Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hana thread review.

Hana Thread
Hi there!

So there is a new beading thread out there, Hana thread, for us beadweavers, and people are
searching for reviews. I answered to a question in a group on Facebook about it and thought that you might like to learn more about it too.
Here is what I think about it after using it in two projects.
(Note that I am not sponsored by one brand or another.)

To me, Hana thread seems to be nearly the same as KO thread and I love KO.
KO seems to have a (very little) bit more wax on it than Hana, but this seems to vary according to the batches. I like the little bit more wax when it is there.

Both threads are nice for bead weaving and bead embroidery. 
Both threads aren't too slippery and have the same resistance to abrasion. It is not like Fireline, it can fray, in particular when frog-stitching. When you frog stitch, better cut it and use a new thread.
KO thread
Tangling / untangling / unwelcome knots: can happen, are not a big issue, and seem to be the same for both threads. (It is probable that I am the main factor for this rather than the thread).
Even if it seems to be a twisted thread, to me Hana seems to be flat like KO. 
Hana stretches less than KO, but still can be stretched a little bit. (But because I always "unstretch" my thread before beading, the result is that there is little bit more thread in 50' KO than in 50' Hana.)
I was amazed how easily one can thread a needle onto Hana thread. Record breaking fast. If you struggle with threading, Hana is the thread for you.
Hana colors are really very bright, strong, which doesn't suit all projects.

The Hana bobbin has a great edge to block the thread in (fantastic) but is a bit too big to my taste... Mini bobbins like Nymo would be more practical to take with the beads in a little tin or bead buddy. Big bobbins only take up more space in the tool box.
I haven't been obliged to untwist my thread with needle more with one thread than the other.

I will use both brands with pleasure.

Happy Beading!

Cath

FYI: KO has recently added more colors, including a very welcome-in-my-stash-light-green, seen that I still make petals for the petal to pod project).

New KO colors

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stitch story

Do you know Geneviève Liebaert?

If you know chenille stitch, then you should know her, because she is the
Chenille ropes
designer who invented this lovely technique. But I don't think that many of you do know her.


The 'Chenille spiral', which is the original name of this creation, is
a lovely design and the variations suggested by Geneviève in her little tutorial, recommending the use of other seed bead sizes and/or types, consequently are her designs. The frontier between technique and design are a bit unclear sometimes. And techniques can normally not be copyrighted - they can be protected if the process is really very complicated, with specific step-by-step intstructions... Where the level of complication lies or how many steps are necessary to make a technique eligible to be protected is a mystery...

Back in the days where 2 huge francophone fora were counting more than a thousand beaders connected every evening, sharing their tips, patterns and designs with fellow beaders for free, Geneviève was one of the best, most talented designers, admired under the name Sereine. She wrote her tutorials for all to use for free, but asked for credit and a little "thank you" on her blog. It was all for the love of beading. Free doesn't mean that there is no copyright. She didn't want her work to be used by shops to sell beads, but of course shops benefited massively from her inventiveness and patterns, because the number of seed bead weavers increased drastically during these days of beadevolution. However, not only did Sereine's work get used without credit or thanks, but some, when asked, pretended that the design was theirs, and some even sold her patterns in their shops. After many hopeless attempts to "educate" them a bit, Sereine stopped beading. That day, we lost a treasure of a designer in the battle of good against evil.

She took her tutorials away from her blog, but left them on the forum "Ile aux Perles". Sadly, that website got destroyed several years ago in a mega cyber attack on the American servers where it was hosted. Because there was no backup, years of knowledge and designs had gone in an instant.

Sereine's website and blog still exist, but are not updated anymore. There are very little tutorials written by her still visible on the Internet, and if it wasn't for those who saved a pattern and re-hosted it, like the one linked to above, there would be no trace of her work.

Chenille stitch, however, became very popular, and this thanks to Sara Spoltore, who mentions that she thought of it herself, but she credits Sereine (aka Geneviève), as the first inventor of it, which is class. But now, when people make a Chenille rope, it is the one who posted the latest video gone viral who is thanked...  Below is Sara's video.


For those who wonder, Chenille means caterpillar in French, but it is the result of a brilliant Belgian beady brain. If another beader had invented this rope in another corner of the world, this rope would probably not have kept the name it had initially been given, so somehow, there is a bit of legacy.

Beadwork made with
Albion Stitch
For that is what happens with techniques. They one day are invented by brilliant persons, become popular, and in the end the persons who developed it are forgotten... It lasts only as long as the names of the inventors are mentioned.

If the stitch isn't given the name of the inventor(s), only the name of the technique will be remembered, like peyote stitch, which is the name of the stitch created by Native Americans to create beautiful adornments for their celebrations involving the use of a cactus of the same name.

"Ndebele stitch" which is still used for herringbone stitch, reminds of the tribe where the stitch was invented initially, but this tends to be forgotten.

Beadwork made with
Hubble stitch
The origins of Right Angle Weave are forgotten. It seems to be attributed to
Africa, but I am inclined to think that it is originating from Asia, somewhere in China, seen that there are extremely old beadwoven soldier's coats made with bamboo beads in musea there, made with this stitch.

Zulu stitch and Pondo stitch still have the name of their native tribes in Africa. St. Petersburg stitch is clearly mentioning that it's origin is Russian.

For how long will people remember that Hubble stitch was created and
developed by Melanie de Miguel? That Albion stitch was invented by Heather Kingsley Heath? That Gerlinde Lenz created and developed "Rautenstich" (Diamond Weave)? Will people remember them as English, or European, or German? If I am not mistaking, Albion is an old name for the Island of England, so that might well help finding back its origin in the future... and only the future will tell. It is my wish that many will remember their names.

Beadwork made with Diamond Weave

And that is why I wanted to write this post: to honor all inventors of beading techniques which bring us so much creative joy, and to say

THANK YOU!

for your gift to planet bead.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Etsy Bead Weavers (EBW) Spring Swap 2016

I participated in the Spring Swap organized by the Etsy Beadweavers Team, which I'm part of. A swap is something fun and exciting at the same time. One has to make (bead) something for another participant, according to guidelines transmitted by EBW leader Jacquie Champion, who lives in Canada. Swaps are exciting. Beading for another beader without knowing her personally is quite an adventure and expecting a little package from another mystery beader adds even more fun. It was just wonderful to open the little box I received from Erica Sándor. She made a lovely brooch in bronze and pink for me. I love it.

Keeping everything secret during more than 2 months waiting for all the participants to receive their swap was the hardest part for me. It is always difficult to wait to show something we feel proud of.

My "swapee" is the lovely Meg Thomson who lives in Australia. Exactly on the other side of the globe for me - right under my feet. I love how we are connected with friends all over the world thanks to the Internet. Meet Meg and see the beautiful beadwork she makes and sells in her Etsy shop, ABeadedWorld.

Meg said that she likes Victorian and Edwardian jewelry, but... she added that she didn't like chokers... That was challenging, because I love to make chokers, and during these two eras, chokers were legion.

I wanted to make something special and beautiful Meg would love to wear and perhaps even cherish, so I did a bit of research to find out what kind of longer necklaces were fashionable back then. It appeared that besides the simple long pearl strands and fine sautoirs, jewelled tassels were a rage under Edward VII, so I decided to make a tassel for her. But not just any tassel: I included a little perfume bottle; and to 'cathify' the necklace, I used my butterfly rope design. I had great fun. The little bottle was in my stash since a while, waiting to be used in a special design - this was the right occasion!

Edwardian jewelry is often composed of pearls, in combination with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and other expensive, A+ grade gemstones. I had a hank of lovely sapphire blue faceted crystal beads and matte gold Superduo beads. These two were begging to be associated with something pearlescent, so I chose Preciosa Ornella pearl seed beads.

I started by embellishing the little bottle, which ended up looking like an Edwardian corset. This feminine aspect is enhanced by the lacy, skirt-like tassel.

Seeing the very small cork, I was a bit puzzled. It was not attached or glued to the bottle, and could be lost. To hold it in place and make sure that it would not come off of the flask too easily, I attached a - centered - fringe to it with two strands on the side, and these two strands pass through the double connections of the neck cord, so even if Meg has to run for some reason and the cork comes off, she won't loose it.

In the end, the resulting design looks more Gregorian, or French Louis XIV to me. That made me a bit nervous, but Meg said that she really loves it, so I am happy - and also relieved that this "Philtre Phial" has safely arrived.

Wait a second - I nearly forgot to say that I made it using herringbone (with a bit of Diamond Weave 'hints' to take it further), and MRAW and a little netting.


Take some time to visit our Etsy Beadweavers Team Blog to see all the beautiful pieces made by the participants in this swap, everything is worth seeing, and/or read the impressions of participants on Erika's blog.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bead & Jewellery & more

Unfolding chestnut tree leaves
Spring is extremely lovely here, warm and sunny. It is wonderful to see the trees put on robes of flowers and unfold their leaves. Have you ever looked at a chestnut tree when it opens its leaves? It looks as if all the leaves are folded up and when the weather allows, they unfold like a fan. Fascinating!

The blackbirds sing their courtship songs every morning and every evening and it seems to me that it is more beautiful every year.

It's been a long time since I wrote something here. I was waiting for something special to share with you. What I have to share with you is very special! Look at this:

Interview in Bead & Jewelry!!

I've been interviewed by US-editor Brita Moore from Bead & Jewellery Magazine a couple of months ago, and she wrote not less than a 3-page article about me as a person, a beader, an artist. I am so pleased! It is in issue #70 which has just been added to their website!

DW cascading squares
In collaboration with editor Katie Dean, I also wrote in the "Tips & Tricks" column, as a guest editor, to introduce Diamond Weave to you, including a lovely earring project. The main subject of the magazine was "Something old, something new" and even though this does not necessarily apply to the Tips & Tricks article, I kept it in mind. This pair of shoulder dusters are made with the new 2mm firepolished beads and with old findings I took from a pair of earrings which belonged to my mother. I didn't like the dangles attached to them, but now I'm very happy with the result, and glad to have something to wear that was hers before.

I hope that you will enjoy playing with this introduction to Diamond Weave. It is only basic stitch, which is only a very tiny bit of what the book Diamond Weave has to offer. You can buy the book from major Amazon stores in Northern America and Europe, or directly from the press. If you want to place a group order, you can contact me for a discount, via my Etsy shop or on the DW Facebook page.

Talking about Etsy: they changed many things to our shops and asked me to "relook" it. I had to upload a huge photo for the first page. I don't know if you like it. I also had to choose a logo. I had a logo which is now up there, and I think hat it doesn't look bad. What do you think about it?

"Grace"
I wrote not many tutorials the past months. One using two-whole triangle Kheops beads with Herringbone stitch, the Klapukin bracelet; one for the simple square earrings held by the action figure of my beloved Doctor Who, an introduction to basic Diamond weave; one for the bracelet "Grace", which combines basic Diamond weave and Variation no. 5.

Klapukin
I like how this makes me think of "Chanel #5". The various stitches in the book (so many!) are nearly all building upon the previous ones, and so they are in a logical order. It also allows easier communication between friends who have the book.

I hope to write more tutorials soon, but for now, I am taking a little bit time for myself, to bead 'just to bead', and have quality time with my husband, take care of my birds and home, because tuttifying is a lot of work, and the past 2 years have been nearly exclusively dedicated to the book. I have projects and bits and pieces of beadwork that I left aside, which I would like to finish. Knowing myself, I will probably tutify projects even if I have all these others things on my bucket list...

And of course, there is the "From Petal to Pod" group, counting already more than 600 members! Who knows where that is going to take us!

Diamond Weave
is COOL

So much to do. So much to learn. So much fun and love to share. 
Life is great!

Happy beading!

Cath

Saturday, January 2, 2016

From Petal to Pod

Happy New Year! May 2016 be healthy and bring you lots of joy!!! 

I have a project to start the new year with, and I hope that you will participate in it.

A sampler made by my mother
First a little flash back.
My mom had learned beading very well from her friend Berthy Bijlard, but all I can remember was how to make my own kidney earwires with wire and pliers. And cross-stitching. That, I have never forgotten. I was 14 when I learned this from Berthy. She was an Art Therapist. In fact, I don't know how they called her profession back then, but what I remember is that she had a huge art class in a clinic, where patients could learn painting, knitting, sewing, beading, cross stitching, etc.

A necklace crocheted by my mother
approx 25 years ago, thanks to
Berthy's instructions.
I loved to be at Berthy's home. It was fun and peaceful. Her daughter Lisette and I were best friends and often spent our holidays together. I am grateful beyond words that she welcomed me so often, and for having lit the spark of creativity in me. It has made me a happier person.

I stopped x-stitching when seed beads entered my life, when I saw  Diane Dennis's exquisite Firemountain Gems and Beads 2004 Grand Prize-winning jewelry set. In fact, I loved her beautiful work so much that it made me wish to be able to bead "like that", and so peyote stitch became my first love with seed beads (and pearls).
"Roma"

There weren't many tutorials and beading instructions available, but with a bit of research, I could find the needed instructions published by generous beaders, and with a lot of trial and error I learned the basic off-loom stitches and started exploring my "own inner voice". This is how my Jewelry Set "Roma" (also called "Peeking Pearls") was born, and thanks to this design I had the incredible honor to be the winner of the Grand Prize of the Firemountain Gems and Beads contest myself in 2006.

With peyote stitch, seed beads fall into place very naturally and the beadwork can be zipped easily. I prefer shapes with an even number of increases (or peaks or wings), because they can be folded, like a square, which becomes a triangle bail when folded, or a hexagon, which becomes a trapeze, or a multi-wing morphing into a puffy flower when zipped. These are all shapes which were and still are explored and taken further by masters and beginners, worldwide, in particular within the framework of Kate McKinnon's "Contemporary Geometric Beadwork" project.

a little petal
While playing with peyote to make geometric shapes, I thought “why 3 or more peaks and not just 2? So I tried. And there it was, a little petal that cupped a little bit. It is very modest at first sight, and one could be tempted to think that it is just another little leaf, but I think that it has great potential.

The past years, I worked on many different things but this petal always came back on my beading mat and each time I promised myself to take it further 'when time allows'. I think that now is the right time.

Petals like this hold their shape well, and can adopt various positions when cupped in or out, or both. In addition, thanks to the little dented edges, one petal can be part of a group of petals, zipped together, leading to endless design possibilities. I made several patterns using petals. When the other day I added a partial Elegant Guide Round to the petals of a large flower, I understood that I would never be able to explore all the possibilities in a lifetime, even if I had two other me. So I took example on  Kate and decided to make this petal exploration an open source project. I don't know exactly where it will take me. Maybe I will write a book with instructions for the best designs arising from it.

The video below shows a few things I made with petals. I am not a very good film-maker and apologize for the quality. I seem to never keep my hands in the frame of the image so I had to cut pieces and bits of 3 videos and assemble them in one.



Do you want to download the instructions for the petals and learn more? Join the  Facebook 'Petal to Pod' group, a place to share our Petal design ideas. It is my wish that it becomes a community of friendly enthusiasts playing with these petals to create new, playful designs, may it be single petal, two-petal or many petal designs, Flowers, buds, pods, pistils, in layers or abstract forms; short, long, wide or thin, cupping heavily or only slightly... whatever your beady brain comes up with. Ask questions, share your designs, trials and errors. Errors are very welcome, they often teach us much more than successes. It is entirely free.

And through this, I hope to light sparks of creativity in you!

Happy Beading,

Cath

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Diamond Weave - DW - is here!

Diamond Weave front cover
I have not enough words to express my excitement! The book Diamond Weave is now available on Amazon, worldwide. It is printed by CreateSpace, which means that when you order it from Amazon, it will be printed just for you, in your country, or nearby, which means that it doesn't need to travel far over the oceans to reach you. You can find the links to the various Amazon stores below.

What you are buying?

I could answer: two years of my life. And many more of Gerlinde's, who developed the weave and all the stitches on her own since approximately 10 years and who continues to develop them. She has found a new stitch in the meantime.
I could also mention the number of photos and illustrations made... but you are probably more interested in what this book will bring you. Well, brace yourself: You are going to be blown away.

When I tried this stitch for the first time, I was happy that I was sitting on a chair. My first reaction was "Why would I start the beadwork in such an odd manner..." but then........ oh my gaaaaaaawd!!! That was the first of a long list of oooohs and aaaaahs. Of course, I wouldn't have taken so much time out of my own life, sitting in front of a computer, if it hadn't been so.


Diamond Weave back cover
First of all: This is a book with plenty of very clear illustrations. And it is crammed with knowledge.
 There is not just one stitch, but many stitches, and even more in potential. Diamond Weave is so incredibly versatile, you won't believe it unless you see it: You will not only discover Basic DW and the variations built upon it which result in beautiful woven fabrics including various hexagon weaves, 3 different octagon weaves and 2 Chinese coin motif weaves, but also instructions how to get the best out of them with seed beads, resulting in beautiful patterns and awesome textured beadwoven fabrics.

In addition, there are instructions on how to tailor the beaded fabric with  increases and decreases, tapering or sculpting, at the edge or in the middle of the weave.

You will find a flurry of hints, tips and design options which can result in a thousand different pieces of jewelry. The projects are there only to walk you through one of the countless possibilities.

You will never bead the same.


We could have made 3 or 4 books. One about the basic stitch, one for the variations, one for the seed beads, one for the increases and decreases (which are the basis for Dimensional DW). But we prefer to give it to you all in one and watch you fly with it. This is the Table of Contents:



 
Gerlinde says that this book is a miracle of friendship and it sure is. But it is even more. It is a victory. A victory over my fibromyalgy and on my light intolerance. I haven't felt this accomplished and proud in a very, very long time.

Basic Diamond Weave

Available from:





Happy Beading!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

I need 2 other me

The last months, I didn't write anything here. I thought that I would write one post per month, but couldn't find time/energy/material to write something. Not that life is boring. I'm just too busy with the book Diamond Weave. The thing I regretted not blogging about was my Etsy shop's B-day, but the special sale had a great success. I'd like to say that I am deeply grateful that there are so many of you out there liking what I create, and even taking time to tell me that you do. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I wish that I had 2 other me. I'd bead, my second me would work, my 3rd me would be with husbest taking a holiday. But even with that math, there are so many beautiful beads, so many designs crossing my head, so many lovely things I would like to make, I don't have enough of a life to do it all. This is why I like to put things out to the world and see what others come up with.

Today I am happy to share something new with you. But first an update about the book about Diamond Weave.

Seduction, necklace and collar
with the crystals on the outside
Everything is in place. 200 delightful pages of photos, illos, texts and graphs. We are nearly done with the corrections and more corrections and more corrections (it seems to have no end). I'm fortunate to have wonderful proofreaders who come up with great suggestions and encouragement. I'm deeply grateful.

The last steps are the hardest. I learned and re-learned a lot. For example: I have been doing and undoing a necklace a gazillion times just to find out that, as the French say "better is the ennemi of good". Read: you cannot always obtain the result you envisioned with this or that material in this or that design and forcing it won't solve the problem. Right. I hate that. I generally succeed in making what I envision, lol. In my latest neklace, 'Seduction', the embroidered part also reminded me to not overdo things. Read more about this necklace farther in this post. 


It's been a struggle translating my best knowledge in the clearest possible way to enable the future readers to make all the projects in the book. There is something for everyone. For all levels. My friend Darcy Rosner says that all the beaders will be beginners with this stitch. That sounds surreal. It means that everything I write, each word or expression about the weave and its variations will have double impact. It makes me feel responsible, and vulnerable too. In fact, publishing something, a photo of a creation, or a text, is somehow quite frightening. I rethink everything a million times and still doubt "couldn't I say this better" or "wouldn't there be a more accurate word for that". For example, with DW, cylinder beads wedge into one another, mutually stabilizing each other by ... imbrication? overlapping? capturing the corners? What's best? This has taken a lot of time and work from both Gerlinde and myself trying to find the best description, explanation, and simple and precise words. And then suddenly I rewrite whole pages because we found better. Dang. Writing in English is not natural for me as French or Dutch. It takes a lot of concentration and time. But it's nearly finished!


Klapukin
When I get tired from Diamond Weave and writing and illustrating, I bead something with a different stich. This is Klapukin, with a cab from Kinga Nichols, and kheops beads from Puca, and the idea for the setting from Klazine de Bas-Verdonschot. Klapukin sounds like the name of a game, which it actually is. Playing with beads. I hope to write a tutorial for this soon.

Complex Bail



I also made a complex, jeweled bail with dimensional peyote and would like to develop it further, make it easy enough to explain in a tutorial too. It initially was supposed to be a bezel for the pendant (from Nikia Angel's Etsy Shop) but it is the small size. If I had the big size, it would look more harmonious, I think, but... I would perhaps succeed in making the bezel and wouldn't have made this bail. It's a beautiful mistake. I hope to make more mistakes like that in the future.

It may sound silly, but playing with other stitches is an antidote these days. Not that DW is poison. Not at all. I love it, it is marvelous. You will love it too! The poison is when work, work and more work puts the fun in the shade. Kinga Nichols describes that very well in her blog post of a few days back.

I made my latest necklace when I needed a break. It is a nice beady adventure. A combo of Diamond weave and Peyote, MRAW and bead embroidery.

DW embellished flask
Top of perfume bottle
It started as a gift to myself - a lovely little perfume bottle - and as a challenge to myself - the colors Custard, Tangerine and Marsala are not my comfort zone. I regret not having a photo of the 'nude' flask, its body is light topaz with lovely cream speckles, and the top is opaque in exactly the color of the brick red pearls I used. Now I adore the colors and also what I made. I thank Nancy Dale for sending this lovely flask made by Tan Grey to me. I embellished it with Diamond Weave in the Round.

Positioning of artwork



I also created a collar with 'collapsable' links to make a beaded curb chain. Something I hadn't seen before. I bought beautiful 25mm red magma Swarovski asymmetric flat back squares, matching perfectly the curve of the links with their 'wonky' aspect, and a huge pile of firepolished beads. I hesitated between using the crystal stones or beautiful artwork and suddenly though 'hey, use both - to protect the back of the crystals and for a reversible collar.

I made a short video to better show the MRAW links the collar is made with. I appologize for the quality, I am really not at ease in videos. Also, I thought that cable chain was the right word for this, but voilà, now I know better.




I had another hesitation. I loved both the perfume bottle alone and the curb chain alone... Here again, I decided to use both together, but freely. They still can be worn separately. Design-wise it was quite a challenge to put together the two parts; in short, I went through all stages of creation to find the best middle part offering balance and transition of color and use of beads. I'm very happy with the result.


Bottom part alone
I started the bead embroidery over and over. The griffin's and the dragon were more beautiful on their own than surrounded by beads so I finally ripped off the bead embrodery. The result is lighter, better balanced if worn without the collar.

The 'bezeling' method of the image is made as in Diane Hyde's book, Break the Rules. It is a very nifty way to embellish and frame an image. If you haven't tried it yet, you should. The fan-shaped brass blank is from Diane Hyde's shop. I printed and sealed the images myself. Plenty of images. It took some time to find the right subjects.
  
The closure was a real adventure. This collar needs to be hold firmly, otherwise it could unfold. An ordinary clasp would not have helped. I though of using a shunky magnetic bracelet clasp, but it would not have been reversible, and I would not have been able to add the second part of the piece.

Here you can see a photo of the open link I made using two Elegant Guide Rounds on the inside of the link, to pass memory wire through the extra beads. The memory wire forces the link to remain closed even when both the necklace and the collar are hung from it. The collar is kept well in place. It still is a bit prototypy. In fact, it was very difficult to make due to the angles in the wire. I would like to improve the concept but I don't have enough time now. As said, I need 2 other me.

Closure with both the collar and the necklace attached.
It can be used for the necklace alone too.
 
Closure in the make














I wish that I could go to Boston in October to meet with those of you who are going to the the seed bead summit organized by Kate McKinnon, to show you how gorgeous it looks when worn in real life. But, as you probably know, I have to stay away from lights, sun, neons  or spots... If you can go, do yourself the favor! I will be present in spirit.

See below the photo for the names of the masters and their work shown in the images.


Seduction, shown with the artwork on the outside.

Squares from left to right:
Frank B. Dicksee, The Mirror 1896
François Boucher, Jupiter in the Guise of Diana, and the Nymph Callisto, 1759
Leopold Schmutzler, Young Girl with Jug 1864–1941

Fan shaped image:
Dicksee, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, about 1890


Thank you for reading this far. Now I'm going back to work. :-)

Cath

Friday, February 13, 2015

To learn to train the mind to be still

I'm wondering if you also have a wandering mind, tentacular... thoughts popping up in your brain when you look at a film, or clicking on links to learn more about this and that subject and in the end, you don't even remember what you were looking for or how you got there? I tracked my 'brainy wanderings', one day, back in October 2014 I think.

You may like or not like reading my wanderings. If not, which I can sure understand, scroll down for the rest of this blogpost (search for a little *).

My wandering started when I listened to a beautiful mantra, sung in sanskrit. It is a beautiful melody, the kind you don't need to understand what's said to feel good. I added it here so you can listen while reading, if you want.



I was curious to learn more about the bottisatva of compassion Avalokiteshvara and Googled a bit. I found out that his appearance was graceful and feminine, and that 'he could adopt 4 different apparences among which the apparence of a woman'. A few centuries later he is a she. In China she is the Goddess of mercy and compassion Kuan Yin. She's often shown with many arms. The first sentence of Avalokiteshvara's mantra, "Om Mani Padme Um" is the most pronounced mantra worldwide and best known even by non-buddhitsts.

This deity fascinated me already, because I saw a beautiful statue on Etsy made by artist Rose Youngsam and wanted to know more about her and stumbled on a picture of this marvelous head, shot by Hubert Steed, and I fell for the soft and gentle lines of her beautiful heart-shaped face. I would like to make a pendant with such a lovely face one day. In China, there are immense statues built nowadays. I am wondering why humans want to build huge statues, huge buildings.

YouTube always shows suggestions at the right of my screen, one of them lead me to a Chinese film called Avalokiteshvara. I loved the costumes, photography... some of the 'magical' aspects a bit less, but overall, I liked it a lot. It's in Chinese, but you can see it in its entirety with English subtitles, from the start, that is, when a Japanese queen sends a monk to China to get a statue and bring it back to Japan. She is convinced that the statue will make peace return amongst the populations tearing each other apart. I immediately thought: "what makes you believe that you can go to a country, take a statue -sacred for the people there-, and bring it back to your own country?" but that question got actually dealt with, beautifully.

Clic to enlarge and maybe you will also
see the "dragon" with Hawai
forming its wings
"Formose", seems to have had more temples dedicated to Avalokiteshvara than to the local great goddess Mazu. 'Where was 'Formose' already?' asks my brain.  

Formose was an old, colonial name for Taiwan, and still is the name of a famous Oolong tea. I love Oolong tea, and also the name Formose. I don't know why. The map wich I thought would show me Formose shows lines in the Ocean which reminded me of a dragon. That made me curious of its topography. Checking the map below shows so very clearly where Africa and America where attached to one another millions of years ago that on the screen of my mind I could see the earth opening up in the middle of the Atlantic; lava pooring, widening the cracks, modifying the structure of our natural amazing spaceship. I could also see the crust collapsing in the center of the Pacific and the continents come closer on that part of the globe... This is just my imagination, helped by documentary films seen on TV. But it makes me think that one day there will be nothing left from our countries and borders. The earth will have a completely different face. Will humans still be there?

I hope that there will be vegetation and animals and wise humans by that time... 
In that order.

Topographic image of Terra courtesy Service Cartographie
And then, I wonder if we couldn't do better and stumbled upon Amara Tia Ann's blog quoting a 12-year old considered to be a "Crystal child" whose incredible insight brought me back to where I am, here in my chair, in the middle of the room in my flat, town, world I'm part of. Insane too, yes, trying to make my life meaningful according to human standards while it is already meaningful in itself for the Universe. Who knows what still has to come, who knows if I have already done 'my share'... My hope was to be on the 'right path' and I suddenly realize that there is no path, only life. 

Then, even if I wanted to stop my wanderings, I stumbled upon Tina Turner's albums made in collaboration with singers from other cultures, for the benefit of the organization "Beyond". I love their message. It really touched me and reminded me that we all are beautiful if we want to.

And I ended up makin my own musical Mandala. This is the result. I might come back to make other mandalas. It seems like they're not erased. 

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Voilà. This is just one of my busy brainy days and it could continue like this endlessly... But even though it was interesting to browse, play with music, learn more... it is NOT what I really want to do. A planned day dedicated to wandering, searching, browsing etc. might be cool, but not every day, not because my mind does what it wants instead of what I want. I realized that I needed to learn to be more in the present, to engage more with myself, to control my mind better, to get my time back for me. Because I don't want to waste time. In a world of so much information and funnies, I feel like I'm loosing myself.


More than one year ago, I subscribed for a series of 10 free guided medications  meditations online - they are guided by a man called Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace. I stopped medications due to irregular heartbeat and needed to find something to help me. These free short sessions made me feel much better and so I promised to myself to sell enough patterns to pay for a full registration and have access to everything on their website.



I finally could start their upgraded programme last month and I am thrilled. Not only is my brain clearer, less wandering, but I have more sense of humor, I see things more clearly, and, above all, have less and less mood shifts. Things still matter, but "I don't mind" so much anymore. I worry less. Exactly what I hoped. In fact, it works even better than what I expected. It has a positive impact on my relationship too. I'm more patient.

I recommend this to any person who would like to give meditation a try but got bored or discouraged. Visit their website. You might be surprised how simple it is. I think that they have the best approach and explain things so well that they really succeed to help anyone to become one's own friend and feel happy again.


Tomorrow will be Valentine's Day and because I love you, and am grateful that you read my post, and even more grateful for your support allowing me to do things like these guided meditations, you can have a 30% discount on all patterns listed. Only valid on Valentine's Day (February 14).

use code HEADSPACE30

Thank you for reading me! 
 
Cath