Jigsaws in Card Paradise

We’ve had a busy week with contractors and banks and my insomnia kicked in. Three to five hours of sleep leaves me dragging around, so this week I got into the digital jigsaw program Jigsaws Galore, which was a Windows program that is now available for the Mac. I find it soothing and I can load in my own pictures to make puzzles. I used some of my own card images or montages and a couple from the Internet and just had fun.

This is the Soulflower Plant Spirit Oracle by Lisa Estabrook which I don’t have but might one day purchase. I love botanical decks in particular, but I was disappointed with a few decks I bought this year so I like to think carefully about buying any new decks.


Then I had to scan in and enter my copy of the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot in my database, so I decided to use my samples of the cards and card back as a jigsaw.


Then I took an old image of bower birds that I used on this blog comparing the Animal Totem Tarot and the Linestrider Tarot cards that feature bower birds. That Linestrider card has lots of white which was challenging to piece together. I think I did about 480 pieces for this. With this bigger screen I can do more pieces than I could on a small 15-inch laptop.


I found a nice image of the Ancient Italian Tarot online and did a jigsaw of that, but I didn’t take a screen shot.

While doing these I opened up iTunes and listened to some of my collections of music. Jigsaws are compelling, so naturally Cassandra Wilson’s rendition of the old standard You Go To My Head was perfect.

As I contemplated buying decks and playing cards, Brad Mehldau’s Hungry Ghost song played on as well as Paul McCartney’s song Appreciate.

That Soulflower card deck sure is pretty though….


The Capybara Who Wanted To Sing



These two capybaras were fond of jazz and had a brilliant idea for adapting the song The Happy Wanderer as a jazz tune and contacting Brad Mehldau to play the piano background for them while they sang their duet. It would have been good, these two were really in tune, but the chap in the water found his friend dead one day on the shore.

It wasn’t the loss of the music, although that hurt deeply, it was the loss of his friend, his companion, the one friend who understood his ideas and augmented them, the only Other whom he could sing with.

He thought he would never sing again, never feel that special creativity rising from within, but as he slipped in the water and felt its coolness slip around him, smoothing his fur and washing his grief, he realized that he could find opportunity again, he could feel where he would go even amid the grief. He knew Brad would understand and they would create the most beautiful rendition of the song that had ever been heard, and maybe Kurt Elling would sing the vocal with him.

He laughed and waved to a bird in the sky, as he caused ripples in the water with his movement.


I love to go a-wandering,
Along the mountain track,
And as I go, I love to sing,
My knapsack on my back.

My knapsack on my back.

I love to wander by the stream
That dances in the sun,
So joyously it calls to me,
“Come! Join my happy song!”

I wave my hat to all I meet,
And they wave back to me,
And blackbirds call so loud and sweet
From ev’ry green wood tree.

High overhead, the skylarks wing,
They never rest at home
But just like me, they love to sing,
As o’er the world we roam.

Oh, may I go a-wandering
Until the day I die!
Oh, may I always laugh and sing,
Beneath God’s clear blue sky!

Ruminating on Three Pentacles

We had our 40th anniversary, and during the week as part of the celebration, we went to an art gallery where artists had booths and were available to talk to people. Hey, schmoozing about art supplies—I’m on it!

I was speaking to one artist and interested in her technique as I hadn’t seen it before. Then we started chatting about various techniques and I mentioned making things and she said something like “We seem like we have a lot in common” and she asked me for coffee. She asked me for coffee, then she asked me to go walking with her dog and then proceeded to tell me about taking a picture of another woman and her dog and reporting them, and then asked where I lived and wanted to call and on and on. Her husband sat behind her, an unsmiling, glowering, taciturn lump of wood on a chair. Bad ju-ju from both of them.

I recently extricated myself from a friend whom I call The Crazy Cat Lady. After 29 years of her phoning and phoning me and telling me for hours about her cats and all the personal problems that she had or each individual in her family had, and more about cats, and more moaning, and rarely remembering anything I told her about me, I moved across the country and left her behind. Her voice was a bitter parody of friendship, literally the bitterness in her voice increased over the years, palpably, overwhelmingly. She refused to talk to me for a year once when I didn’t drive for two hours to come to her 40th birthday party because I was working that day. I had sent a gift I had made myself and decorated a special box for it, so she could open it at the party, but nothing I did was ever enough.

I simply can’t do it any more. Yes, I have compassion and am interested in people, but why be trapped again by a person like this? I don’t want this cycle back in my life. One woman I knew referred to folk like this as “emotional vampires.” Unlike me, she was canny about people; I thought she was cruel, until I experienced such vampires myself. Direct experience and observation is valuable.

It’s very draining, and the people refuse to change or help themselves, you’re on a wheel of negativity and bitch and blame and cringe when the phone rings. People need time to sort things out, I certainly do, so I wait and try to help but with such people, they continually have an excuse and are very dismissive of you. They suck your time and joy away. The last time she called I told my husband I felt like killing myself after her typical two-hour assault. For a year I didn’t answer the phone when she called and called, and I do not in any way want to repeat the experience with another person.

So, in order to sort this out in my mind I pulled a single card. I could have done a reading but I wanted a single pinpoint of illumination on this thing that has been worrying me. I felt guilty.



Speaking of art! This is like the Master of Art card in my mind.

There is mention here of goals and dreams and meeting people along the way who can assist you. Take advantage of what is offered. Attaining goals is a team effort. The lone daydreamer is not a good stance apparently.

One of the things I like about the Internet is being inspired by others. As well at this gallery, I met a group who meet once per week to make and share art. They were thinking I could show them some bookbinding things or talk about art journals. I thought that might be good, but then I ran into this other woman who frightened me with pushing herself into my life, a complete stranger who in ten minutes was taking over my life. I cannot describe the vibe I got from her other than to say my warning bells went off, and I could feel myself physically backing away from her.

Like everything else in life there is a balance to relationships. At this time, I don’t want to be part of a team, do not want to call attention to myself. I’ve got safeguards in place, and what of it? I have resources and people I talk to but I am quite happy eating leaves on the savannah by myself, and occasionally bumping into someone to share a meal with. Psychologists like us to believe that there is something wrong with introverted loners who don’t aspire to working in groups. Nonsense.

Giraffe likes a bit of a ramble by himself. Good on you fellow, you get the tender, sweetest leaves that way, and can contemplate mixing ultramarine and cerulean to paint the sky.



While Awake Amid the In-between



The noble Elk has come to tell me of in-between energy, the time when you feel restless but nothing is happening or you have to wait for things to happen. The best thing to do is practice “as if” and carry on through your particular limbo. You have to be ready for time to shift and the right time to move along to come.

Funny about this, I was talking to someone about my next sketching project but I said I had to finish the eight images I was supposed to do last year. So I think this is referring to that. Fake it ‘til you make it. I don’t feel like going back and doing these but I want to because I can’t start the new project until I complete this one.

Yes definitely this is what this is about, I must get on but first I must keep doing these other ones and the new growth spurt will occur.

I made some progress yesterday on my “studio” so I think when this is done I will also be ready for my new Sketch 52 project. It looks an awful mess still, but I have that one box on the right to empty and fold and organize and then it’s basically a regular old tiddy-tidy and vacuum. Then I can sit at my drafting board again. Whee!!


Meanwhile I’ve got “Chickasaw” and “Periscope” to do. I have known for months what I’m drawing but just couldn’t make myself do it. Now I have an incentive AND I’ll be able to use the new watercolours and watercolour pencils I bought last November.

Elk says things are moving, shifting, the breakthrough is coming!



Too Many Daydreams



I guess I’ve been told! I got an idea for both a very neat embroidery project and a polymer clay piece to put on a journal cover. I haven’t even unpacked my craft supplies yet.

I’m a bit worried about my fabric, it seems to be somewhat musty after the move and staying packed for six months. I washed some bits to use in the embroidery project yesterday, and they are still a bit musty. Hopefully the steam iron will help, but I have a lot of fabric so it’s disheartening.

Well, I must get these things unpacked and airing out as best I can. The illusions of daydreams grabbed me but I have to get down to practical things. These projects will be fantastic at a later time, but not now. I need to keep my focus on unpacking the last little bits of stuff.



Rescue in a Painted Room

The spouse is doing a great job getting our den ready for painting and putting a coat of primer on the doors. We bought good Benjamin Moore paint so don’t expect any surprises.

I had a week of “If I see another government document or form I’m going to scream” reaction and I found myself in tears and sleepless panic all week.

While putting some things away I came across the bottle of Rescue Remedy that I bought for my pets while we were travelling across the country. I only used it once on them, but I took a dose for two nights running, and I’ll take another tonight. It seems to be helping, whether as a placebo or proper homeopathic, I really don’t care.



Ah, I nearly bought the Schleich swan figure once but I’m running out of room. We have seen a swan down by a land spit here, swimming in the ocean very jauntily. I felt amazed that a white swan was swimming in the sea, as I think of them as freshwater birds, but as long as they spend most of their time in freshwater and drinking freshwater, I guess an outing on the sea won’t hurt them. I haven’t seen it for a while so it might have been resting a few days before passing inland toward a lake.

The amazing swan: aren’t they something we take for granted, like an icon or symbol that is just there? I see so many bald eagles here, so what was once mythical is every day, but still they are magnificent, something that turns the head, the majesty of nature.

This is one of the reasons I’m fond of animal decks—the fresh eye of art can make something iconic leap out and become more real.

Today was a day to come together, putter in the home and get things done and go to the library. I donated yet another large book that I lugged across the country needlessly, but perhaps the book was resting here before passing inland?

The Great Mantid Imperative

While discussing The Hermit card in the Animal Totem Tarot on May 13th, I was moaning that I wasn’t able to find a suitable mantis figure. Someone heard my plea, and an amazing occurrence happened yesterday when I received a large plastic mantis figure all the way from Hawaii in the mail. Obviously someone recognized the absolute NEED for something like this.


Yes, he’s heading for the dining room to check out those cat figurines in the new cabinet.

Today, Mr. Mantis and I decided to explore card decks in my collection that feature mantids. Rare is the artist who recognizes the need to feature one of these insects in a deck, but there are artists hip to the vibe, fortunately for our examination. UPDATE: I discovered that Paulina Cassidy is working on her new deck the Spiritsong Tarot, and it will have a mantis as The Hanged Man as well as other animals on each card.


Wow, six of them turned up for the party. The little green guy in the Osho Zen is sitting on the man’s hand, but if you look closely you can see his triangular head turning sideways as they discuss the outrageous prices of Meissen porcelain. Yeah, that would get anyone talking.


So ends our exploration for today.

There seems to be an essential need for a piece of artwork featuring a mantis with a cat figurine, have you noticed this?