Saturday, June 30, 2018

Rosaries and Rose Beads

The Rose, by Ann Mayhew, illustrated by Michael Pollard, includes "myths, Folklore and Legend." Ann writes, "The rosary is believed to have originated in the Orient, and is used as a devotional aid in many religions. ...In the East, Rose-beads are still made. Dried rose petals are crushed to powder, moistened with rose water and formed into pellets, which are strung, dried and polished, ready for use." 
This is essentially the process I came to, after much experimentation! 
My grandmother Mary grew and used herbs. My mama had a Rose bead necklace grandma Mary made 20 or 30 years before I was born! Sadly, I never knew my grandmothers Mary Irel and Minnie Vestella, so was fascinated by anything I could learn about them. Mary's younger sister Mattie gave me a "wagon train rose" with fragrant petals, this may well have been the rose my grandmother used making beads! 

My first attempt to make rose beads, using a recipe from 'American Girl Magazine,' looked rather like raisins, as the instructions included simmering, but not mashing! 
Next go - round, I simmered my petals as instructed, "an hour a day for three days," then ran the mash thru the foley mill my mom used when making jelly. 

Several years later, I began whirring my mash in a blender or food processor, with much better results. The outer necklace is one I made by that method 50 years ago, while in my teens. I used little brass beads and stung them on nylon line from the fishing supply (my dad was a fly fisherman), as we didn't have a bead shops. 
*****
In an herb class in the late 80s, our teacher Glen Nagle suggested storing dried herbs whole, then whizzing a small batch of "crispy dry" herbs in an electric seed/coffee mill when ready to use. He mentioned setting your drying racks in a car on a warm day for that "crispy dry" state.
Ah- ha! I could do that with the rose petals, as I generally used a combo of fresh & dried petals for my beads. Viola! The inner necklace, strung with rose quartz, is about 30 years old, the outer was made with the dried petal method.
Making Rose Beads
This is a wonderful, meditative process, and well suited to Intentional Creativity! Put inn favorite chants or music, say prayers as you stir the mash, form beads, string a Rosary or make a necklace.
Dry: Remove the extras: stamens, hips and greenery, dry and store the petals (powdered or whole) in Jars or tea tins. Add "potpourri herbs to help preserve the fragrance: small amounts of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, ground nutmeg, cardamom... Other good additions are some lavender flowers and a few rose geranium leaves. If you have roses saved from a special bouquet, you may wish to add some of these petals to your beads. Keep thoroughly dry petals in closed containers, till ready to process.
Powder: Make sure your petals are crispy dry when you whizz them in an electric coffee/herb/seed grinder in small batches. You can grind a bit of lavender and rose geranium leaves along with your petals or not, as you please. Pick out any lumps. You can use a wire mesh to sift, and regrind the coarser bits. I usually prepare a cup or so of rose powder, and store in glass jars or tea tins.
Tisane: Steep Rose petals, lavender, & rose geranium leaves with favorite spices (cinnamon, cardamom & nutmeg, or perhaps Garam masala) in hot water 10 minutes when you're ready to make beads.Bold You want it to smell rosy, so don't overdo with the spices. Rose geranium leaves aide having a lovely rose fragrance! 
Tisane, mash simmering, tin with rose petal powder

Cook: A small electric potpourri crock pot (thrift store!!) is ideal for the heating & mash making process. Mix some of your rose tea with 1/2 cup - a Cup of your powdered rose petals, stir, turn on the pot, and let it simmer an hour or so, stirring occasionally, adding more tea as needed. 
Allow your mash to cool a bit, then put in the food processor, and whiz (you may need a bit more liquid) Scrape the sides well, and return your mash to the pan or potpourri pot. Allow to sit overnight, and reheat the following day. 
Jude the Obscure
My original recipe said, "simmer the petals an hour each day for 3 days." Now, I may just do two rounds, but it is easy to have it simmering daily for awhile when you're painting! 

Scrape the sides and stir occasionally, and add more tisane (herbal tea) as needed, you don't want it soupy wet. If it gets dry, scrape the sides and add a bit more tisane. If it's too wet, add more rose petal powder.
Pour some tisane for yourself as well - ahh 

You can put the mash in the fridge for a few days at any point, or freeze it if you can't make the whole batch into beads! 

Fresh petal Method: If you'd like to use fresh petals, or a mix of fresh and dry, collect at least a dozen roses, discarding the hips and centers. The more fragrant, old fashioned or David Austin roses are best, and dry some for storing your beads. Add fresh or dried roses from a special corsage or bouquet if you wish.

Simmer in a little water (with a few spices like powered cinnamon) or Rosy Tisane for an hour (a small crockpot is good for either method), stirring occasionally. When the petals are wilted and transparent, grind in a mortar and pestle, food processor or blender, till you have a consistency like applesauce or a "smoothy." Return your sauce to the crockpot or pan, and simmer for another hour or so, adding a bit more tisane as needed. Blend again, and simmer once more. If you're using a crockpot, turn it on low and occasional scrape the sides.
Beads: The word bead comes from the Anglo Saxon word bede, a prayer or invitation to "bid spirit to
Rose beads and necklaces in potpourri
enter." Rosary comes from the Latin rosarium, Rose garden or rose bed. 


In 1990, I was at an Earth Day gathering, wearing my "new style" Rose Bead necklace, and a Native American man was speaking about praying with the flute, the hollow allowing breath, allowing spirit and sacred sound to flow. And the space in beads.
I (after arguing with my guides!) spoke into a lull in his words, adding the meaning of bead, "to bid spirit to enter." After, he asked where that word came from. I replied, "Anglo Saxon, like most of our words." He nodded, and invited me to pass my necklace around the circle.
Making beads is like playing with clay! Allow your petal mash to cool, and take a small amount  from the pot. You want a 'playdough' consistency. Squeeze a lump together, and using two fingers, roll the ball in the palm of your hand. Make about twice as big as you want your finished bead - they'll shrink! 
Beads drying
Yes, it's messy! But oh, so sweetly fragrantSqueeze out moisture if you need to, and have a bit of the tisane in a small bowl to dip your fingers, or use rosewater, as they do "in the East." Scrape residue off your hands and drop it back in the pot. Smooth your beads again as you go.
I make several size beads, as I like to string in patterns of 3s & 5s, with a larger bead in the center. Set the beads on small dishes to dry for a day till slightly firm, before piercing with a large needle. (if any break, just drop back into the 'mash', or add a bit of tisane, knead and form new beads)
Pierce with a "carpet needle," or sewing needle for smaller beads, and string on waxed carpet thread, hemp cord, or fishline for drying. Put about a dozen beads on a string, & place them back on the plate or hang from pushpins along the edge of a shelf or above a door. You don't want them close to heat! (They'll dry too fast and fall apart!) Turn them on the string every few days till they have shrunk and dried. You can leave them on their strings till you're ready to string them. Stir them
My original instructions suggest using all white and yellow rose petals for paler beads, like the outer necklace from a friend pictured bellow, strung with pearls and glass beads. Mine usually end up dark. 
If you want to insure they are dark, "add a rusty nail while they simmer." I store the strings of beads & finished necklaces in tins & jars with rose potpourri, a few whole roses & sprigs of lavender. If you wish, you can rub them with a silk scarf to polish the beads.

I don't add essential oil to either my rose beads or potpourri, as the roses retain their natural fragrance beautifully! My mother was fragrance sensitive, and could wear natural rose beads, but not those with a bit of essential oil! Rose geranium leaves are a great addition. As they have a natural strong rose fragrance.
Stringing a Rosary: from The Rose: each tradition calls for a specific number of beads. 
  • India: Buddhists use a rosary of 99 beads
  • China and Japan, 108
  • Mohammedan: 108
  • Greek: 100
  • Russian Orthodox: 103
  • Catholic: 165 (15 sets of 10 "hail Mary," 15 large: Pater Noster)
If you have a rosary from one of these traditions, you can use it as a model. String as you would other beads, in a way that is pleasing to you. This is a wonderful time to say prayers/set your intention for the prayer beads. Tiger tail is great for stringing actual necklaces with clasp closure, and natural stones, pearls, glass beads can be added in patterns. Let our your beads on a piece of felt or necklace tray to preview your pattern.
You could also make a prayer bracelet, stringing fewer beads.
When teaching a rosebead class, I buy small tins at the thrift stores, & make a bag or sprinkle potpourri in the bottom, to gift the students. The beads smell more fragrant when worn, as your body heat warms them. Just keep them dry, & they'll last a long, long time.
I've written earlier on making Rose Beads here.
This is a great tutorial on making rose beads, with a number of photos at various stages! 

Have you made rose beads? Do you have a favorite pattern, or combination of beads?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Cosmic Smashing

One of my favorite protects is to create Cosmic Smashbooks, and Art Journals! 

When she was in her color of Woman teacher training, my Red Thread SiStar Catt Geller wanted an option suitable for low-income participants. She thought of using simple composition books - and Cosmic Smashbooks were born! I corresponded with Catt, and was granted permission to teach local classes, and love seeing the books that emerge! 

Reiki 2 Good Medicine journals

This year, Catt is launching her Teach the Teachers training, and there are still a few slots open! Contact her if you're interested! 

Here's a lovely little tutorial on making an art journal with watercolor paper. I like making small themed booklets (a even simpler format is the fold out style, no sewing!)
Apothecary jars & wc pencils

And here are a few art journal page ideas -  let's art journal  
Looking for inspiration? Here's a challenge with monthly themes: Art journal journey

Do you have a favorite format for art journals? 
HåPpÝ Paint Party Friday

Friday, May 18, 2018

In the Still Room

It's been a lovely, busy week. I played harp for a wonderful new moon meditation circle Sunday morning (Mother's Day), in a sweet rural setting, and nice weather, so we were outside. I got to stay for brunch under the trees, and later in the day had time with my kids and the local Grands.
This week I was puttering in the Apothecary, framing shelves, partial glazes, ...And feeling close to completion, .... 
Now, the Muse wants:
Apothecary
  • Gel for "carvings" on the shelves
  • An Alembic still (! - She saw one on another painting, and has to have one!) 
    Alembic still
  • A button box, full of family treasures - did you have a button box? I could spend hours with my mom's! 
  • Real items: key and leaded Crystal, a knob for beads and a pouch to hang from (apple burl, from an artist friend) and buttons from the family box for knobs on the drawers
  • a few more Nick-Nacks, perhaps an amethyst cluster, little statue, dropper bottles ....
  • Titles on the books (far right)
Because the canvas is angled, I plan to add a hazel branch above the narrow end (right half), ... apparently it will be wrapped with Red Thread from circles led and classes taught, and the key and lead Crystal will hang from it ...

I used my editing feature to sketch in some of the ideas she has for me, ... I'd glazed the star
violet, ... that seems the perfect place for the still! And life the other dragons, Scarlett will peek out, ...

An early layer was a rich "compost" glaze, that seems in order over the star...

What tasks has your Muse set you?




Thursday, May 10, 2018

Creativi-tea Time

This week I had tea with SiStars from around the globe with my RT friend Denise Daffera and the Purple Ink café, via Zoom technology! I was at my daughter's, so used a sweet teacup my granddaughter KK received from her friend Gabby, when she went over for a sleepover. Bone China, with a lilies of the valley pattern, it reminded me of having tea with my mom! Like Denise, I grew up sipping tea and sharing stories with mom. Ssh p as a teen, she encouraged me to collect bone China teacups when we traveled to Canada. At home, I often use a handthrown cup, and have several to choose from.

As women shared their tea cups, and memories of other tea parties, I remembered when my
Cup from Elaine W

massage mentor introduced me to an older German woman, who needed in-home sessions. I would bring my (heavy!) table, and after the session, she began inviting me to stay for tea, which included some fresh baked goodie.... 

When Helen requested I come twice a week, I told her I could come do massage two times, but not do "tea party" both days!! We would drop into a mix of English with some German words, and I'd hear parts of her story.

We always had herbs in our garden, and when my kids were young, Michael and I would gather our own favorites for Monday night tea blends. He loved sage, I prefered Lemon balm, and a sweeter brew. We had a wonderful black English peppermint from his elderly friend who lived in the house "my" gallery, 10 Oaks, now occupies. 
Like my folks, we liked using local honey, and would use a bit in our brews. Sage or ginger and honey we favorites got sore throats, and in the late 80s, I took an herb class to learn more medicinal uses. Our local friends Melanie and Andy Van Hevlingen grow some of our favorite herbs.


During my years at the mountain hot springs retreat, Breitenbush, several co-workers loved tea and tea ceremonies. Rosa was born in England, and Gwynne had studied at the Guild theatre school in London. I'd often be invited over for elevenses, with tea served from a pot, and perhaps jam on a biscuit or bread from the kitchen. I was happy to discover a coconut black tea at our local Velvet Monkey tea room, similar to the one from a London tea shop. At Christmas, Jamshed would host a well attended high tea with poetry, in the lodge with a fire burning. 

One housemate, Ray from the kitchen team, was an expert at simmering the spices and making fresh Chai. Like the little Red Hen, he encouraged Emily and me to make it sometimes, but no, we wanted his brew, and would patiently wait for our chai.

For our Red Thread Circles, we often brew tea in a pot, along with small oranges, nuts, chocolate, for help washing and clearing emotions raised as old stories are processed. We have a collection of tea cups, and teas, as well as tea in bags for individual use. A teapot appeasers in many of our Apothecary paintings, brewing new stories.

What favorite memories of tea and tea parties do you have?

Happy Paint Party Friday

Friday, May 4, 2018

Alchemy and PRISMs

The last month or so our Intentional Creativity community has been busy brewing potions in the Apothecary, trudging "tragedies into remedies" through the alchemical painting process. With IC, we often bring old stories conscious, and then using creativity to shift the old pain into remedies, which we can draw on when someone has a similar experience, but no longer need to carry in our bodies, or even our fields. This. is. huge.
Bezoar


For many of us, there are old stories of being left out, less than, not important. There may be stories of abuse, receiving unwanted attention, making "bad" choices, and collective stories of persecution for having the "wrong" beliefs. Students come to our art circles with stories of "not being creative," often because some authority told them they weren't, decades before!

These old stories go into the pots, ingredients are added, and healing elixirs are distilled, remedies labeled, and lovingly placed on the shelves. Labels are added as we decided these Remedies.

Bezoar in dark blue container
We did some of our process in journals, led by the wonderful Jenafer Joy.  You may recall my Bezoar from my last post, which, pearl-like, forms around an undigestible object (often hair) in the stomach or intestine of an animal. Harry Potter fans will remember this as a universal antidote to any poison! Quite handy to have in the Apothecary! 
My potions are still brewing, I love the bubbles rising from the goblet, old views which no longer serve have been rewritten...

I took the canvas to our open studio last weekend.... It's repurposed, and I didn't notice 'till I'd been painting awhile that it's wider on the Left (20", only 18" on the Right!) It was home stretched, and meant to hang vertically!  
So, part of the medicine is adding ribbons and ornaments, I've got a hazel branch that will be integrated above the Right side! And the Perfection Queen just needs to stand down! 
Apothecary
Shiloh and Jonathan are currently on an Australian teaching tour, and are offering PRISM in Melbourne. This is a wonderful glimpse into how art dovetails with quantum physics and reality, and changes we make on the canvas can ripple out into our lives and the world. 
This will be offered online, and registration for this year's virtual PRISM training is now open. I took this class in 2016, and look forward to being an online Hearth Tender again, and to see what appears on my canvas. 

What's on your easel? Happy PPF!
PRISM -2016 (In process)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Apothecary containers

Our Intentional Creativity community is working on with painting process Shiloh and Jonathan are calling Apothecary, Medicine Painting. We're distilling old stories and tragedies, transforming them into Remedies. Jonathan served as a military EMT, parachuting from a helicopter to provide first aid, the traumas he was involved with led to PTSD, which creative processes (he's a chef and poet) helped him transform those old traumas. We each have been spending time pulling our some of the stories, to distill down into antidotes. 
I'm beginning to put my symbols on the vessels, and write the prescriptions.


Vessels in my Apothecary
Our journey began March 31, and in addition to the painting process, identifying traumas, and discovering antidotes, Jenafer Owen has been offering a daily journal prompt. I love her method of writing with watercolor pencils, then adding collage, and activating /transforming the words with water!

Alchemical jars - we wrote, drew jars in Sharpe, and choose images that appealed for five remedies. 

Elements
I adapted this for our Red Thread Circle last night, dividing a sheet of Mixed Media paper into four segments, journaling about an element in each (earth, air, fire and water) and choosing magazine images for each element. 

This was a good warm up for our next class, in a week, my cohort Sepha and I will invite our students to connect with the elements as they paint "Gaia as a Portal"  

Bezoar
Bezoar - Harry Potter fans will recognize this ancient universal poison remedy. An "indigestable" irritant in an animal's stomach or intestine (hair, etc) is transformed into a solid mass, a Bezoar. 
We drew a winding form in our journal, connecting the end with the start of the line; and used watercolor pencil to write about the "irritant" bellow the line. Then choose another color to write the insight, and skills learned from it. Last, use a brush and water to activate the alchemy. 

The next step is to add the Bezoar to one of the medicine confessing vessels on our canvas, with the same colors. It looks rather flower-like, doesn't it?

This morning's prompt was to use a Random item Generator to give us several items pertinent to our alchemical journey, mine were rubber gloves, masking tape, a snow globe, and plush bear. I've been drawing and painting with my Grands, home on an inservice day. I used blue painting tape, for painting my Atelier, the gloves allow me to "dig in" 

I asked the kids for ideas for the show globe, and when Z-man suggested Santa, I
remembered the Herstory of a Sun Goddess crossing the sky in a chariot pulled by a reindeer. She flies on Winter Solstice, spinning the sun's rays, and dropping Amber (from her tears) and apples! 
I discovered parts of this story when I was painting the Celtic lady, Elen Star-Path. So I brought the Latvian Saule into my globe! My middle granddaughter suggested the word JOY.

Mr grandkids have been enjoying playing with watercolor and Inktense pencils as well, and seeing what happens when they activate then.

What's on your table? Happy paint party Friday

Friday, March 30, 2018

Muse and Oracle

I've always loved cards - once my daughter asked how many decks I needed ...(angels, fairies, several Earth based tarot decks) ... well .. (ok, I have a bunch!!)

Early my Color of Woman training, we made our first set of 'story cards,' identifying the 'poison' of old stories, and discovering the antidote! My IC friend and Vision Keeper Isha recently challenged me to photograph 20 of my ladies, and create an Oracle deck (and sent me a link for having one set printed for about $20!) 

With spring break this week, my middle granddaughter and I have making affirmation and other cards, and doing art other projects. Always fun
IC Cue Cards .


Last weekend, two dozen of the 2018 class met in Sonoma to paint their Muses, while the the rest of the students, and many of the Guild members, painted along with the Livestream. My cohort Sepha and I were asked to film a little video for our colleagues on creating a teaching deck with prompts for each step. Fun finding flow with that!

For my lady, I pulled out the Muse I began two years ago, when Sepha was in Color of Woman. I offered online support for that event, and just never finished my painting! Last year, I brought her our for another online class, so her first layers were in place. (I'm painting her in the photo at the top of this page)

In Her Own Time, WIP
I'm offering support to students on Muse Time, those taking longer than 9 months to complete their CoW teacher training, and she seems the PERFECT Muse to aide me in supporting them! I'm excited to see who's ready to take the next steps, and move toward commencement. 
Over the last few years, I've informally supported a couple as they neared the finish line, and know how helpful a little encouragement can be. I tend to push live-lines myself, and got my own Initiate book off just before midnight that last day!! 

This weekend, Shiloh and her husband Jonathan roll out their latest class, Apothecary; on discovering your own medicine through creativity. Like the Story Cards, identifying the old wounds and poisons helps us discover antidotes. Jonathan was a military EMT, and fittings healing from PTSD through writing poetry and cooking! He'll emerge from behind the curtain (camera) to share some of his story. 

In April, my classmate Grace from Denmark is rolling out her new class online, Stella Polaris, Muse of the North! I am so excited to paint with her - one of my early online journeys was with our AU SiStar, Jassy Watson. I cherish the Good Medicine of these oportunities! 

My own next offering is a invitation to women in the Pacific NW paint a portal to connect with Gaia, as your portal to connecting with Mama Earth. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day weekend! (this one's In person, stay tuned for online offerings!) 
Cosmos and Codes


Blessings on this Full Moon and Holi season, and HåPpÝ Paint Party Friday!