Joy Beyond The Skies

September 16th, 2014
"Shawna Makes It Glow"

“Shawna Makes It Glow”

There’s a woman whose name means both “God is gracious” and “Sexy Woman”.  She’s wearing a Thunderbird mask, a powerful Native American symbol that brings both lightening and wind.   Instead of the traditional geometric designs in the wings of the Thunderbird, there are everyday things, the stuff you see when you look around your home.  That was my dream.  I took that dream and made it into this wall hanging.  But to make it work, to make it speak of what the dream was saying, I added some images and words that I got from the cemetery in Provincetown.  I don’t understand how these two came together to make this piece whole, but they did.

The rising/setting sun is an image I took from the headstone of Emeline, who died in 1811.   Then I used the words  from Cordelia’s headstone who died in 1825.  I took just a few of them from the whole: This soul we trust has fled to joys beyond the skies.  Both the image and words seemed so loving and hopeful to me.

Shawna Makes It Glow, speaks  of the divine feminine in all of us, female and male.  The one who creates and nourishes life. She knows that our passions are to be embraced.  That our desires and passions are what make us human.  And when we follow them we are being our authentic selves. My passion to create has burned in me my whole life.  It wasn’t until I embraced it, till I gave myself over to it that I was truly fulfilled.  And when we do for ourselves, we do for others.  As when we do for others, we do for ourselves.

Shawna Makes It Glow is for sale. Sold  It measures  about 27″ x 32″ and is $125 + $10 shipping.  If it speaks to you and you’d like it to be yours, just let me know here at   I take checks or paypal.





Shawna Makes it Glow

September 15th, 2014

shawna a makes it glow

A while ago I had a dream of a woman wearing a Native American bird mask that seemed to be lit from within. Inside the bird wings were ordinary things that you might find in your home.   A woman who was standing next to the woman in the mask said “Shawna makes it glow”.  I did a drawing of the dream at the time, knowing I would come back to it.

So this is where I’m with it so far.  I’m going to use the words from the dream and maybe some other words too, but I’m not sure where they’ll go or how else I’ll finish the piece off.

shawna a makes it glow detail

Whale Watching with my feet on the ground

September 14th, 2014
"Spirit" in the foreground

That’s my Spirit in the front and her son Solstice right behind her.

I didn’t tell Jon until after we were married.  Then one day, (it must have been in January when I got my yearly Whale Museum Renewal letter ) I showed him a picture of my adopted killer whale Spirit.  It’s actually a picture of Spirit’s fin, that’s how they’re identified and kept track of.  About 20 years ago Spirit was given to me as a Christmas gift from a co-worker and every year after that I paid my yearly dues to the Whale Museum and received information  and occasionally a new photo of Spirit.  Jon was dubious about the legitimacy of the whole thing and had a good time teasing me about Spirit (saying things like, you know they kill seals)  but I didn’t waver and put her photo up on the refrigerator, where it still hangs.

It was also after we were already married, that I learned of Jon’s feelings about whales, which come completely from his few experiences with whale watching off of Provincetown.  Basically he sees whales as  big, wet, floating sofa’s.  I found his views heretical and shocking (I never even imagined someone who wouldn’t be awed by seeing a whale) and really funny.   So, I continued to pay my yearly Whale Museum dues and updated Jon (smirking though he was) whenever I got news of Spirit.

Then, to my delight and surprise, Jon suggested we go on a Whale Watch during our vacation in Provincetown.   I was up for it and excited about it.  Jon even got some pills for sea sickness.  Our first day in Provincetown we checked out the Whale Watching tours and Jon was ready to make reservations for the next day.  But I suggested we wait and see how the weather was, just to be sure.  Because I realized, as we stood there looking at the videos of whales jumping out of the water on the screen behind the lady taking reservations, and thinking about spending three and a half hours on a boat,  that my head was starting to spin and my stomach was getting queasy.

So, putting the whale watch off for the moment,  we walked down the pier and came upon The Hindu.  A beautiful wooden boat built in 1925 with big sails and a shiny mast.  Jon’s face lit up at the idea of a two hour full moon cruise which didn’t leave the bay and didn’t go out if the water was rough.  I thought it the perfect test run for the Whale Watch.

And it was.  The full moon cruise was canceled so we went on a sunset cruise instead.  The sky turned pink  and orange and a strange green color.  The water was calm and it was neat to see the guys working on the boat pull the sails up and coil the ropes.  But I’d say it went on for about an hour more than it needed to.  Not only was is kinda boring, but I started to get that queasy feeling again.  I wasn’t really seasick, but it was similar to the feeling I get when I’m on a plane.  I just like to have my feet on the ground.

So, to Jon’s delight,  I passed on the Whale Watch.  Maybe next time we’re in Provincetown I’ll be up for it.  Or maybe I’ll just watch some whale videos on YouTube and gaze at my photo of Spirit on the fridge and pretend.


Self Portrait with Jon and TV

September 13th, 2014
Self Portrait with Jon in motel TV

Self Portrait with Jon (and umbrella?) in motel TV

The Sun and Moon Divide The Sky

September 13th, 2014


Footsteps in the full moon,
walking on my grave.

Pain and sickness turn to light as days dissolve and nights conform

Still, flowers bloom without my eye
and the sun and moon divide the sky.


I’ve been to many cemeteries around the country and have explored lots of the early ones inhabited  by  English Settlers, but I’ve never been as moved as I was in the Winthrop Street Cemetery in Provincetown.  Partially it’s because so much of the carved writing and images are still clear and legible.  Also,  the  tall, unkept grasses and hilly, sandy paths winding through the headstones gave me the feeling of discovery as well as having a romantic atmosphere.  But it was the poetry and sentiments carved on the headstones that kept me engaged and made me want to go back the next day to see more.

It was after visiting that cemetery that I did this simple drawing and wrote the words beside it.


Vacationing At The School of Flo

September 5th, 2014
Flo on one of her many perches on the front porch

Flo doing what I intend to do for the next week.

Flo sleeps on the newly redone front porch all day.  She curls up on the wicker chair, sits on the wicker bench and stretches out on the bottom of the wicker coffee table. When I bring her food out, she slowly get up and slinks over to it or, she ignores it.  I guess what I’m saying is she lays around all day, eats when she feels like it and hunts when she feels like it, basically, she does just what she want to do when she wants to do it.

And I have decided to practice in The School Of Flo for the next week, during our vacation on Cape Cod.  And I’m going to remember the word practice.  Because I know I can never achieve the style, experience and wisdom of Flo in one week.  But I’m going to try.  It is my intention, while on vacation, to live the life of a cat (although I’m going to replace hunting with reading, an adequate  substitute in my mind).

And I can feel my body and mind  preparing. All packed, my last-minute list on the table,  I’m already finding it hard to think about anything except what I’m doing at the  moment.  I’m ready to go.  In fact, I think in some ways I’m already there.  Not physically, of course, but mentally.  My mind has stepped through the door and entered into Flo’s classroom.  But no mice heads for me please, I’ll have the raw oysters instead.

I wish you a week be as sweet as Flo’s days and will be back next Saturday.

(Although I can’t promise I won’t post a picture of a whale on facebook if I actually get to see one, or Jon’s seasick face as he contemplates “the whale as sofa”).

Common Thread Give-a-way Winner…..

September 5th, 2014


I’m not going to spoil the surprise.  You’ll have to go to Veronica’s site to see who the lucky winner of her book Kiss the Moon is.  You can get there by clicking here. 

Or if you didn’t enter the contest but just want to read some wise and moving poetry, you can also to there.

Next month’s Common Thread Give-a-way, writer and artist, is  Rachel Barlow.   If you don’t already know about Rachel’s blog, Picking my Battles, you can see it here.  It’s filled with humor and insights and wonderful drawings of life, off the grid, in Vermont with her family.  Her most recent post explores laundry and fashion on  rainy days when your only dryer is the clothes line.

"Laundry" By Rachel Barlow

“Laundry” By Rachel Barlow

Mrs. Pam’s Quilt

September 4th, 2014

I Mrs pamsn quiltI added that red/orange strip to the left and a thin strip of black and white to the right.  Now Mrs. Pam’s Quilt is ready for a backing.  I’m very happy with the way this quilt turned out.  And there are some parts of it that I especially like.   This is one of them…

Mrs pamsn quilt detail

….The center of the quilt, which was inspired by the potholders I made using Mrs. Pam’s scraps….

Mrs pamsn quilt detail2

….The bottom left corner with that little thin strip of green and orange pieces….

Mrs pamsn quilt detail3….And the lower right corner.  Which feels architectural to me.

Jon and I are going on vacation next week, so I probably won’t get to work on this until we get back.  I’m looking forward to designing the back of it.  I’m not sure which direction it will go in yet, similar colors or opposite, but I have a feeling it’s going to be as much fun to do as the front was.

Mrs. Pam’s Quilt is sold.

My Old Dog

September 4th, 2014


My Frieda is old.   She’s probably 13 or 14 years old, but it’s not really about years.   Last week, if you asked me, I would have said Frieda was getting old.  But this week it’s different, something in her changed where she went from getting old to being old.  Signs of aging have been gradual, loss of hearing, excessive licking of her painful joints, difficulty getting up, not being able to take walks, having a hard time getting up the stairs, occasional loss of bowel control.  These things came on gradually and until now I saw them as normal old dog behavior.

A few weeks ago, I even tried to communicate with her.  I figured if I could do it with the donkeys I could surely do it with Frieda.  So I sat by her bed and held her head in my hands and in my mind asked her if she was in much pain, if she was ok or if she was done with all of this.  Then I opened my mind and heart to her and waited.  In moments, words came into my head.  “Leave me alone, I’m retired.”  Then I got an image of her enjoying food, not necessarily her dog food which she often leaves in her bowl, but the dog treats.  She’s actually become a treat hound as if it’s the only thing she’s still really interested in. (She gave up 0ne of her favorite things,  barking at people when they come in the house, over the summer).  So I decided to trust those words I heard and the image I saw.  It felt right to me.

Until yesterday.  And it’s hard for me to explain what happened.  It’s not like  she suddenly can’t make it up the stairs or stand up or anything like that, even though her old dog behavior is more pronounced.  It’s more like a change in her psyche.   Not something concrete I can name, but a sense of confusion coming from her to me.  As if a part of her, an essential part, is no longer there.   Frieda has always been a determined dog who knows what she wants and doesn’t want and lets everyone else know too.   Now it’s as  if she no longer knows what she wants and is just going through the motions.

Frieda is physically uncomfortable, probably in pain much of the time.  And her body is failing in obvious and measurable ways.  And it’s these things along with this new feeling, this communication that I’m getting from her that’s making me think about what happens next.  And I don’t think she’s ready to leave the earth just yet.  But now, I do believe that when she is ready I’ll know.  I’ll hear it, see it,  feel it or all three.  Because my bond with Frieda is that tight and I trust it completely.  In the past there were many things I didn’t want to know, so I hid from them, denied them, didn’t trust myself when I knew the truth.  But I have no intention of doing that with Frieda.   She’s been too good to me, we’ve been too good for each other to stop now.




Mrs. Pam’s Bag of Scraps

September 3rd, 2014
Mrs Pam's scraps piled on my table.

Mrs Pam’s fabric scraps piled on my table.

Mrs. Pam has been teaching Preschool for 50 years.   She sews clothes for girls in Nicaragua and makes catnip toys for her local Stray Rescue.  But she could use only so many scraps from all those jumpers for those catnip toys, so she sent the rest to me.

When I dumped the bag of scraps onto my table, I could imagine the little girls dressed in their new pink, blue, purple, green and yellow Jumpers.  Butterflies, and flowers, peace signs and paisley.  I hadn’t seen so many bright and cheerful fabrics since I made Olivia’s Quilt, from her little girl dresses.

I started by making potholders.  I added some of the fabric that Kenna sent me.  Similar colors but simpler or solid to juxtapose all the patterns.

potholdersThen today, I was going to make even more potholders (they were so much fun yesterday) but instead I found myself using some of the bigger scarps to start a quilt.


I added fabrics from my shelves, some more from Kenna, some from Laura Israel and some that I don’t remember where it came from.  Each time I added the right piece of fabric my heart would beat quickly, my eyes grow wide, I all but licked my lips.  I worked on it all day, and it came together as easily as the potholders.  I think I need one more strip of fabric on the right, but I’ll know for sure tomorrow.

So thank you Mrs Pam.  Your scarps are so inspiring to me.  Maybe because they have the joy of little girls in them and the energy of your good deeds.