps I’ll change the calendar pages promptly this year.

Crafting Variety

Unbalanced

Credit to Andy Goldsworthy
Credit to Andy Goldsworthy

Unbalanced
Tightrope without a net
Strung together on threadbare wings

Slid my hand in yours
But you let go
Too much weight

My charred mind
With its coal black thoughts
Left no room for light

Close your eyes and truly see
Your shine is fake
The top down smile doesn’t fool me

Get off your platform
At least I crawled
Emerged covered in mud

Not trying to drag you down
See reality instead
The ground is stronger than the air you walk on

Pull me up and I will counter-weight
Together in a spiral
Until the energy spun connects us both

Swirling, entwined with the universe
Sight clear, voice strong
Light and dark in harmony

Life’s challenges
Ebb and ease
Standing side by side

Amy Dionne, 2015

Crafting Variety

Fort Popham

far sideNormally I just upload photos to my various social media collections and call it good. I realized, however, that I haven’t updated this blog in ages and ages. Thought it might be a decent way to share what I’ve been up to. So I’m including lots of pictures from my vacation day when I went down the coast a little to Fort Popham.

Luckily, I went first thing in the morning. If you’re in downeast Maine, you know that the best thing to do in the summer is either avoid the tourist sites or get there early. I was there early, and good thing. There were only a few cars when I arrived at the Fort, and when I left there were cars everywhere, and others circling trying to find spaces.

This trip was a reconnection with the water element. The ocean is often the right place to let go of anything that weighs you down, and to make space for new opportunities and energy to come into your life. Looking at the ocean just puts life into perspective. It’s ancient power supporting life makes most anything we deal with fairly insignificant. So I gave the ocean some old habits and made a new path for authentic creativity.

Did it work? Time will tell, and if not, then back to the water’s edge I will go. Until you get a chance to wander to the ocean, enjoy these pictures from my excursion. Oh, and a note about the Fort itself – the construction is incredibly neat with the materials and the angles. I think it’s impossible to take a bad picture there with the amount in visual interest in each section.

Crafting Variety

Spirit Animals

spirit animalsI’ve had a number of people ask me about connecting with spirit animals, which is what inspired me to write this post. I’m no expert, but I’ve done a fair amount of research and believe myself to be at least a competent interpreter of messages from the spirit animal companions. I hope you find something useful from this post, whether you are a follower of the spirit animal concept or not. Feel free to reach me at the connections on my contact page if you have any questions.

Why?

The main question is – why does it matter? They’re not real (at least in physical form anyway…), so what purpose does it have to try and connect with something that’s not in corporeal form?

  • They make you stop and think.
  • You have to connect with the outside world and observe nature and its interactions.
  • Using the presence of a spirit animal can help in times of crisis, sadness, or heightened emotion. What you’ve learned by studying the relevant animal may be the catalyst for handling a situation calmly or finding the will to move forward. Alternately, studying an animal with grace, beauty, and power may help translate to your own life.

Finding your Spirit Animal

There is no one right way to figure out your spirit animal. There are many books and decks that highlight the relationships – I generally use Ted Andrew’s Animal Speak, and Medicine Cards. There are also fun online quizzes (yeah, we know not to hold too much belief in what the internet says, right?) along with a great number of knowledgeable people. Specifically, those in Native American cultures, Shamanistic roles, or pagan paths often use animal connections as part of their belief systems. Many are quite happy to talk about such things with people that have an open mind.

Recognizing when animals show up outside of their normal realms is a critical part of determining your connection with them. There are birds and insects and small critters around constantly. What if they show up at the same time or place every day for a period though? It’s not coincidence that animals chose to reveal themselves to you.

  • Look for the not so obvious animals. Yes, it’s easy to want to pick a “cool” animal like the wolf, eagle, or bear, and while those are legit and awesome spirit guides, remember that sometimes the not so obvious ones have just as much to teach us. There’s a great deal of wisdom to be found with animals such as mice, rabbits, and turtle guides.
  • What animal keeps showing up for you? Is there an animal that shows up often when you commute to work? Or shows up online constantly? In your dreams? The snow leopard was like that for me. After continuously showing up in my life – through artwork and social network feeds, it finally occurred to me with a nudge from a friend that the snow leopard was trying to speak to me.
  • What animal makes sense? What animal feels right? Your gut feeling is your best guide after you’ve done all the research and pulled the cards.

Utilization

So you find your spirit guide, or think you have anyway. What’s next? Couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Spirit animals come and go, depending on what you need to learn. There are some that are always with you, but many guides may only be around for a time.
  • Apply their teachings. What’s going on your life? What do you need to prepare for? How are you handling whatever storms are being thrown your way? Do you need to let loose and have some fun, or build your storehouse for the future? Do you need more connection with others or to be more solitary?
  • Determine how multiple animals are working together, even if they feel somewhat contradictory at first.This is a difficult aspect to learn. An example is – both a predator and a prey animal appear as your guides. How do you reconcile the obvious contradictions? What aspects of each animal do you need to focus on, and how do they work together in life’s circle?

Resistance

 As important as finding out which animals resonate with you, is finding out which ones do NOT. And why. Are you resisting because you don’t want to admit that the spirit guides are showing you areas you may be weak? Are you ignoring parts of your life or your character that need addressing? The message that these animals have to tell you is important. Do not ignore them just because you don’t want to hear what they have to say. The message will manifest in one way or another until you learn what they have to teach.

Journey

Embarking on a journey with a spirit animal is a challenging and rewarding task. It teaches us to listen, to be open, and to apply what is said to our lives. Doing so can help improve your connection to the world. There’s a lot to be learned about relationships with others, and with yourself, by spending time with your guides. They strip away all that which is hidden in human interaction. Animals are honest, and clear in a way that humans have forgotten how to be. We can learn from that.

Enjoy your journey as you determine your animal guides. If you have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to ask.

Crafting Variety

Grief is Sneaky

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAGrief sneaks up in unexpected moments. Yes, it’s full and present during the obvious times of shock, and wakes and funerals. Where it truly lives though is after the flowers have wilted and the food storage containers are back to their owners, and friends have stopped calling every single day to make sure you’re okay. It’s then, in those quiet moments, that grief settles in.

It’s not the loud, tear filled grief from before. It’s the quiet grip that shows up unexpectedly, while waking or running an errand, or reading a passage that hits just the right chord. In those moments grief wraps around your heart and lungs, where tears may only flow silently, where the pain is at its most real. For a moment it’s hard to think about continuing whatever task is laid out before you, because you can’t see anymore through the pain.

It does ease, that despair, that clutch of grief, because your loved ones that have gone on want to know you will move forward. They still support your dreams and goals and life even more from beyond the grave.

Honor them by living the life that they couldn’t, the one that was cut short for whatever reason. Live fully and love without reservation.

To honor your loved ones, to honor your grief, then simply live.

In memory of Tanya Shersnow and Mark Fisher.
Amy Dionne, 2015

Crafting Variety

Awakening

Yesterday I woke up
To my own powerfalls
To cease being small
To embrace the wild within

Today I rose up
Decided not to hide
Determined to live fully
Dedicated to my true self

Tomorrow I fly
Chasing dreams
Cascading with my heart’s desires
Conquering fear and doubt

For my life
I dance, I sing, I laugh
Breathing in, letting go,
Knowing who I am

Amy Dionne, 2015

Photo courtesy of Cindy Turcotte, used with permission.

Crafting Variety

The Gentle Connection

fire at winter BOWI’ve been thinking about my audience lately. My readers. After spending some time visioning, I’ve reached a couple of conclusions.

My voice is meant to be carried through quiet conversations and small gatherings. The messages waiting in my heart do not need to be broadcast. They should be listened to if they are wanted, never forced.

Instead I see friends gathering, groups of three or four or five, meeting for a drink or at the cafe or by the campfire. Perhaps dinner or movie night with a special someone. Candles lit, hearts light, comfy clothes.

Groups like these will go more quickly to that place of understanding, talking about subjects other than weather or sports. Even going past the latest headlines, although discussion may be spurred from them. These types of conversations echo the philosophers of old, the writers and artists, bohemian types, and all sorts of free thinkers. Those willing to dive deep, get messy, and open to new ways of thinking. Those that know themselves, their values, and their hearts.

These are the people I speak to as I write. They read the hushed words and make them resonate off the walls. these thoughts align and light within, and that soft warm flame travels from person to person, group to group. Shared intimately with like minds.

That is the home I seek for my stories and my musings. Listen, feel, and share. It is a gift offered with love, passion, and a yearning for connection.

The gentle kind.