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 ~

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Thoughts: Never give up, and a few tears are okay

As the week draws to close, dear readers, I reflect on how I came out of my post-hump-day, same ol' same ol' slump this morning. It was easy -I just turned on my computer, and there they were - not one but two Etsy sales waiting for me in my inbox! (No, it doesn't take much to get me excited, lol).
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I sold this, my colorful Fiesta Flower Scarf -which had only been listed for 12 hours or so!
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And I also sold my sweet Spring Tones Cropped Vest ~ which has been in my shop practically since I started selling, in August 2008.
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So, in one day, I sold both my oldest and my newest item at EclecticaByJan! I love all my sales, and I was very happy to sell the vest - I've always thought it to be an adorable design, yet it sat there and sat there, to the point where I despaired of ever finding a buyer for it. (Plus, I've been wanting to make another one, because it was such a fun little project.) Well, now I can make another - and I'm happy for the reminder to Never Give Up on a Product - it may take a while, but there's always a buyer to be found!
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Where did the tears come in, with all this good news? Well, I gave myself the treat today of listening on the radio to Live at the Met's broadcast of La Boheme. It doesn't matter how many times I've heard this well-loved opera, I always cry at the end when Mimi dies and her lover Rudolfo sings out her name. I defy anyone to listen to Puccini's music in this moment without getting teary! And it was cathartic for me - it has been a tough week (we don't need to go into that now), and even though I'm feeling better, shedding a few tears was a not a bad thing.
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It's been good day, learning the lesson to never give up - and reminding myself that when a good cry is needed, there's always a opera for it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Notable Quote: Anything You Can Lose in a Shipwreck


I soon realize there is something else here besides grief, and it is so surprising that I keep turning away from it because the impending death of someone you love is not supposed to feel like this. In addition to my usual thrashing, I am aware of an unchanged and unchangeable stillness, a peacefulness so languid and so relaxing that it feels like being dissolved, cell by cell. The difference between how I think death should feel and how it does feel is like the difference between being knocked around on the surface of the ocean and gliding along the dark, hushed bottom, where the surface is only a dream.

When I pay attention to what I am losing, I feel insane with grief. When I pay attention to the enveloping stillness, I know that nothing bad is happening.

It makes me wonder if what the Sufis have said for a thousand years is actually true: anything you can lose in a shipwreck is not really yours.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Evolution of a Journal Page

I've been spending a lot of time with my visual journal, dear readers, and I thought I'd share a new page with you now and then. This one is instructive because I have photos of the different stages as I worked through it - and it's still in progress. I started this page in the Journaling Jam workshop I took with Juliana Coles last month. For a base layer, we covered the pages with tape of all kinds and then did free-writing over it ~


This free-writing practice makes a wonderful background for collage of all kinds, especially when you have a big, loopy handwriting like I do! I'm really glad I have the photo, because I may just print it out and use it in another piece. Like Traci Bautista says - leverage your artwork! Next, we collaged over the background using a prompt provided randomly by another person in the class. Here's what I had at the end of the day ~


I did not feel finished with this page spread, so I've worked on it intermittently in the last week or so. I wanted to integrate the spread by darkening the colors on the left-hand page. It's better, and I like the way the yellow caries through now, but I still want more of that rich, deep blue on the left side. I also did not care for the large female figure in the upper center of the spread. I layered over her with a translucent paper (actually a dried and flattened tea-bag paper!) and worked in some of the yellow paint. Here's where the spread stands now ~


It's much better, don't you think? The covered-over figure still bugs me, so I think I'll collage over it with another image entirely. And I still have to work in the "meaning" of the page. The original prompt was Exorcising Sister Grace. Or maybe Exercising Sister Grace. I couldn't read the original handwriting, and I like the ambiguity - it lets me go with my own interpretation. "Exercising" makes me think of a horse, and I have a horse image that I think will add nicely to the collage. "Exorcising" reminds me that, even though I took ballet lessons as a kid, I'm still a klutz! So there you go - I now have a plan for adding to and finishing this page spread. Of course, they never come out like they're planned, and that's half the fun. We shall see!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Altered-Book Makers: A BookPlate Just for You!

Making altered books is addictive - once you start, you can't stop. I recently "finished" (they're never really done, and I have four more in progress :) two of my altered-book or visual journal projects, and it's quite satisfying when I put a label in front claiming it as my very own. This seems like a cool thing for all of you altered-book enthusiasts out there, so I made some stickers and posted them for purchase at my Zazzle Store. Here's a sample:
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Be sure to see all of my Altered Book Stickers. I have several background patterns to choose from, or you can get a plain-background sticker like the one shown just above, and choose your own background color. The cost is only $5.15, plus shipping, for a sheet of 6, 3-inch stickers or a sheet of 20, 1.25-inch stickers. I've purchased stickers and other products from Zazzle , and I have to say - their quality and service are top-notch!
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Thanks to Shari Adkisson, friend and fellow student at Juliana Coles's journaling jam workshops, who inspired me with this idea! I hope all of you altered-bookmakers out there will find a use a for this sticker, and that it will add to your enjoyment and satisfaction of your projects. If you have any suggestions or requests for different background colors, or wording, please let me know. I'd be glad to "alter" my altered-book sticker idea to suit you :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Notable Quote: Precautions and rewards for travelers to unconscious realms ~


Inanna leaves behind her loyal vizier and executor, Ninshubur; she gives her precise instructions on what to do if she isn't back in three days and three nights. Psychologically speaking, Inanna takes the precaution of leaving a sturdy, conscious aspect of herself behind to monitor her descent into the unconscious. When you descend into the unconscious, you may become unconscious. You need to leave a control figure behind to haul you back if you lose yourself.

... Inanna seeks enlightenment and expansion through her descent. She, too, is ambitious ... but has left behind a worthy safeguard in Ninshubur. Thus, stripped of her identity in the underworld, Inanna submits, lets go of her ego, dies to herself, becomes completely receptive (humble, like humus or dirt) to whatever must take place between the above and below so that life may remain fruitful.

And because of Inanna's descent and the resultant rescue mission of Enki, the god of wisdom and flow, her dark sister Erishkigal is also transformed and revalued. ... Erishkegal is no longer "kept down" and Inanna is no longer "high and mighty." A passageway has been opened between the two realms and its queens. Thanks to Inanna's courage and caution, an exchange of energies has taken place.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunshine Cleaning: Local color, wonderful story and acting

A while back, I posted on how I love to crochet to movies :) I've had some interest from my readers in this subject, so I'd thought I give some reviews now and then on movies I've crocheted by. I'll start with a lovely flick I watched (and crocheted with) last night: Sunshine Cleaning. This thoughtful yet charming indie flick features two sisters, Rose and Norah, who need to earn some good money quick. Rose, a housekeeper, needs to place her son in a better school, and Norah has just been fired from her waitress job. Acting on a tip, they realize there's good money in the field of crime scene clean-up, so they start their own business. Hijinks - along with dark humor, sweetness, and character growth - ensue.

The two sisters are played by Amy Adams (Rose) and Emily Blunt (Norah). They both do a fine and touching job as the sisters overcoming their inherent revulsion at the nature of their work, and then finding the rewards that come from stepping up to the challenge and doing what they have to do. Their lovable and eccentric Dad is played with panache by Alan Arkin. The supporting characters, many of them locals, do a fine job in carrying the movie to its sweet and uplifting finish.

But it's the setting that captivated me: Okay, I'm biased - this movie was filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico - my adopted home town. Well, I knew that: New Mexico has a burgeoning film industry, and at times it's hard to drive across town without encountering a film crew in action. What I didn't expect was how well this film captured the true flavor of Burque, as we affectionately call her. Having lived in movie towns big to little, I'm well aware of Hollywood's penchant for butchering the geography of the real places they use for their backdrops.

Not so with this film. It made no bones about its placement in gritty, blue-collar-striving-to-be upscale, Albuquerque. From panoramas of the snow-dusted Sandia Mountains to a favorite Mexican restaurant on east Central Avenue, I knew they were at home in my home town. I even recognized some of the people in the film. My favorite instance came near the beginning, when Norah gets fired after dropping a tray of food. I instantly diner's interior as that of the Lucky Boy restaurant, proudly serving Chinese food and hamburgers since forever. In the film, the restaurant owners come out, reading the Norah the riot act: You're fired! You'red fired! The kick is, it was the REAL owners of the Lucky Boy - a hard-working Chinese couple who are some of the sweetest people on this earth. Having filled up on many a budget-priced plate of their delicious egg foo young, it was especially delightful for me to see and recognize a familiar and favorite place while seeing a new and humorous side of the faces behind the counter.

For me, the film truly captured what I love about Albuquerque, the gritty, bootstrapping, you-can-knock-me-down-but-I'll-get-right-back-up-again core feeling of this place. it's what keeps us going. See Sunshine Cleaning, and get a little of that yourself. Five thumbs up!

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Valentine's Day Card - or is it an anti-Valentine?

I posted this handmade card - it's called Love Bites  - today at my Etsy shop, and now I'm all stocked up for Valentine's Day. I'm so proud of this image, I've linked it to Brag Monday at *The Graphics Fairy* blog!


Our pretty Victorian lady (image courtesy of *The Graphics Fairy*) has been fishing for love, and she's reeling in a big one! I collaged her onto a card made of painted botanical paper (the coating of acrylic paint gives this paper a nice, leathery texture) and set her in a stage made of hearts, roses, and (real) lace. The roses are clipped from prints of my own photography. Then, I gave her a fishing pole that's a real feather! I know, that's a really big heart to reel in with a feather, but maybe we have a metaphor in there, somewhere :)

The Love Bites title, then, is a word play on the idea of getting a bite when you're fishing. Of course there's also the slang use of "bites" as another way of saying Love is Just a Four Letter Word, for those of us who are a tad jaded on the whole matter! This, then, is why I raised the rhetorical question - is it an anti-Valentine? When I made my Love Bites t-shirt for my Zazzle shop, it sure seemed that way ~


It looks great on a t-shirt, don't you think?

But whether this design is pro- or anti-Valentine's Day doesn't really matter. I had fun making it, enjoying the play of color, paint, ink, and embellishment. And I hope you will enjoy it the finished product, and its many incarnations as prints, mousepads, cards, postage, and (for one lucky person) the original work, too!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Candlemas to Spring Equinox CycleCast: Polish the Pearl

One month of the new year has gone, dear readers, and now we're up to Candlemas or Imbolc (and let us not forget Groundhog Day!). This, the first cross-quarter day of the year, has since ancient times been associated with weather prognostication, candles and purification rituals, and celebrating the first stirrings of spring. This year's current energy-cycle might have us doing all of the above, only perhaps seasoned with The Pearl's quiet self-assuredness ~
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photo by Jan Burch
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The Star: Energy for the month of February 2010

January has ended - where does the time go? I don't know about you, dear readers, but I'm looking forward to our new month of February! We'll get to lift up our gaze and reach for our guiding Star ~
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The Star is a turning point, the fulfillment of seeking and discovery. It portends that we can at last go full-hearted into the search for that which thrills and inspires us.

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