Jan 8, 2013

DZ Doodles First Post of 2013!

Hello Doodles Followers!
MULTI-TASK MORE EFFECTIVELY AND GET A BETTER LIFE BALANCE.

Welcome to my first post of 2013 and a very happy new year to you all. I hope you had a great holiday season and aren't struggling too much to get back into the routine of normal life. I for one woke up this morning with mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation because this year I have lots of ideas for things I want to do. I had ideas last year too but approached them with something of a 'let's see what happens' attitude. In hindsight that seems to have been no bad thing because generally speaking those ideas came to fruition and that, combined with some unexpected events is what has inspired me to spread my wings even further this year.

Something I put off time and time again in 2012 was submitting designs for magazine publication and this is another thing I'd like to address. I have a few DCWV projects to submit in a few weeks so that's a good start but part of my planning process will focus on scheduling some time to design specifically for web site challenges and magazines. There are lots of other ideas bubbling away to but for the time being I'm trying to keep a leash on those to stop myself going completely barmy.

Are you one of those people who chooses a word or two to focus on each year...? I've never done it before but while I was reflecting on the past year I decided now might be a good time to give it a try and the word I chose was balance. I had so many things going on throughout 2012 it seemed that I was always focusing all my efforts on one particular aspect at any given time while the others went neglected. Then when one task was completed that got ignored in favour of another until it became urgent again. Ultimately there was always something out of kilter. I'm not sure when I'll get these underway and that's part of the reason for the excitement since I know I have to sit down and develop some proper plans and realistic timescales.

So this year my aim is to get myself more organised so that I can multi-task more effectively and get a better work life balance. We're only two days in so I can't tell if it's going to work yet and it does go against all my natural inclinations to live life on a knife edge, but needs must as they say.

What have you got up your sleeve for 2013? - I'd love to hear about your plans and what you need to to do reach your goals.

Diane

Alcohol ink is a popular type of ink for rubber stamping because a little is capable of going a long way. With the right recipe, you can easily make your own alcohol ink from home.


What’s on your mixed-media bucket list? Get inspired to begin your own artsy endeavors with Cloth Paper Scissors’ January/February 2013 issue! Whether it’s a project you’ve been dying to try but haven’t had the courage (or time!) to begin, or something you’ve been putting off due to lack of instruction, now is the time to dip your fingertips into the mod podge, sift through found paper clippings, warm up the encaustic and get to work.
Inside, you’ll be inspired to...
• Try a new book form with tunnel books
• Make a digital art slideshow of your work
• Give back and help others through your art
• Learn to make your own jewelry
• Start up your sketchbook
• Try encaustics on the cheap
• Rev up your jewelry with resin
• Step into your own soldering studio
• Get stitchin’ to make a statement
• Play with the possibilities of plaster
• Create free-motion fabric style
• Seek out studio space solutions
• Master color mixing
• Learn to love your letters
• Experiment with screen printing
• Brush up on your transfer technique
• Enter a Reader Challenge
• Make more time for art
Be sure to grab what’s sure to be your next favorite collector’s issue! Now you have all the resources, inspiration, and motivation to get started, get further, and try something new. What are you waiting for? Begin your newest mixed-media endeavor today!


This free vintage New Year Beetle image card (shown below) is available from Graphic Fairy, and Karen stated,  "This is a quirky little Antique New Year Card! Here we have a funny brown Beetle in the Snow, carrying a branch of Mistletoe. I'm not sure what Beetles have to do with the New Year, but I thought this one was kind of cute!" So I began researching the oddity of why this image was drawn and here's some of what I found. Interesting to say the least as to why we carry on traditions.


Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable for growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant. There are two types of mistletoe. The mistletoe that is commonly used as a Christmas decoration (Phoradendron flavescens) is native to North America and grows as a parasite on trees from New Jersey to Florida. The other type of mistletoe, Viscum album, is of European origin. The European mistletoe is a green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries which are considered poisonous. It commonly seen on apple but only rarely on oak trees. The rarer oak mistletoe was greatly venerated by the ancient Celts and Germans and used as a ceremonial plant by early Europeans. The Greeks and earlier peoples thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs.

From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered to bestow life and fertility; a protection against poison; and an aphrodisiac. The mistletoe of the sacred oak was especially sacred to the ancient Celtic Druids. On the sixth night of the moon white-robed Druid priests would cut the oak mistletoe with a golden sickle. Two white bulls would be sacrificed amid prayers that the recipients of the mistletoe would prosper. Later, the ritual of cutting the mistletoe from the oak came to symbolize the emasculation of the old King by his successor. Mistletoe was long regarded as both a sexual symbol and the "soul" of the oak. It was gathered at both mid-summer and winter solstices, and the custom of using mistletoe to decorate houses at Christmas is a survival of the Druid and other pre-Christian traditions. The Greeks also thought that it had mystical powers and down through the centuries it became associated with many folklore customs. In the Middle Ages and later, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings to ward off evil spirits. In Europe they were placed over house and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches. It was also believed that the oak mistletoe could extinguish fire. This was associated with an earlier belief that the mistletoe itself could come to the tree during a flash of lightning. The traditions which began with the European mistletoe were transferred to the similar American plant with the process of immigration and settlement.

Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. They probably originated from two beliefs. One belief was that it has power to bestow fertility. It was also believed that the dung from which the mistletoe would also possess "life-giving" power. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce or warring spouses kiss and make-up. Later, the eighteenth-century English credited with a certain magical appeal called a kissing ball. At Christmas time a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe, brightly trimmed with evergreens, ribbons, and ornaments, cannot refuse to be kissed. Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill. If the girl remained unkissed, she cannot expect not to marry the following year. In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night lest all the boys and girls who have kissed under it never marry. Whether we believe it or not, it always makes for fun and frolic at Christmas celebrations. Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many European countries as well as in Canada. Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom linked to mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year). Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.


For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore. One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love. What could be more natural than to translate the spirit of this old myth into a Christian way of thinking and accept the mistletoe as the emblem of that Love which conquers Death? Its medicinal properties, whether real or imaginary, make it a just emblematic of that Tree of Life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations thus paralleling it to the Virgin Birth of Christ.


JUDEO-CHRISTIAN CULTURE

Semitic people and the Bible
Egyptian civilization exerted its influence over the entire Middle East. The Phoenicians were especially receptive to the culture, and adopted the scarab as auspicious amulets; however, along with their other deities, they figured it with four wings, a character never found among true Egyptian scarabs. For western Phoenicians, or Carthaginians, the scarabs were even more important, being found in all the tombs. When Egyptian scarabs were available, they were imported in great numbers to Carthage and its colonies. Later on, scarabs were made on the spot. Some places were famous for this particular industry, e.g. Sardinia. It is probably from Sardinia that the habit to carve amuletic and ornamental scarabs passed to Etruria, and later to Rome, where they lost their symbolic importance.

Coming back to Israel, the word “scarab” does not occur in the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish authors probably did not want to recall the detested enemy through this Egyptian emblematic character. However, in the Greek translation of the Bible (called Septuagint,) the word “beetle” occurs once (Habakkuk 2:11): For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beetle out of the timber shall answer it.

Christian authors

Habakkuk’s passage would not have been quoted here except for the use that Saint Ambrose of Milan made of it. On five occasions, this Father of the Church alluded to the text and compared Jesus Christ to Habakkuk’s scarab. Other Christian authors (St. Augustine, St. Cyril of Alexandria, etc.) made equivalent or similar comparisons. These are the most obvious testimonies of a possible influence of Egyptian religion on Christianism. They also might have been influenced by (or had influenced on) some late Egyptian beliefs, e.g. reported by Horapollo (above), who described the scarab as “only begotten,” with the same Greek words (monogenes) as used by John 3:16 referring to Christ, and repeated by other Christian authors.

Modern Europe

Stag BeetleStag Beetle

In Germany, where scarab worship, in the form of the stag beetle, has persisted longest, the equation scarab = Christ was widely accepted. The quintessential German artist, Albrecht Dürer, associated the stag beetle with Christ in various paintings, and produced a famous watercolor of the insect. The Jesuit Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) did not hesitate to recall the identification scarab = Christ, referring both to St. Ambrose and Psalm 22:6:

“But I am a worm, and no man,” verse which has been referred to Christ, and where (as Kircher says), “some read scarab instead of worm.” He went further to combine Christian faith with Alchemy: for him, the scarab was the prima materia of the Great Work. This idea was shared by some alchemists, e.g. Michael Maier (1566-1622), who explained in his writings that the so-called “philosophal stone,” product of the Great Work, was nothing other than Christ, resuscitated from the dead; a promise of resurrection for all human beings. Perhaps the scarabs and other beetles still occasionally used as ornaments (like in the Art Nouveau jewelry referred to above) are ultimate remnants of these old faiths, which can be traced back to the Egyptians and Paleolithic shamans.


Color Throwdown (CTD)!  The first Color Throwdown Challenge for 2013....Whoohoo!!! And Joan is their super-sweet talented host who thought we should start the New Year with some soft, earthy colors...to get us ready for spring!!! This weeks challenge begins, January 2nd thru and to January 7th. The Original Color Throwdown Challenge site!






 


After the success in 2012, Nathalie Kalbach of n*studio is back with Creative Jumpstart Summit 2013! Sign up to receive a daily e-mail throughout January, with links to an inspiring video that will get your creative juices flowing. There will also be sponsor giveaways some days!

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