My Secret Labryinth

Berkley Hills

Berkley Hills

Its believed labyrinths were invented by the Greek’s to hold the Minotaur. Now a days labyrinths are used for meditation and reflection. I found my hidden labyrinth in the volcanic hills near Berkley California.


Life is hard for anyone. Sometimes you may struggle with decisions that you have made or no matter how hard you have worked life gives you irony that is hard to swallow. That is why this labyrinth was so important to me. It cleared my mind and got my in touch with moving on.


My labyrinth was hidden down a rocky steep path decorated with Buddhist prayer flags.  I was alone and isolated. As the sunset I entered my labyrinth.  You enter the labyrinth with the goal to reach the center.  As you slowly walk the maze you clear your mind.

You have faith the path will lead you to the center but at times it bends and curves. You end up getting further away from the center doubting your path is on the right direction and thinking you have made a mistake, just like in life.

The center (the goal) is always insight.

The center (the goal) is always insight.

Just as you begin doubting what path you are on the trail brings you back towards the center of the labyrinth restoring your faith in the goal and the decisions you have made.

Finally I reach the center, content that I finally made it! In the center people have shared important things, left notes of deep reflection. Most importantly they left their fears behind and their goals in the center.

The center

The center

It’s important to remember that life is like the labyrinth.  Sometimes we may not understand where the path in life is leading us but it is important to have faith that the path will always be part of our journey, leading us back to the center.

Categories: adventure, art, labryinth, life, meditation, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday

Another one of my husbands birthday slipped by with me absent. I’m thankful I have someone in my life who can understand the chaotic life style I guess we signed up for.

So I decided to make a Birthday Cake card that I saw on Pinterest in his honor.  Link is here

Yes you can even mail these!

Yes you can even mail these!

First you need to get a sponge. I found a carwash sponge at Home Depot.  I had a really hard time slicing the sponge in half using a serrated knife (we don’t have sharp knifes here).  I wet the sponge and froze it to get a better cut and used a regular knife.  I also cut one end of the rounded sponge so the cake could stand up on it’s own.  I learned this from trial and error and had to go back and re-spray paint after everything was done.  Skill level was high on that.

Cut the sponge

Note: The upper sponge was cut with the serrated knife and left it lumpy. No bueno

Then use an exacto knife to cut a small strip of the sponge out so you can put the frosting in it.

Making room for frosting :)

Making room for frosting 🙂

Is the fact I have a tiny bit of nail polish on my thumb driving you crazy yet?  Yeah it’s been this way for 2 weeks now. Yes, I don’t want to splurge and spend the 99 cents at Walgreen’s to buy nail polish remover.  Any ways here comes my next favorite step.  SPRAY PAINT!!

I usually end up spraying painting my hand 8 out of 10 times

I usually end up spraying painting my hand 8 out of 10 times

I then used card stock and traced my sponge on it cutting it out.  I used spray adhesive 3M  77 and adhered the card to the back side of the sponge. I bought colored brown caulk from the store ( I used acrylic latex caulk FYI) and applied it directly to the sponge using a caulk gun as a piping tool.

hmm chocolate

Yummy poisnous chocolate icing

I didn’t take a picture but apply the caulk the same way to the top and side.  Then using a toothpick or a small paint brush swirl the caulk to make the caulk resemble icing. I also used it to smooth out the icing in the middle.

Painted the icing on.

Paint the icing on.

Let dry for a few hours and walla!  The website I stole this from actually sent these out in the mail, and they were sucessfully delivered.

Yum Yum

Yum Yum

Now for a quick Pilot gripe. FACT: pilots love complaining

Hindsight is always 20/20.   I became a pilot because I loved flying, wanted to succeed as a female (women power), and see the world.  But it has all come at a  huge cost.

Missed tons of  family and friends wedding. I’m not there as a spouse when I need to be. I’ve spent every major holiday alone on the road for the last 10 years. Did I mention becoming a mother and having a dog in this job is nearly impossible.  All for what???

The moral to the story is don’t let your loved ones become a pilot.  This wasn’t what I thought it would be.

Happy Birthday babe!  I’m sorry I missed yet another day.

Categories: address stamp, art, birthday cake, craft, crashpad, diy, flying, food, memphis, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Merry x-mas, you get my crappy homemade present

I’ve been really sweating finances lately.  My husband and I both took a 60 percent pay cut last year to move on with our career trajectory in hope that things will be better for us 5-8 years from now.

Yeah, that last sentence  shouldn’t make any sense to you unless you’re a pilot.  It’s part of the 50 dumb things you have to put up with in our career field.

In any case we’ve been burning through cash fast and I’m sure you all have had that moment where everything breaks at once.  That’s where I am right now.  A few months ago my 5-year-old A/C broke and $1700 later it was fixed, I paid about $1800 to interview for my “dream job”, and last week I had the pleasure of spending $2000 in less than 6 days to pay incidental expense associated with my new job.  Needless to say I’m out of cash and basically just spent 3.5 months of future wages.

So thank God Christmas is less than a month away, not!

I remember coming home when I was younger with ugly homemade Christmas ornaments that my parents graciously said were wonderful to save face.  You know what I mean. Those ugly pipe cleaner ornaments you made in kindergarten and the stupid traced hands decorated as a Christmas tree.

Guilty, we’ve all made these and your parents lied to you and said they were wonderful

Well with that in mind I’m hoping that my lovely family and friends will lie to me and save face when the receive these ornaments as gifts this year.

I purchased plastic ornaments from Michaels for $1.40 (Black Friday sale) and then gathered toys from my local Party Store to create my winter wonderland diorama ornaments.

I first started by cutting a hole in my plastic ornament to make a window.

I didn’t cut myself doing this!

I then spray painted a white paint inside and out to make a quick base layer so the acrylic paint would adhere better.  You can see that I chose to hold it with my fingers while I spray painted to receive a dual purpose manicure.

French tip manicure, please!

I then painted with acrylic paint and a sponge brush inside and out. I did about 2-3 layers to get the right transparency.

This was the 3rd layer of paint

I used a clear modge podge to give it a shiny transparency over it. All though I’m sure you could spray paint a clear spray finish for the lazy ones.

As those ornaments were drying I embarked on a winter snow globe type of ornament.  This was kind of a pain in the butt.  I had to use chopsticks and a meat thermometer to position the animal on the subfloor with a glue gun.

Here’s a few of the finished ones.

The island of misfit toy lineup

Well I have some of the presents complete. Now I got to think of the supplemental gem to go along with these.

Categories: art, christmas, craft, homemade presents, poor, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

If you paint it, they will come.

I finally painted my mask!

I was torn after I papermached my creation that the Raccoon was starting to look like a wolf.  I decided that if I painted it to  look like the Raccoon that it would eventually look like one.  Indeed the plan worked.  I struggled with how to secure this to my face, and to be honest it’s pretty hard to breath, BUT I did it.  Not bad for my first attempt at a big mask like this.

Ladies and Gentleman I present my creepy mask Ms. Raccoon!

Finished Mask

Mrs Raccoon…It looked better in a dress or suit but you get the picture

Categories: animal, art, costume, halloween, mask, papermache, papier-mache, raccoon, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A new crashpad called home

All though I still keep a crashpad in Philadelphia recently my schedule at work has allowed me to sit back In Charlotte at my house!  However this new move hasn’t stopped my from my chaos of crafting.  I started doing linoleum block prints, making different types of cheese’s, Halloween mask,and  jewelry making.

Linoleum blocking

Chances are that I’m not going to be able to attend any Halloween celebrations because of my work schedule however that hasn’t stopped me from making my Halloween costumes.

Back in the good old days before everything was manufactured and Halloween costumes didn’t involve slutty vampires and slutty carebear’s people had to make their own!  I’ve always loved making and constructing my own Halloween costumes, because of the nostalgia and creativity involved. Below is an example of a creepy paper mache masked used in the early 1930’s.

Antique Mask

I’m not sure if you had the pleasure of watching Wicker Man with Nicholas Cage (it was horrible) but my favorite scene was at the end during a cult procession celebrating nature and about to kill Nicholas Cage as an offering.  Everyone proceeded to a field wearing animal mask. They were wildly creepy and I loved them!

Scene from the movie “Wicker Man”

I decided to make my own creepy animal mask, made out of papier-mache.  I have no idea how to do this but here I go.  I first cut out a face structure on paperstock and used floral wire on the back to support the form.

making the structure

I then used newspaper and paper masking tape to construct a structure.

Building the structure on the paper stock

Now time to make the papier-mache paste.  I’m old school and like the flour and water mix.  Try to go for a pancake batter texture but this isn’t rocket science so do whatever you want.  Just remember that the gluten in the flour is what holds everything together so don’t make the paste too thin.

Simple ingredients

I set everything out on a plastic garbage bag to catch the goop.  I forgot to take off my wedding ring…ooops.  I only put one layer of papier-mache on at a time. I didn’t want the weight of the paste to crush the fragile structure that I had made.

After round one of papermache. I put a bowl under the mask to hopefully give it a more rounded face structure. It was pretty flat when i started off.

Stay tuned for the final post of the finished project!

Categories: animal, art, costume, craft, crashpad, halloween, linoleum block, mask, papermache, papier-mache, Uncategorized, wicker man | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eyes wide shut

If I had to pick a movie title for my photogenic self it would be the creepy movie “Eyes Wide Shut.”

Eyes Wide Shut  has  Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in it. They both spend a good portion of the movie naked wearing creepy mask.  There is so much nudity in the film that I can’t even post a picture on here without being marked as a porn.

All right that is a bad photo shop.. I tried to take a black and white photo and make it color. But you get the point, right. I always have my eye closed!

Almost every picture that I take has my eyes shut. I blame this on some kind of genetic mutation that my parents passed on to me. It’s a trying task to take a family photo and get everyone to open their eyes.

A few examples

The other day I had it.  I went to Independence Hall to hear them commemorate the Declaration of Independence and had another wonderful photo-op ruined.

Eyes are closed

I had a eureka moment where I would Photoshop eyes on me to salvage the photo!

I first googled the word “eyes” to find a pair that I liked.

Cut and paste

You then must reduce opacity to line up the eyes where mine should have been.

A little freaky, I know

Your best bet is to then select hue/saturation to blend the eyes with the face. I also use the erase function to clean up a little better.

Believe me it looks better further away!

I Introduce to you the finished project…..

Eyes wide open!

And for further comparison the before and after…. A little possessed looking, but I am wearing someone else’s eyes!


Categories: art, eyes, eyes wide shut, genetic defect, photoshop, tom cruise | Leave a comment

Someone trusted me with an exacto knife

I am fascinated by maps!   There is an awesome map store in Meyers Park Charlotte ironically named “The Map Shop”.  You queen city folks probably have driven past this store and never stopped.  However, I suggest that you make a trip to the store!  I guarantee that you will spend a good 30 minutes looking at all the amazing maps that they have.

1500 E. Morehead St, Charlotte NC

The other day I found a posting on  for some hand cut maps of a few major cities.  They were beautiful, however they were $1200!!!

A Washington DC map

I figured I had nothing to do at the crashpad so I invested in an exacto knife from the local Staples store and a legal pad of paper to cut my map on. I found a few maps via Google and had the nice lady at the copy center assisted me in doing a reverse blow up on a legal sized paper.

** It’s important to print the map backwards FYI**

Maps, maps, and more maps

I ended up using the SEPTA map (the local city bus map) because it seemed the easiest to locate streets on.

This ain’t so bad!

Things starting getting hard so more then a few Philly streets got accidentally cut.  Not a 100% accurate map, but freaking close enough.  As an added bonus when you cut the street blocks you get free confetti!

My $5 map of Philadelphia

This was a great thing to do while it has been in the 100’s outside and humid.  All I have to do is make a trip to the craft store and find a frame  and mat board and I’ll be ready to rock!

Categories: art, city, craft, crashpad, globe, maps, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pole Dancing- in midsummer

Today was super busy. I ran 8.5 miles with the Philadelphia running group around boathouse row and the Schulylkill river (still don’t know how to pronounce that).


Boathouse Row along that river I can’t pronounce

Then I  made a blunder and scheduled crossfit 30 minutes after the run.  We did something called rack walks where we hoist heavy kettle balls up and walked 1/2 mile with it.  I thought that this exercise was going to be a cake walk.  I found out after walking 100 feet that I had severely underestimated the rack walk.  It took me 13 minutes 6 seconds to walk 1/2 mile, yikes!  I got all crazy and had to keep talking to myself out loud so I wouldn’t give up.

Example of the Rack walk..kettle balls are deceptive and really heavy. This guy has 53lbs (24kg) a side.

After the “fun” crossfit session I went home to prepare for the main event, The Swedish Historical Society of Philadelphia’s Midsummer Festival.  This old Pagan tradition celebrates the Summer Solsitice every year in hopes of a good crops and fertile ground.  Traditionally Swedish people adorns wreaths of fresh cut flowers around their head and dance around a maypole.  I could have put a better effort in and made a fresh wreath but I went with a felt flower kit that I got as a craft project.

Fresh flowers and vines adorning the May pole.

Cut felt petals plus a little string

The finished products glued on with buttons

I then found out when I got to the festival that you could purchase a wreath of fresh cut flowers. Oh well! Think of all the money I can spend on Swedish food now.

Wreath table

I purchased something called a Smorgastrata for dinner.  The nice Swedish lady explained that basically it was a sandwich cake.  Swedes make it for party’s because it fast, easy to serve, and good!

No Swedish meatballs here

This smorgastrata had salmon pate with shrimp and egg salad layered in with white bread. I am totally going to have figure out how to make these.


I looked up a recipe online,  for a Smorgastrata sandwich cake, WOW!


The celebration ended with music, singing Swedish folk songs and dancing around the May Pole.


I love the cute old man I danced next to. Never too old to celebrate the Solstice!

Cute little girl dancing with her father

What a great way to say hello to the summer!

Categories: adventure, art, Boathouse row, city, craft, Crossfit, flower wreath, food, May pole, music, philadelphia, smorgastrata, Swedish, Uncategorized | Tags: | 2 Comments

I’ll have a Burgmuller

I caught wind of an art installation scattered around University area of Philadelphia.  They gave 8 artist a blank canvas, a piano, to do what that wanted with.  The pianos are left in the parks and streets for passerby’s to play and become part of the art project.


A little Heart and Soul

I was kind of excited to hunt down these piano’s and play a song at each location. How often do you get to play the piano in a park?!?!   I chose  Burgmuller to represent my Heart & Soul.  Burg-who?

When I was in high school I stumbled upon an old piano book from a composer I wasn’t familiar with.  My mother said that it was her piano book from when she was younger.  Her piano teacher had escaped from Poland during WWII and this was the book that he taught from.

I instantly fell in love with Burgmuller!  To play his songs correctly you have to play with exact technique and a lot of emotion.   I figured that this composer would represent the theme of the art installation best.  You have to play your Heart & Soul into all of his pieces to be successful.  I chose the “Ballade” because it is fun and I don’t need to practice this one. You can hear the piece I chose at this link –  Here is the Ballade

I quickly pulled up a piece of sheet music online and went to go print it out to play from….hmmm FAIL no ink in the printer ?!?! So I got to work hand copying the notes.

Am I going to be able to read this?

My first Piano was done by the artist Thom Lessner.  When I showed up to the park two other girls where there.  They too were trying to find all the piano’s and play their chose of music, “Let it be” by the Beatles.

They are pulling up sheet music on the phones

This was the last day of the Art Installation.  So as you can see this piano saw a lot of action.  I’m sure the kids had a fun time with this one!

This piano was supposed to be a car

The next stop was a piano #2 made by Melissa Maddonni Haims.  She chose to knit her piano.

Another group of people jamming away!

Piano #3 was made by Kali Yuga Zoo Brigade.  It wins for the hardest piano to play at, however very creative. It was like the piano exploded around the seat

This even came with instruction on how to sit in this

Piano #4 was made by a graphic design artist group called “The Heads of State”

I’m not sure about this one

Piano #5 was kind of hard to find but I’m glad I kept hunting. It was by far my favorite design, plus the acoustics in that place rocked. The artist was Joe Boruchow who has wonderful pieces around the city of Philadelphia. See his blog and some of his artwork here.

Done by a stencil artist of course!

Piano #6 I stumbled upon. I ran into some other people who told me they never found this one.  This one was done by Justin Duerr, whom I assume is gay (there’s lace involved).  I received my first applause for an encore here!

This one was my second favorite!

This girl need some Botox and better sheet music

Piano #7 was done by Terry Adkins.  This piano was pretty hard to play because he painted all the keys black.  I guess mentally, as a pianist I need to see the black and white keys to find myself on the piano.

All black keys= hard

It was like the piano was blinking

Piano #8 was in a beautiful area called Drexel Park. It was a fitting location and pretty piano for my last one (artist was Thom Lessner). When I showed up a family was playing the piano and enjoying the day.

This picture exemplifies the purpose of this art project.

I was kind of proud of myself today!  I had set out last-minute to play Burgmuller with a crappy hand drawn sheet music with little expectation.  I ended up seeing  parts of Philadelphia that I fell in love with on a perfect day (73 degrees partly cloudy).  I met and heard different people play their Heart & Soul and I didn’t manage to get one parking ticket!  So I think this was a success!

Categories: adventure, art, burgmuller, city, craft, heart & soul, music, philadelphia, piano, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Global proportions

I have always had a love for globes and maps. When I was younger I use to spin the globe downstairs in my grandmother’s house and imagine all the wonderful places that I could visit.   Last month I found a globe for $5 at a garage sale.  It was all mine, I even fought some Asian guy for it.  He had snagged the violin that I wanted so I didn’t feel too bad.

So for the last two years I’ve been drooling over these globes from ImagineNation.  The price tag of $350-$450 dollars/globe  is insane.  Apparently she sales a lot of them, so maybe I should get into the globe art business. I know that I can do something similar.

Bon Voyage for $450

World Peace for $450

Well enter my globe that I got at the garage sale.  Unfortunately when I got it home I realized that my globe was kind of faded.  And perhaps doing the global art above on a faded globe wasn’t the  best idea.

The garage sale score… A little faded 😦

So I went to Plan B… the classic chalkboard globe.   A trip to Michaels,  which by the way there aren’t many craft stores in Philadelphia.  I grew up in Utah and your are obligated by city code to have three Mormon church’s and one craft store in ever neighborhood!  Any ways where was I… a trip to Michael’s later and a lot of shelf searching I finally found some chalk paint.

Almost complete

I was impressed that I had painted the globe so well with my sponge brush that I really thought about leaving the globe this way with the water painted black.  After much soul searching I pressed on, you only live once, and continued to desecrate the globe with more green chalk paint.

Finished product

I’ve seen a lot of chalkboard paint globes in my life time.  However this happens to be the best (in my opinion) one I have seen. I just need to go to the store find some chalk ,so I can write something cheeky like “you are here” on it.

Quick update on the rug/carpet:

Item #1   Carpet came up clean without the land lady seeing it. Phew

Item #2    She hate’s the rug that I painted… Hates not even a good word.  I believe that she dry heaved in her mouth when she saw it.   Okay, so chevron painted rugs aren’t for everyone, but come on!  We are in a crashpad with couches so old that they are covered in sheets.  There is not one picture hanging up.  I think it makes the place less institutionalized and depressing. Did I mention that she was really really mad?



What do you guys think?

Categories: art, chalk paint, city, craft, crashpad, globe, philadelphia, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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