Welcome to Jan's Eclectic-Mix Blog

Greetings, dear readers ~ I am excited to present my detailed Intuitive Forecasts (formerly known as CycleCasts) to this blog! Join me for a guided tour of our journey through life's subtle energies, and stay for my musings on arts and crafts, current events, a little of this and that ~

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Notable Quote: the tortoise in a golden box



As Chuang-Tzu was fishing in the river, two high officials arrived from the king of Ch'U and said, "Sir, the king requests that you come to the capital and serve as his prime minister."
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Without turning his head, Chuang-Tzu answered, "I have heard that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoiseshell that died three thousand years ago. The king keeps its shell in the temple, wrapped in silk and encased in a golden box. Now if you were this tortoise, would you prefer to be venerated in such a way, or would you rather be alive again, crawling around in the mud?"
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"The latter, certainly," said the officials.
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Chuang-Tzu said, "Give my compliments to His Majesty, and tell him that I am happy right here, crawling around in the mud."
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~ Stephen Mitchell,  The Second Book of the Tao

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My First Zazzle Sale! w00t & high five

So I've been on Zazzle just under two months, and I've been a little discouraged with it ... low views and it seems like every other Zazzler is making sales but me :( You know how it goes! Then, today I signed into my Zazzle site and a change on my dashboard caught my eye:
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Royalty: $2.64
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Whaaa???? It's always been $0.0 for 2 long months!!! Does that mean - yes! I got a sale on my Hope Floats note card ~
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So there it is - some wonderful person liked my card enough to buy 10 or so of them! I'll never know who it is, but I send out a big kiss and hug and THANK YOU for letting me know I'm still in the game! I can do it - I can sell my art online! Yes, I can - www0000000ttt!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Merry Christmas in July!

One way to beat the summer heat is to think about winter, and from a crafter's point of view that means Christmas in July. It helped when I found a bunch of yummy-soft holiday yarn on deep discount at Big Lots :) Naturally I bought some, and I've whipped up this lovely Yuletide Flower Scarf ~
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It's a versatile piece - just toss it over your sweater & jeans, or little black dress - and you've got holiday spirit in 3, 2, 1 ! You can even use it as a decoration - draped on your mantel, or twined around a wreath, for example. I can tell you, working with that cheerful multi-color and frosty-white yarn really did cool me down a degree or too!
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I've also brought back my fabulous Yuletide Colors Afghan ~
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This lovely houseware brings the holiday spirit to your whole room, and it's practical, too! It will keep you cozy during the long nights of Yuletide and beyond, yet you can take care it with the ease of machine wash and dry. This will become a holiday heirloom and give many years of pleasure for the lucky family that owns it!
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Okay, what's the catch - why should you, my dear readers, have to think about Christmas when there's still 180+ shopping days ahead??? Because Christmas-in-July means a sale! Both of these pieces are now listed at special pre-season pricing - go to my Etsy shop and find how much you can save if you buy them right now. Then, when it's time to deck the halls, you'll be all set!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A First Look at my latest Altered Book Project

I was fortunate this past weekend, to participate in an awesome altered-book workshop! Hosted and led by Juliana Coles right here in Albuquerque, the workshop was titled Consulting the Oracle. Juliana brilliantly used this theme to give us lots of hands-on in different aspects of the mixed-media bag: altering a book; making pockets and tabs; creating divination/guidance cards; and going deeper with our own spiritual/psychological evolution. Oh yes, we also had fun and made new friends, to boot!
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So now I can show you some of my productions from this experience ~ I have way more photos than I can put in one blog post, so I'll give you an overview and show you my more-or-less finished pages. The picture below combines views of the components in this book/discovery project ~
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For my book base, I used an ooOLLLLLDDDD novel titled "Tom Brown's School Days" which I thankfully found in Juliana's stash - because I didn't read the prep instructions and I brought the wrong kind of books! Our mission was to create a set of cards on which to evoke our archetypes; then create a pocket in the front of the book to hold the cards; then divide the book into sections and develop journal pages devoted to each archetype. In corners of the photo, you can my book's bright blue cover. In the middle you'll see the pocket with & without the cards, plus the title page. Also shown are two spreads of my cards - the archetypes in the upper right corner and extra cards in the lower left. Yes, that is Dolly Parton - she's on the card I identified as "Warrior"!
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The spread below shows my Journey Begins page ~
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This is my book's - and process - introduction. I found out right away that the fragile pages of this very vintage book needed reinforcement - they almost dissolved under the layers of paint we were happily guided to spread at this step. I put a layer of masking tape on the backs of these pages, and all was well. We then collaged our vision on top of the messy background. I took the journey concept literally - that isn't quite a yellow-brick road, but it may evolve into one as I work some more on this page.
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One of my favorite pages as shown below is The Orphan ~
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The task was to protect and re-parent our inner lost-child. I found this sweet image of a mother & child, and I wanted the whole Chinese army at my back for this job - even if they are made of clay. These pictures were too large to fit on the page, so I made them into pop-ups. It's a simple spread, but I think it's perfect - and I love it!
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Another simple spread is shown below, called The Warrior ~
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It's all about facing our own dragons and slaying them. And since that says it all, I'll move on to the final spread of the book, shown below as
The Magician ~
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Here, I've moved away from the muddy, bloody colors I'd been using, and treated myself to my favorite aqua! The pinks in the lettering and images are bonus. This spread really is about integrating all of the previous archetypes, as well as others possibly unknown. At least that's what came to me now that I'm typing this - the journey of visual journaling is truly a never-ending process.
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These aren't the only pages or things I have to show you, dear reader. I have more pages that are in-progress, so I'l have future blog posts as they develop. And there's more work with cards, too. In particular, those extra cards are going to be ideal for ACEOs and small collage pieces to list at my Etsy shop - I feel an OSWOA (original small work of art) or two coming up! Stay tuned ;)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Notable Quote: the meme-maker's lament


I thought if they liked one, they might like a series of them - they would recognize the name and come back. ... But they don't do that. This is a common meme-maker's lament: viral projects are spread through decontextualized blog links and e-mail forwards, and so viewers tend to pay no attention whatsoever to the domains that actually host the material - they never learn anything about the creators who entertain them. In the Internet circus, a seemingly infinite cast of clowns, daredevils, and freaks each step into spotlight, enthrall the crowd for thirty seconds or so, and then exit back into the dark with barely a bow.

~ Bill Wasik, And Then There's This

Comment by Jan: I found this quote, dear readers, when - after a week of hitting the stratosphere, so to speak - my blog traffic & ad revenue sank like a stone. Sigh. Back to the drawing board, to try for another 30 seconds of fame. It's feels like being a hamster on a treadmill, doesn't it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday, LuvLee!

I can't believe it - my faithful feline companion, LuvLee is ten years old today! In her honor, I put together this little photo album, including the first two never-before-posted photos. with captions, of course!
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Ferget teh presents! Gimme turkee instead!
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Let's go, Mom! (LuvLee is a travelin' kitty!)
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Home at last: a special message relayed to me by LuvLee ~
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Dear readers, since LuvLee is thoughtful kitty who was adopted from a rescue shelter, she has asked me to remind you of all the other kitties out these who haven't found their special homes yet. In lieu of presents on her birthday, LuvLee would you to take a moment to help these unfortunate felines. If you can't provide a home for a shelter cat (as I can't - part of LuvLee's contract is that she is always to be the ONLY cat!), perhaps you could make a donation. Or volunteer some time. Or be a gift-giver - after all, shelter cats need foods and toys, too!
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LuvLee thanks you for your consideration. She appreciates your good wishes - and I'll be sure to pass your comments on to her. Many purrs!



Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mixed Media Backgrounds for Collage: Self-Help and Color in one messy process!

I've said before - and I'm sticking with it - that my process of collage involves making beautiful (or beautifully scribbled) backgrounds, and then covering them up! As a bonus, this process can also be therapeutic ~ take a look at some pages I did recently in one of my visual journals. I'll give you a taste of the process below each picture:
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First, know that the basis of this particular journal is a decorating book from the 1960s - a terrific used-book find! (Yes, it's full of those psych-ay-delic colors we allegedly used in our homes back in the day.) As I go through this altered-book journal, I'm fascinated by the way the printed material works itself into my altered collage pages - you can really see it in the page spread above! Here, I did some layers of free-writing, then spread acrylic paint over the pages with a foam brush. Much of the writing dissolved, because I had used water-based inks. Talk about transformation! Then, because I was drawn to the image of the red chairs on the printed page, I used wet wipes to clean off some of the paint and highlight the chairs.
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The process begins with free-writing. I like to use all kinds of different, but not-too-dark, markers, and just scribble across the page. In all of these pages, I used three different markers in three different directions. What made it therapeutic is that I wrote my feelings about something that was troubling me. Since it's my very own journal, I can use whatever language and express whatever angst I wish. I continued through all three page samples shown here - and by the time I got done, I felt much better and had actually changed my thinking about the issue!
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In the spread above, I did the same free-writing exercise, using a sparkle-gel marker, pencil crayon, and metallic marker. All of them act to a degree as a resist medium, which makes the next step interesting. I covered over the writing with three dark-colored poster markers - blue green, and purple. This gave a solid, yet still transparent, look to the page. I happen to love this "background" and so I've copied it into my digital-background photo file for future use - more about that in a post to come!
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The final layer is collage and resolution. Here's a page from the third series I did in this exercise:
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The base layer used the same multi-marker free-writing process. For the second layer, I used some kids' color-changing markers I picked up at Target! I love using kids' coloring products - they're cheap, fun, and (hopefully) non-toxic. It's always risky for me to shop at places like Target, Kmart, Walgreens, etc. - I go in for cat food and paper towels, and come out with a ton of markers and stuff I hadn't planned to buy :) With the color-changing markers, I covered the page with the color end of the marker, then doodled over it with the "changing" end. You can also see this technique used on the left-hand edge of the first picture above.
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The collaged images on this page were cut from photocopies of Tarot cards. I'd had these figures for some time, with the aim of illustrating my "angst" around partnership issues. Fortunately, I'd copied the images at different enlargements, which made the diagonal arrangement possible. Why use them now? I guess the time was right! I completed the page with a title/caption, written in a silver marker and the lettering outlined with metallic gel pen. Oh yes, I did complete the facing page, but I'm keeping that private for now. I'm not quite ready to reveal to the world what these Tarot ladies are looking at!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Notable Quote: The motivators for right action

I've heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts because they're afraid that without them they wouldn't be activists for peace. "If I felt completely peaceful," they say, "why would I bother taking action at all?" My answer is "Because that's what love does." To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what's right is insane. As if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become. As if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin. My experience in the opposite. Love is action. It's clear, it's kind, it's effortless, and it's irresistible.

~ Byron Katie, A Thousand Names for Joy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Ultimate Power Nap with Jin Shin Jyutsu

The blistering-hot weather we're experiencing here in New Mexico is leaving me feeling a tad drained, dear readers. So today I gave up trying to be productive, and instead called for a time-out. I took a Jin Shin Jyutsu power nap this afternoon, and now I'm feeling a whole lot better. Follow these simple steps, and you, too, can transform your downtime into quality time:

In three words: Hold your fingers. By simply holding the thumb and fingers of one hand with the fingers and thumb of the other, you will feel centered, grounded, and refreshed. And it can be done by anyone, at home, any day. Here's what this hold looks like:
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You now have all the information you need to start this practice, but most of us want more direction. Perhaps because we live in a complex world, we're not used to keeping things simple! So I'm going to walk you through it one step at a time:
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Sit in a supportive chair so that you feel comfortable and balanced. It's okay to recline, as long as your back is fully supported.
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Begin by gently wrapping the fingers and thumb of your left hand around the thumb of your right hand. Hold this position for three or four breaths. Breathe naturally; don't try to change or force your breathing. Release the thumb. Next, hold the index finger of your right hand for three or four breaths. Repeat this with the middle, then ring, and then little fingers of the right hand.
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Now, change hands. Comfortably wrap the fingers and thumb of your right hand around the thumb of your left hand, and hold for three or four breaths. Then repeat by holding, one a time, the index, then middle, then ring, then little finger of the left hand. The full sequence, for both hands, should take about four to five minutes. When you are finished, you'll be in a completely different state than when you started. You'll feel calm, not frazzled; energized, not drained.
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When you feel familiar with this sequence, try lengthening the time intervals. Holding each finger for two minutes will give you a 20-minute break. Five to six minutes for each finger adds up to a full hour. For this longer "power nap," I suggest you recline in supported, comfortable position. I like to stretch out on my couch, with pillows supporting my back and under my knees. Some people use a recliner; others do this while in bed. This extended sequence is especially useful for anyone who is overworked, overtired, sleep-deprived, or seriously stressed. When you go to a longer time interval, you may doze for a short while, so be sure you are in a safe place where you won't be disturbed. Don't try this while driving or operating heavy equipment!
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This exercise comes from my study and practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu, an energy-balance method that is used by thousands world-wide to maintain and enhance their well-being. My personal journey with this balancing art came from my lifelong struggles with health issues, including chronic fatigue syndrome. By following this and other Jin Shin Jyutsu practices, I've been able to get my life back. As a certified practitioner, I offer private, hour-long Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions at my Albuquerque location. I'd be happy to show you how this form of energy balance can help improve your life. For more information, you can visit my website http://geoglowconsulting.com/.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Fresh Look for my Zazzle Store!

I redecorated my Zazzle store today - take a look ~




I changed the banner to a new image I'm in love with, called Sunny Swirls. It was made using a highly ephemeral paint technique that I recently tried. I really must write a tutorial post on this soon, and I will - so stay tuned! But for now I'm having fun applying the swirly image to all kinds of neat stuff, like this Sunny Swirls Tie ~


Also, I'm working up a line of stuff that's super-easy for you to personalize - for example, this Sunny Swirls Your Text postcard ~


What a neat way to get your message to the world - just type in the text you want to see on the card, and watch it appear instantly on the screen. When you're satisfied with it, just place your order and it will be printed and shipped, in most cases, within 24 hours. I'm barely halfway through making all the designs I have planned for this line, so keep coming back!

Redecorating an online site is every bit as rewarding as redecorating one's home - and lot easier; there's no furniture to move! I hope you'll take a moment to visit my newly refreshed site, and I'd love to know what you think.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cool as Ice: Three Eclipses CycleCast for now through August 5

Here's a special CycleCast to help us move through the challenge ahead of three successive eclipses. Eclipses occur several times a year, and typically in pairs - but this season, dear readers, we're being treated to three in a row! We have a lunar eclipse occurring on July 7 at 3:21 am, Mountain Time, then a solar eclipse on July 21, and finally another lunar eclipse on August 5. So fasten your seatbelts!

Eclipses have the energetic effect of shaking things up, or breaking loose stuck energy. That's a good thing, but sometimes the turbulence can be a bit much. To get through this chain of eclipses, fellow-travelers, we need to cool down the passions that swirl around us. It's time to adopt the attitude of The Ice ~


Keep moving forward, traveler, for there's a light shining at the end of the Tunnel. Yes, it's a Candle gleaming steadily, promising bountiful results to come: Our efforts will indeed bear fruit! Cool your active mind with the crystal-clear Ice; cut through the yuck and just do it! It's a good time to stir things up, now with the regenerative Lightning flashing through the sky. In the end, all things find their own level, like fluid draining through a Siphon: the exchange and release brings us into new ways of interacting with others. "I believe" dreams up the next "I am" - we complete the Cycle, and begin again.

While the major theme of this Cycle - the digestion and integration of Karma - concludes around August 6-7, there's another energy peak bringing a flurry of activity in mid-July. From about July 15 through the 18th, we will be focusing on resources, information, and communication. Comparing self to surroundings will be a preoccupying thought at this time; please remember to inquire, not judge. This is a good time for socializing, and for making choices that improve our quality of life.

If we do our inner work well, and stay focused on our path, we'll end this Cycle with a sense of fulfillment and transcendance. That's not a bad thing! When the process gets a little rough in the interim, remember this bit of wisdom: Transformation is messy! Yes, I want to change - do I have to mess up my hair/makeup/clothes to do it?

Would you like to have a forecast of your personal energy cycles? My intuitive readings will help answer your questions and illuminate your path - and are now available by e-mail!. For information and to request a reading, click here, or send a message to burchjan@gmail.com.Visit my website www.GeoGlowConsulting.com for more information about my intuitive services.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Your Best Foot Forward on July 4th

Happy Independence Day to those who celebrate it! I admit I'm not one who goes for lavish holiday celebrations, but if I can pause here for some shameless self-promotion, how about these patriotic shoes ~
It's a new design I made at Jan's Zazzle Store - check them out, and take a look at the many cool designs and neat stuff I've made available to you at this great print-on-demand site!

Also, my cat LuvLee would like me to say a few words on her behalf for this day ~


LuvLee wants me to remind you that, much as we like the excitement of fireworks on July 4, it can be very scary for our furred and feathered friends! Please, make sure your companion critters have a safe and secure place to wait out the crash and bangs of the fireworks! Keep them at home, and stay with them if possible. Don't be one of the yearly tragedies - many sad cases occur every year, with animals running off and getting lost, or worse yet injuring them selves trying to escape the scaries. Never leave an animal tied up or outside on a day like today! A little forethought will keep you and your critters safe. LuvLee and I thank you for this!

Finally, let me take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of this day:

I have found that true patriots are driven by a personal, burning sense of responsibility to act in the face of great wrong. True Americans - domestically or globally - seem to take it personally when faced with injustice; they burn. They can't sit in the bleachers even if they want to, even if it would serve them. A violation of the American premise is not abstract to them. It sticks in the gut.
~ Naomi Wolf, Give Me Liberty

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Mountain: Energy of the Month for July 2009

It's July 1st, dear readers - and I, for one, am having a hard time believing we've gone through half of this year! I'll have to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get it ~ because this July's Energy of the Month is the Mountain: fulfillment through perseverance.


Being an energy of fulfillment, the Mountain puts us at a turning point. It's like we're just below the crest of the ridge, with only a few more trudging footfalls to get over the top. Will we take them or not? The choice is ours, but we know that the vista from on high shows us yet another peak to climb in the future.

When located on the Star+Gate pattern, the Mountain's nearest neighbors are:
  • The Tower ~ an attitude of taking stock, reflecting on what has gone before and what is coming up ahead; the cusp of change.
  • The Glove ~ the attitude of give-and-take in daily life; accepting assistance while making our own intentions clear.
  • The Cup ~ the challenge of accepting what the universe brings to it. Even better, learning how to embrace this challenge and transform it into bounty.
  • The Cake ~ the fulfillment of "I want" - material reward and physicial satisfaction. At its highest level, this energy leads us into conscious celebration. When ungrounded, though, it can descend into addiction.
  • The Key ~ individual realization and awareness - that great "Aha!" moment when you finally get it.
These energies will swirl around us all month. Major themes for the month focus on projections of the self: our basic self-expression including likes and dislikes; the birth of consciousness and being willing to explore new spaces, both inwardly and outwardly. You may hear or feel a lot of "my turn" this month, but the energies support that attitude in its most balanced expression. It's about becoming visible as a soul ~ putting on form so we can each go out in the world and experience LIFE!

Would you like to have a forecast of your personal energy cycles? My intuitive readings will help answer your questions and illuminate your path - and are now available by e-mail!. For information and to request a reading, click here, or send a message to burchjan@gmail.com.Visit my website www.GeoGlowConsulting.com for more information about my intuitive services.

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