Decks and Crafty Jigging Things

Gee, I haven’t done an update since May 5th. I’m still going through a non-chatty phase, but here are some things I’m doing.

I was interested in the Anima Mundi Tarot but in the end however, I decided that my days of buying expensive self-published decks is over. I did do up a digital jigsaw of the deck on my iPad of the deck for fun and interest. It really is a beautiful deck.


The last deck I bought was the Game of Thrones Tarot as it has such neat artwork, but I didn’t have a clue who the characters were, so we rented the first two episodes of series one from the library. I was glad that I familiarized myself with the characters, but the show was not for us.


In my continuing use of the Tarot Tracker book, I have decided that I like to use an oracle in the morning as a daily card, and a tarot deck in the evening for reflection. This week I am using the Tree Magick deck with the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot in the evening. I have been pulling out some old favourites every week or two and enjoying them using this Tracker.


As well, on a small space on a bookshelf in my bedroom, I pull out display cards that have meaning for me. One week I found a good card from the Blue Dog Rose Tarot deck that I enjoyed, and I also found a small pyrite sphere that looked neat so I bought it for this display. It looks like a strange asteroid, come to talk with the Buddha about space and time. The black display easel is waiting for a ceramic tile I ordered from Italy. 


I bought myself two brass seals, a spoon and tea light for melting wax, and some flexible sealing wax to use on pen pal letters, and I have really enjoyed learning how to do that. This seal has a tree on it, and the other one I bought has my initial and some flowers. This technique is much easier to do with a pouring spoon, so I’m glad I bought the kit. What a joy to try new things.


A couple of days ago I painted some small koi fish on stationery and an envelope to send to someone who created her own koi pond last summer. This was fun to do although the linen finish laid paper does not take layers of watercolour. It does do well with my new Platinum Preppy pen and the waterproof Platinum Carbon fountain pen ink though. I bought a box of this linen finish paper at Staples and it’s wonderful to write on it with fountain pens.


Lately I have not been interested in buying decks. Too many are merely pretty things with little substance, and several are woman-centred which starts to get unrealistic after a while. There are two genders in the world, I feel it much better to acknowledge each other and learn to live together rather than pretending the other doesn’t exist. I do understand how violence and abuse can turn you against the Other, but I try to alleviate that in other ways than pretending men don’t exist. They DO exist, I am married to one and I have a brother, and many of them are excellent people, good humans and ethical. 

So, I have turned to jigsaw puzzles instead of decks for artwork and meditative joy. I have long used digital programs for jigsaws, but in this house I have a long sewing table where there is actually room to set up a jigsaw. Here is a shot of my current one, a lovely reproduction of a New Yorker magazine cover, published by the New York Puzzle Company. I bought this in a thrift store for $5 and wanted to do it up to check that none of the pieces were missing. 


Among all this joy, the spouse repainted our living room a nice grey/blue and I dusted and cleaned my china cabinet in the dining room. These are all the new puzzles I bought, plus four that I bought five years ago, and one is of playing cards, you can’t beat that. One of Shakespeare too, whee.


That should keep me reflecting on patience and colour for a few months. The ones in the small boxes cost 50 cents to $1.25. They are cheaper and have thin pieces, but the images are lovely. I’ve already done four puzzles up and I’m working on the fifth. Something tells me Christmas might have some interesting new puzzles to bring. Alas, the same can’t be said for new decks. 


Finally, I don’t know why, but I signed up for a little swap to exchange a mug rug with someone. I had no idea what a mug rug was, but after viewing some online eye candy I made mine and mailed it off yesterday. After owning the new Janome sewing machine for 15 months, I finally tried using it for machine quilting this little mat and it worked fine. The mug I used for the photo is one I bought for 50 cents in a thrift store that is now one of my favourites. I used lavender and purple with a splash of blue and green for this because our lavender and California lilac bloomed in the garden while I was making this, and I wanted to reflect that. There was such a beautiful scent from those plants.


That’s the update for recent doings and deck talk. Have a great summer!





Decks, Database, and Updates

I’m in the studio today sewing on some quilt blocks for a baby quilt. I got the area all cleaned and dusted and organized some other sewing projects. It’s warm enough that it’s nice to putter away in the studio, which is simply floor space behind the chesterfield and TV in the family room, but it’s a fancy studio to me at least.


I thought I’d better get my last deck loaded in my database, so I entered the Oracle of Mystical Moments and the program needed to be upgraded to the 64-bit version because Apple is not going to be supporting 32-bit programs much longer. So then I thought I’d better do a back-up and was shocked to see I hadn’t backed up the hard drive since November 2017. I did that and then remembered that I hadn’t entered the Deviant Moon Tarot in the database either, so I did that and updated my written lists of decks, and then found the tally didn’t jive with the database. I don’t think I’ve missed anything so I’m not sure. 

What I did know was that I didn’t want to be bogged down in finding out because I need to sew while I have daylight, so enough of all this!

Here are my two favourite cards from the Oracle of Mystical Moments.


Being an introvert, I have always considered myself an Observer, but the other card is so much like me, up in the sky daydreaming; I am a Stratos-dweller at heart.

And here are these beauties from my visual for the database.


I don’t often find I need new decks these days but the collaged artwork in this is stunning, a mix of modern surreal and Victorian or Renaissance style. My kind of thing.

The next deck I’m waiting for is one Bev from the By the Sycamore Tree blog notified me of: The John Bauer Tarot that is due in September 2018. I love these old-timey illustrators and he was Swedish working in the early 20th century, so that reminds me of Carl Larsson, another favourite artist of mine. 

And speaking of Bev, I did a nice digital jigsaw puzzle of her Elements of Recovery deck recently. I forgot to get a screen shot off my tablet, where I was doing it in the new app I got for that  called Jigsaw Puzzle Epic by Kristanix. I still prefer the Jigsaw Galore program on the desktop Mac but I still like to do the odd one on the tablet with card photos, so that’s my other card-related update.

I wrote to U.S. Games because after taking the cards and booklet out of the Deviant Moon Tarot tuckbox, I cannot fit the cards and booklet back. They just won’t all go in. This is crazy stuff, having to store the booklet outside the box. They either need to stop using tuckboxes or allow an extra 3/16th of an inch to get things back. Can you imagine after using and shuffling the deck for a time (whereupon it expands), how impossible storage in this crazy box will be? I am so ticked off after spending all that money, not to be able to get the bloody stuff back in the box.

Off to Studio Jude, computer be gone!




The Tarot Tracker

I decided to buy the Deviant Moon Tarot and the large book that Patrick published to go with it. I am very impressed with this book and also impressed that Patrick started thinking about some of these characters in his early teens and still has some of his drawings and paintings from that time. It’s all quite fascinating, and it has made the deck about fifty times more enjoyable for me. The book was expensive but since I’m going to study the whole deck it was worth it to me.


I also bought the Tarot Tracker by Angelo Nasios and it has proved invaluable. I haven’t felt much like blogging or talking so every day I have been pulling a daily morning and an evening reflection card and using this journal. I found that my Lamy Safari fountain pen and Waterman Serenity Blue ink work very well in this journal and there is no ghosting or bleed through, so the pages stay clean and readable. It’s always a bonus when you can use your fountain pens in journals.

Yesterday I had fun with the Knight of Badgers from the Badgers Forest Tarot, and I got a kick out of echoing the imagery in the card. This journal is another great buy and I recommend it. Throw in a few Schleich animal figures while you’re at it, they do augment a reading nicely.


So, while thinking about the Deviant Moon and wondering how I could work through the books and cards, I decided to resurrect a project from eleven years ago. On a forum a group of people were supposed to do a visual journal in response to a particular card deck. I got all enthused and created a set of five hardcover accordion books filled with Canson Mi-Teintes paper and proceeded to work through the cards, also using calligraphy with a dip pen and gold ink. I was having a great time but the other people didn’t really get going on it. I find that sometimes on groups, there is much talk of “Oh yeah, let’s do this, squee!” and everybody yaks away and nothing is done. I eventually left and carried on myself, and then stopped. I traded the deck as the author was having snits and going on the rampage generally and I wanted to distance myself from that.


After we moved, I placed this set of books on the bookshelf in my bedroom, so I see them frequently, and felt bad that the project never came to fruition. So I am going to use them for a Deviant Moon study. The first book for the Majors has 22 pages and the remaining four books for each suit have 14 pages each plus endpapers. I’ve bought some Golden High Flow iridescent gold paint to use in my old Speedball calligraphy pen, and I’ve bought 17 tubes of Holbein Acryla Gouache to use on this paper. I find it hard to use coloured pencil any more due to arm pain, so I thought the matte finish on this acrylic gouache would work well and still be flexible for opening and closing the small pages, plus it would be easier on my arm.


Apart from that I have been chipping away on weight loss and the vegan eating plan. I was getting tired of bean chili and bean curry so I’ve been trying new recipes and buying cookbooks. I ordered a spiralizer in an effort to cut down on pasta and use vegetables as noodles, and I’ve set up and tried my new Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and it is interesting, I made a delicious stew in it with brown basmati rice and lentils that lasted four days. Yesterday I made a vegan cream “cheese” and pimento hummus that it quite good for sandwiches or as a spread for raw veggies.

I weigh in weekly but it’s slow, I am hampered by pain issues so I just try to move as much as I can and eat properly. So far I’ve lost 12 pounds and I think because of the proper nourishment I am getting with vegan eating, I don’t get hungry and I don’t get cravings. I get discouraged by pain, that’s mainly what gets a grip on my mind, but eating a bag of chips is not going to help that, right?


Determination and Dots in a Journal



The card is from my trimmed Tarot of Fire, which I am loving since I trimmed it! These men from India are walking on hot coals, and the booklet talks about faith and courage reinforcing the psyche.

It became apparent to me this week that I was going to have to change or I’d end up with a heart attack, stroke, chronic pancreatitis or in a bed with my legs amputated, or worse. In thinking about this, I realized that the last time I lost a significant amount of weight seven or eight years ago, I had used a food diary. It was a digital program and kept track of nutritional information, calories, and weight. I liked it, but when I went to get a similar program I found that everything had changed, mostly there are online records or apps, and I really don’t want to be chained to a computer entering meals and tracking what amount of water I drink etc.

I like to journal and use my fountain pens so I thought a food diary where I could do little pictures and quotes and poems would suit me. I had heard of a bullet journal three years ago but thought since I’m retired “What would I ever use that for?” but in looking at it again I think it might be ideal for my purpose in regaining my health. I couldn’t get hold of a Leuchtturm 1917 right now, so I ordered a Rhodia Webnotebook with a dot grid and it just came today. The paper is a creamy colour, so I’ll have to test pens and markers to see what shows up best.

When I pulled this card I thought of walking through hot coals and nothing being easy, but courage and determination go a long way toward moving you in the direction you want to go. I like the way he is holding a banner, as if to say “This is who we are and this is what we’re going to do.”



New Decks, and an Old One, Refreshed

I find myself with six decks that I haven’t entered in the database yet. I entered Steve’s Spirit Within Tarot and then got bogged down with Christmas. The spouse gave me the Earth Magic Oracle for Christmas, and a wonderful friend sent me the Sol Invictus Tarot which I’ve wanted since it was published. One of my favourites, Socrates, is on the Queen of Swords in this deck, therein called the Nurturer of Swords. What a great title and that is my personal card so really delighted me. I am still reading through the writing in the Minors but when I’m done I’ll be using it. The other three I’ve talked about or used but I need to focus and get some scans done and the decks entered in the database.


I also ordered the Earthbound Oracle which I’ve had on my wish list, so when it comes I’ll be entering that too in the database.

I bought myself a chrysocolla sphere for Christmas. I wanted one in a shop about 16 years ago and didn’t have the money so I saw one in December and took a chance. I’ve been doing a small painting of it in my sketch book. I just need to add some calligraphy and drop shadows to it, and I did another layer on it after this picture was taken. I spent two weeks painting up colour mixing charts for my 24-palette Winsor & Newton colours and my 17-palette Daniel Smith watercolours, so that’s another reason I was away from the blog, I really needed these charts done up so I can use them when I’m painting.


I was given the Tarot of Fire deck several years ago and used it here on the blog, but it had really distracting orange borders. Recently, I took the plunge and trimmed them off and then ordered a new corner cutter. I think it is computer-generated art, but there are some very beautiful images and it is packed with world mythology and so interesting. Before I cut the borders off I typed up a trimmed sheet to fold in the box that contained descriptions of each card so that even without the numbers and titles I would be able to tell which card was what. I think it looks gorgeous trimmed.



Since I got my iPad, I’ve been able to watch videos again, and I’ve been enjoying some of the many tarot-related videos at YouTube. I so rarely get a chance to talk about my decks as I like to do, so seeing other people talk about decks is the next best thing!

My arm is a bit sore because I’ve been drawing and sewing. Unfortunately I can’t do everything so have to pick and choose what to devote my energy to. Still, I’m finding a good balance between disciplines and projects. I want to use that Tarot of Fire on the blog since it’s all trimmed up and ready to go, so I’ll do that for a bit in the coming days.



New Year with Mr. Bright

Steve Bright had a great 2-card draw for the New Year so I decided to try it.


Ace of Swords – Normally this is a great card for me, and it does represent good ideas and the power of thought and mental energy. I finished my hand-embroidered nightgown and my tree mural in the front hall and the rest of the year I felt dragged under by hopelessness, caught up in physical pain and depression. Part of that might have been because my Dad died, but still.

Instead of reaching for creativity I bogged down in painful, unhappy thoughts, my sword focused on whining words of defeat. I didn’t believe in myself, I let all that inspiration fizzle out, I didn’t carry through. What a horrible year it was.

The Chariot – Set out, guide my life, no one else will do it for me. This card of success and momentum carries me along. “The being is the doing” as James Ricklef says, describing how in the Being, we accomplish what we need. I like the focus and balance of the skateboarder in this. He’s racing along, unstoppable, yet enjoying the whole experience. It’s not a daydream of success that moves us along, it’s the small moments and acts, experiencing life and joy.



The Spirit Within Crystals and Colour

Finally, my two Crystal Portraits decks arrived yesterday. Worth the wait, I thought I’d do a small colour exercise with the Spirit Within Tarot and some of the new crystal cards. Because I can. Because it’s Saturday and I just finished a playing card jigsaw even though my arm hurts, and so I can fiddle with my cards.

There is nothing better than a rummage through cards.



Actually I do find Howlite relevant here because of the anguish of the person in the background of the Five of Swords, and Howlite’s properties for helping people with PTSD. It calms haunting energies and anxiety. Due to an attack that happened to me when I was 18, I do have PTSD, which flared up after a horrible incident at the job I had before I retired for good. Nightmares and other things. Both Hematite and Howlite refer to being patient, to calming temper.

You are where you are, this is what you’ve got, but nothing is wrong, it’s just the way you think about it. Did I lose the battle or did I simply find a way to be tranquil? I like the thought of art with Hematite because red ochre comes from it, and that was used for cave painting. Even in the Hermitage as I call it, or the cave, I can be creative and enjoy life.

I can also enjoy starting a digital jigsaw from the montage I made yesterday of The Arthur Rackham Oracle. Arthur knows about art.


Ain’t so bad Rock here in the quietude of the Hermitage.