healing haven

February 11, 2015

Negative Space Acrylic Layering

I had just seen a wonderful video entitled “Mixed Media Negative Planets” by Dana C on a Youtube Pinterest post and was really intrigued by the idea of working with negative space.  Then the prompt for The Documented Life Project was “Layering; when not to stop” so it seemed like the ideal time to try the new technique resulting in this final set of pages:

2-9 DLP layers 2 w-stars

However, I started by gessoing the center fold of the pages so no paint would seep through.  Then splotched on acrylic paint and gesso, stencil and stamps, dabs of this and that, winding up with this hodge-podge.

2-7 DLP layers 1

The next step was to take my circle stencil and make a few circles over interesting areas in pencil.  Then took a mix of light purple and gesso and painted over it all except for the circles.  This was the result:

2-7 DLP layers 2

Then with the circle stencil again I added a few more circle in pencil that generally touched the ones I had already.  Then painted with a slightly darker purple acrylic over everything but the old and new circles and the left side of the page where I plan to put a planner and journal leaving this:

2-7 DLP layers 3

Again, the same thing of making more circles generally touching those already there before adding a dark purple over everything but the circles and also adding a border on the left.

2-7 DLP layers 4

Started to outline the circles with pencil to have them stand out and have some shading as well as adding in date circles on the left.  This picture shows it as much bluer than the pages actually are.

2-7 DLP layers 5

Finishing touches of pen and charcoal around the circles and begin the planner/journal, which is so wonderful in organizing one’s thoughts and events.  In time, this journal will become a memoir for me and my family.

But couldn’t stop – still needed to add something else – stars.  But first I added black acrylic paint splatters, then silver acrylic with a stencil and added in stars and finally the tip-in for the month’s Art Challenge and Journal Prompt, resulting in these pages ready for more journaling and planning as seen at the top.  Here is a close-up of the “planets”:

2-9 DLP layers even closer

I was amazed by how the thought process of negative space is so very different from what one usually does in painting something.

September 9, 2014

Week 32 Document Life Project Process

I am always intrigued how almost every prompt has coincidentally allowed for me to document my week in a meaningful way.  It happens again and again.  The prompt of “Use a Chinese fortune cookie saying” for Week 32 just happened to follow a week where I brought home the fortune – a practice I don’t usually do.  And not that the fortune was outstanding – it just seemed like a good idea.  I had brought home a paper placemat as well.  Since it was from a Chinese restaurant I was looking for an Asian themed background.

One of the gelli plate ages I had already done didn’t turn out very well.  The colors were darker than I like, but when I looked at the design, I saw it had an Asian look to it with a trellis background.  I added some stencil flowers of orange acrylic along with some vines of green and yellow.  The fortune itself was pasted on a piece of colorful orange from another project.

8-5 DLP fortune cookie 2 pages - Cr

I cut off the key design from the menu and used it as a side and top embellishment along with some orange washi to divide for the days of the week.  It was a great exercise in recognizing there are no mistakes in art that can’t be improved upon.  Just re-layer/re-paint.

On the back of the tip in I did some gelli plate printing and added a long ago picture of myself wearing a Chinese-style dress gotten in Panama.  On the center section I gessoed an interlocking block stencil which also added to the trellis look.

8-5 DLP fortune cookie 3 pages

Everything was then ready for planner page and journaling along with some memoir writing about the dress and Panama.  The fortune?   “From now on your kindness will lead you to success.”  This came in a week when I wondered whether kindness was worthwhile at time.  In a world where some people feel okay about spewing out their opinions and yet don’t want anyone else to express theirs in return, I sometimes momentarily wonder about it all.

It is an issue that brings to mind the saying: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?  Most people seem not to bother with the first question, much less the second and definitely not the third.  If they think something, it is necessary to opinionate it.  My father more accurately called it “diarrhea of the mouth.”

These pictures of the pages also then became printed out and included as part of my Project Life album.



January 9, 2014

Healing the Wounded Child

My time in Riversleigh has helped me get further along in my journey of healing my wounded Inner Child.  It has been one of the aids along the way: others include spiritual meditation, processing and mulling, art therapy using SoulCollage and Project Life, writing and journaling including memoir, Soul Food and Riversleigh activities, SoulCollage and Project Life.  My Wounded Child, depicted in the lower left of this SoulCollage card, has been able to transform and access into the upper right part of the card.

collage-wounded child transforms (2013-10-4)

Writing the SoulCollage “I Am the One Who” has assisted in the verbalizing the process after much meditating and mulling.   Riversleigh has been a place of retreat for me to mull in between adventures.  It has symbolized the quiet silences in the spaces between activities.  I have stayed in Riversleigh even as others left: as a shape shifter I could adapt and blend into whatever was happening and whomever was there.


The quiet time has been necessary, but then there comes a time to be with others again, to share in each others’ lives and appreciate the growth patterns we all have undergone.

December 16, 2013

“Wounded Child” Project Life page

This then became my final part of combining SoulCollage cards and Project Life.  I added a picture taken from Pinterest for the color and the quote along with copies of a birthday card, inside and out, I made for my brother and some memories.  And we found a turtle that same day so added that picture for color, content and date, along with a journaling card about the interactions with the turtle before we let him go back into the wild.

11-25-13  PL page wounded child turtle

This colors of this page balanced well together and with the other side of the album (which is not shown).  Journaling, personal pictures, handmade greeting card, and SoulCollage all combined into Project Life.

August 6, 2009

The Hestia Spiral

Filed under: healing,Hestia,hospice,memoir — by thalia @ 4:54 am
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Hestia has spiraled throughout my life

                First, having a mother who was a model Hestia

                there to listen to us when we came home from school every day

                there to cook and bake for everyday and for holidays

                there to sew my dance costumes and make peach jelly

                there, always there for us, my siblings and myself and my father.


My life spiraled on to marriage and children and Hestia was there

                She was part of me as I created a home using little money

                She was there as I cooked creatively fixing hamburger 89 ways

                She manifested as I sewed clothing and quilts and made crafts

                all because there was no money to do otherwise

                But in the process it all created a close, warm, loving family 


Even when we lived in a tent for 3 months Hestia was a part of my life

                As she displayed that same warm loving atmosphere camping

                in a 12 x 12 tent – 2 kids, husband and wife, German Shepherd

                All centered around the glowing fire in the evening

                telling stories and roasting marshmallows


We built a house – literally built it – putting in plumbing and electricity,

                wall boards and kitchen cabinets, bathtubs and toilets,

                painting and sanding, building a fireplace, climbing scaffolding carrying

                cement blocks up so my husband could erect the chimney

                All creating an environment of love and coziness as we gathered

                 around the fireplace and enjoyed the food feasts

                 even as we became vegetarians and I baked all my own bread,

                 it was all done with love

                as I listened to my children as they came home from school

                canned tomatoes and black raspberry jelly, froze green beans and corn

                 all from our garden and stored like money in the bank


Children grow and leave – and we decide to move and become self-sufficient

                growing more of our food, cutting all of our wood for the woodstove

                Sitting close to the woodstove since it was our only source of heat

                Digging through rock and clay in the Arkansas Ozarks to create gardens

                with overflowing abundance until the grasshoppers ate much

                Outhouse until well and running water available, shovel and woods before

Perhaps a bit too much Hestia


Divorce leads to a soulmate, a house with Bermuda grass to chop back, 

                to turn into a garden and now tomatoes, peppers, herbs and flowers

                needing to work to afford the house

               so it seems Hestia has gone for a bit

                even though I still cook but don’t bake all my bread,

                eat tofu and gluten but don’t make them anymore


But then I realize that my work in hospice

                   allows others to be Hestia and stay at home while we help

                   support their loved ones process – at home

                   Everyone wants to be at home

                  whether they are enjoying life and need a refuge

                 or are dying and want to be amongst familiar surroundings

                 with their loved ones and pets, where their comfort has been created.


So I not only have Hestia spiraling in my life,

                through listening, and supportive caring

                but my work allows others to have that same refuge

                and provides support to others so they can have the healing haven

As we all need Hestia in a world gone difficult and crazy.

December 27, 2008

A Christmas Tree Transformtion

Filed under: memoir,SoulCollage — by thalia @ 9:02 am
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One much-loved tradition I grew up with centered on the Christmas tree.  If it snowed, my father would pull me into town on the sled or we would drive.  We’d pick out the tree, load it on the sled or the top of the car, and return.  It would remain outside until Christmas Eve afternoon when Dad would haul the tree into the living room, get it prepared in its holder and tie it up in place so exuberant kids wouldn’t inadvertently topple it.

I remember looking at the tree every year and wondering why it had looked so much better outside, when it was purchased, and how it was so scrawny nothing would improve it.  Years later I could totally relate to Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree program, relating to both Charlie and Lucy’s viewpoints.  I was always disappointed as I marched up the stairs to bed after my younger siblings all had gone to bed.  The presents we had gotten one another were in small piles in the living room, waiting for Santa to come, fully decorate the tree, and bring presents to augment our meager piles.  He would have the cookies and milk we left for him and be gone to do the same for everyone else all over the world.

And every year, as I came down the dark  stairs by 6 am, I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the fully light-covered tree with each strand of silver tinsel put on separately.  Even knowing my parents spent most of the night decorating the tree and gathering, wrapping and putting together presents did not take away from the beauty and wonder of seeing the tree that morning.  It was always an incredible transformation-never taken for granted.  I still entwine little lights in a hanging philodendron to be savored all year long.


 Gifts were opened Christmas morning, followed by breakfast, and then church.  Relatives arrived in the afternoon and we all enjoyed lots of food.  Didn’t everyone celebrate Christmas that way?

I married a man whose tradition put up the tree (and maybe even a fake one) the week before Christmas.  They opened presents and went to church Christmas Eve.  They slept in a bit on Christmas Day, then visited and ate again.

It took some “conflict resolution” to come to terms on how to “do” Christmas.  As it turned out we spent our first Christmas in Panama, which was totally different from either of our traditions.  We later worked out a pattern that satisfied both of us and became the pattern for our children.

April 18, 2008

Questions for the Doctor

Filed under: memoir,Pythian Games — by thalia @ 3:04 pm
Tags: , ,


Let’s see now.  What else should I ask?  Where’s that list?  Oh, yes, so far I’ve got:


  • Is it really cancer?  That word, cancer, sounds so unreal.  Mom and Dad had cancer so I guess it’s possible or probable that I would also.  Should that be the first question?  Well, it IS the first question. How can it not be?


  • How big is the tumor?  I didn’t even feel it or know it was there.  How can it have been growing inside me and I not know it?  Just like Mom’s brain tumors growing big and no one knowing they were there.


  • What, exactly, is adeno… adenocarcinoma of the uterus?  What a lovely sounding word, yet isn’t lovely to have.  ah-den-oh-car-sin-oh-mah    Just rolls off the tongue.  Could even be the name of a character in a story.  Adeno Carsin Oma was the grandmother (yes, the Oma) of five delightful grandchildren.  Oma loved to hold them when they were babies, but now they are growing up and don’t want to be held as much as to have stories told to them, particularly of the time when…


·        Could it be benign?  Or must it be malignant?  What will I tell everyone?  And coming too close after Sis’s operation for a benign but dangerously placed tumor near her pituitary gland.  I’m glad I had a chance to be with her during her recovery last month, but how will everyone deal with me having cancer right now?


  • How long have I had it?  Growing inside, like my fingernails grow, like my cells grow, like all the life processes go on inside without my awareness.  A part of me wants to just get it out quickly, yet… really… it is just doing what is its nature to do.  Grow, survive, reproduce, grow more.  Just like us humans as we take over the earth thinking we are the important ones…free to kill animals and destroy forests and oceans…Who has the right to be here? Or maybe we all have the right to be here in this world of  duality.  Maybe we are all struggling souls.


  • What is the treatment?  Treatment?  Is treatment necessary?  What exactly are we treating?  Something that will continue to grow and take over my body and all its processes.  Something that is doing what it is designed to do at the expense of the “me” I know.  So many other aspects of my body have changed over the years, is this the final change?  Or can it be altered?  What is the right thing to do?  I sure don’t know what is best for me spiritually.  What is “Thy Will”?  What is best for my spiritual self?  What lessons are yet to be learned?  From what choice?  What is “Thy Will”? 


  • Surgery?  Initial difficult shock for the body then 6 weeks of rest at home, then a long scar downmby belly.  If they can get it all, that’s the end of it.  No cancer and no more uterus. And after all my uterus has done for me – what a shame.  This seems to be the course for now and then we’ll see.  Six weeks of rest sounds good – a chance to meditate and mull and relax at home where I love to be, looking out at the garden and the clouds drifting by and the birds twittering and the butterflies and bees  as they enjoy the flowers.  


  • Chemo?  Radiation?  We’ll wait and see about these possibilities until after the surgery is completed and the biopsy results are back.


  • How long a recovery?  Is there ever a full recovery?  Perhaps physically, but how about emotionally?  I would think that experience stays with you forever, particularly if it becomes part of your personal growth.  And I would hope that something of this nature becomes an aware-part of personal growth.  What is the point of it all if not?  Part of the process of having us ready to move out of this world when it is our time.  Dying to live – living to die.  The only choice can be “Thy Will be Done!”


I guess that’s all the questions I can think of now.  I’m sure that others will come to mind as I listen to the doctor’s replies.  But I had better not misplace this list.  They say that you have just a few minutes of the doctor’s attention, so I want to have the essential questions ready–the important medical questions the doctor will think are relevant.  The rest is up to me and “Thy Will.”   


(see also http://pythiangames.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/questions-for-the-doctor/#comments)


April 9, 2008

The Beach

Filed under: appreciation,healing,memoir — by thalia @ 1:57 pm
Tags: ,


The Beach


            I created a microcosm of the beach because of my love of the ocean shore macrocosm.  I lined the bottom of a 4-by-4 by 2-inch clear plastic lidded-box with sea-blue velvet material.  In one back corner, I placed a small blue ocean-scented candle to prop up a large sand dollar discovered on a San Diego beach when my son was married there at sunset in 1996, complete with musical ocean waves and a seabird choir.

            A few pieces of coral, jagged edges smoothed from my touch since acquired in Panama in 1961, reside near the long-pointed shell added two years ago from a California beach.  A smooth black rock with narrow white lines from Tintagel on England’s Atlantic shore, a small purple and white rock from the Arabian Sea beach at Bombay, India, a maroon rock from an English Channel beach, shells from the Atlantic Jones Beach, New York where I grew up, and a tiny shell from the Gulf Coast Florida beach all flow together to form my microcosm of where the ocean and the beaches of the world mingle. 

A tiny carved purple-stone turtle basks on a shell, representing turtles befriended over the years, from painted Red-Ear Sliders of childhood to recent box turtles.  Two small seahorses nestle among the treasures, reminding me of the three-inch dried seahorse found at Jones Beach when I was engaged in 1960, and of visiting the San Diego Aquarium with my infant granddaughter in 2004.

            Sprinkled over all is sand collected from many beaches.  The grains of sand flow together, just as all of my memories and experiences of beaches flow together in a collage of love: each distinct yet part of the whole.

            Two crystals from Arkansas remind me of the beauty which comes from beneath the earth, far from any beaches now.  That even here, when life feels confined to an office in Arkansas, far from any beach, I can lift the lid, inhale the scent of ocean, salt and sand; my imagination provide a magic carpet ride to the beach. 

                  – published in Story Circle Journal –



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