Friday, February 26, 2010

Free Seaworld's Killer Whales !

For those of you who have not heard about the tragic death of an animal trainer at Seaworld in Florida... one of the killer whales, after a performance and out of mounting frustration, grabbed the trainer and held her underwater where she was drowned. Evidently she was one of the best trainers in the field... may she rest in peace and my sincere condolences to her friends and families.

This blog is an appeal to my readers to take the time to read a most excellent article written by a CNN reporter, Jane Velez-Mitchell- an animal activist who, as I, is advocating for the release of these giant, highly intelligent, social creatures back into their natural habitat. Tilikum has now been in captivity for 25 yrs confined in 'bath tub size' tanks (relative to the whale's size) whilst ordinarily killer whales would be swimming over 100 miles a day !

Obviously... whales that have been kept in captivity for so long, are not likely to be as well equipped to survive in the wilderness of the waters as those who have lived in the oceans all their lives. Some countries have created protected sanctuary areas in solution.

Seaworld plans to resume their mega money making shows as soon as tomorrow... with heavier restrictions imposed on the trainers. They have determined that the trainer was at fault for having exposed her long pony tail which Tilikum grabbed to play with.



Here is the link to the CNN article: http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/02/26/velez.mitchell.killer.whale/index.html?hpt=T2

Please send an e-mail to Hamilton James, the President of The Blackstone Group, which operates SeaWorld. Urge SeaWorld to get out of the captive whale business: https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1399



Treasury Thanks... Folk Art Vision

Ahhh another day in Etsy paradise... lol

Pey Lu of folkartvision was on a mission a few days ago... to promote a spring raffle that is selling tickets to benefit the Buckeye House Rabbit Society... (Annette of Dragonhouseofyuen has donated one of her delicious Arabella bags...)

With a fabulous cause in mind... this treasury was created... with an equally wonderful provocative subtitle: Go ahead MAKE my day !

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY ?

One of Brizel Handcrafts' apple wood Brigit Crosses was featured ! A Brigit Cross is an ancient solar symbol that is believed to bring protection and good fortune into our homes... I very much appreciated the feature- thanks so much :)

Folk Art Vision is a fabulous Etsy store which has a plethora of wondrous messages- one of my favorite store sections is dedicated to Pey Lu's Word At Play" series.

"In keeping with the FolkArtVision philosophy, we are giving the ubiquitous laminate samples fresh purpose and intention by enhancing and embracing their natural shape and colour."

"I'm so old I don't buy green bananas"
says a small sign posted at the corner of the bulletin at my doctor's office."

"I had thrown my back out days before and was in considerable pain but still couldn't help smiling at the message. That moment stuck me as an idea with potential - random funny thoughts..."

"... Later, much relieved from the pain, I was able to put all my random thoughts in action and from that seed grew our latest offering."

"This original collage is really chatty...
Side One says - Registered Lost...
Side Two says Heart Found.

"It is one of a kind, spontaneous and romantic. Ever heard of "It's the thought that counts", well, think no more, now you can turn your thought into a lasting gift by sending your loved one this diminutive yet powerful message, perfect any time !"


I fully agree !

I love Pey's work and I myself now enjoy one of these wondrous creations. My very own reclaimed, upcycled, Folk Art Vision original and in the right moment of emotion... i can flip over my message plaque to suit my mood.

As one of my favorite girlfriend's says:
"How does it get better than that ?" lol.

Please click on the links to visit this wonderful artist's shop and work. Pey Lu also has a blog and two other Etsy stores !

Copyrights to text, work and images
remain with the Artist, Pey Lu of Folk Art Vision.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Treasury Thanks... Spring Colors

One of the delights of Etsy.com is the capability of curating Treasuries... any Etsy member who wants to learn how to create them - can do so !

There is a limited amount of treasury slots available and, quite honestly, it is an art to simply acquire one. (I tried way back when... but decided that it was too high maintenance and required a huge amount of surfing time... way fun if you have the time and inclination.)

I am an admirer of Treasury makers... and have an immense amount of gratitude whenever anyone selects something from one of my stores... Here's a lovely grouping of twelve Etsy products...

COOL HOT RUBY RED


Cool Hot Ruby Red was curated by SpringColors and features a Czech glass button from Brizel Supplies' inventory...


Superswirl Garnet Crystal Flower is a sensational floral glass button... an iridescent faceted blue flower resides at its center sending out swirling petals towards the rim... along with garnet iridescent purples...

SpringColors store owner, Hadass, makes beautiful beaded jewelry... Her Etsy profile introduces her shop in this colorful manner...

"Imagine a garden during springtime. The grass is bright green, all the flowers are in bloom in all the colors of the rainbow. Now imagine all the colors of spring around your neck. In my shop you will find jewelry made of crystals and beads, expressing the joy, optimistm and beauty of spring."


"You enter a room, and all with gasp at the splendour dripping from your neck. The glow of candles reflect off the prisms in the crystals, dancing flame with energy and beauty."

Red Cabochon Necklace is comprised of "a ruby red glass cabochon, enhanced with red crystals, red and golden seed beads."

This one is called "Oynx Black Swarovski Crystal Window Pendant" which looks like a stained glass window... and is made with "hexagons of black luscious black crystals, covered with pink and opal colored Swarovski crystals."

Here's the promise of spring around one's neck... "Crystal Pendant Beaded Jewelry is elegant and comprises of bright green fire polished crystals in a lacy design... with a delicate green ribbon" weaving in and out of circular beaded loops.

Brigid Flower Beaded Necklace must have been what brought SpringColors to my store... "This necklace was inspired by a rosette window I've seen in the Galway Cathedral during a trip to Ireland with my husband..."

"As a tribute to it's place of inspiration, this necklace is dedicated to the ancient Celtic goddess Brigid - the goddess of all things high such as high-rising flames, highlands, hill-forts and upland areas; and of activities and states conceived as psychologically lofty and elevated, such as wisdom, excellence, perfection, high intelligence, poetic eloquence, craftsmanship (especially blacksmithing), healing ability, druidic knowledge and skill in warfare. Brigid is truly a first lady of style and all things important.

This delicate necklace is made of a central pink cabochon, circled with Swarovski pink and green crystals and Swarovski pink pearls. The rosette shape is achieved by delicate petals in clear charcoal beads and pink tear drop beads."


It was a pleasure to discover this lovely Etsy shop... full of spring's promise and delicious colorful offerings and thanks so much for the Treasury feature, Hadass !

Copyright remains with the artists

Sunday, February 21, 2010

for the love of dog... MERLiN turns seven !

February is almost over... and Oh my goodness... Merlin is now seven years old !


HAPPY BiRTHDAY MERLiN !

Merlin has never been 'fully featured' on my blog before... so I'm fixing that right now as 1 of his birthday presents !

I think, though, that he's really pleased that i got him a new donut for his big day... in fact, he's over the moon about it... *especially* since this one SQUEAKS... and oh my goodness me... that just thrills him to no end !


This is the look that he gets on his face when he has ME chasing after him. You see Merlin is very good at the Fetch part... but he just LOVES to keep his toy and have me come after it. Oh.. he'll 'Drop it' once I get close enough... but... really he just loves the chase... ME after HiM !!!


SiGH... Story of my life ! Actually we have a lot of fun... it's like playing Tag. THiS year I told him that this would need to change... he would need to begin coming towards ME before i would give him a counter move. Its working... more or less. The year is young. lol.


For the love of dog... I found Merlin (& his sister Nimue) at the vets when they were only a few days old. Mom, a German Shepherd, had rejected the entire litter... five survived and only because of human intervention... The five were split up into two groups and two wonderful vet techs bottle fed them and took them home each night... Merlin & Nimue were in seperate groups but as soon as I was able to secure a promise to their adoption... they began to spend time together at the clinic. I went to visit them several times a week and we all waited until they were 3 months old before they could come home with me. They were my first puppies... omg !

Merlin's puppy hood was fraught with challenges... the first one developed immediately... an overbite which meant surgery within several weeks of his little life... in order to remove some of his bottom teeth as they were impaling his pallet.

When he was less than six months old... Merlin developed issues with his back due to jumping out of my pick up truck as i was backing up very slowly doing landscaping around the property. He just seemed to always have some misfortune after another... I remember one time as he was licking the spaghetti colander- the handle got hooked to his collar and he went running around the property convinced that 'the evil thing' was after him ! Same thing happened with a piece of string... and off he went. poor little guy !

I think the most traumatic thing that happened to him though was when the vet sedated him in order to take an x-ray of his hips... he had an adverse reaction to one of the drugs and collapsed in the car whilst we were driving home. I pulled to the side of the road... he had stopped breathing... I gave him mouth to mouth and dumped half a bottle of Rescue Remedy in him. He revived and we drove back to the vets for a recheck. His gums were so pale... he had evidently gone into anaphylectic shock. We stayed at the vets for a couple of hours... he was so terrified of getting back into the car.

So... we had to take things easy with Merlin for a long time... We finally did puppy training when he was a year old... i knew the trainer and she was very sympathetic to our cause. We did better than i thought we would !

I was fortunate enough to take a Homeopathic ER workshop at the SF School of Homeopathy... and introduced Merlin when discussing anaphylectic shock... Soon after and via email I corresponded to the teacher about him. She and her 3rd year students studied his case and found his constitutional remedy. Nux Voc has and continues to be most helpful in assisting him with his day to day challenges.


Merlin remains a shy, hyper-sensitive, over-excitable boy... he has a heart of gold that melts my very own. I have and will forever be accepting and welcoming his exuberant dog kisses... YES !!! shocking as it may seem I kiss my dogs and... I also sleep with them too... lol...

For the love of dog... I wouldn't have it any other way !

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From the Land... WOOD GOURMET GNAWER TREATS

Last month... as I was browsing through Bunny Treasuries... that's right, Etsy treasuries that feature rabbit art and supplies (I have a couple of EFA team colleagues who are just nuts about rabbits & hares)... I fell upon a listing of apple wood gnawer treats. I was just about to begin pruning the apple trees here at Twilight and... since I have been wanting to expand my existing 'From the Land' product line... me thought: why not share some of my prunings with them, rabbit folks ?

I got all excited because not only do i have apple but also pear, quince, mulberry, olive, nectarine, prune, apricot, cherry, figs. Of course I had to do some research about what was safe for bunnies. I found out that apricot, cherry, and fig wood is toxic to the little guys. Not sure yet about mulberry, olive, nectarine, prune.

I contacted an Etsy seller, PhoenixFarm.etsy.com, and made some inquiries. Dawn was very helpful and encouraged me to sell both apple and pear wood... especially since I was in California and she cant ship her apple wood gnawers to Cal due to Ag rules/regs. She has over 200 apple trees on her farm and her rabbits and chinchillas love apple & pear wood. Do take a look at her wonderful store when you get a chance !


So... I created bundles of 24 ounces of APPLE wood... cutting the wood down to 8" and providing a variety of widths (1/8" to 3/4"). I raise my fruit trees myself and do not use ANY spray on them, either chemical or organic... so the wood gourmet gnawer treats are 100% all natural, unsprayed, untreated raw wood.

The weight amount was determined by how much i could safely stuff into a flat rate priority envelope... giving the best-est price for my rabbit/chinchilla customers ! I also created a 4 pound box in order to maximize the medium size priority flat rate box.

I'm almost sold out of the apple :) and I only have one more apple tree to prune... so not much more apple wood gourmet gnawers left... A friend suggested that i make smaller bundles and I'm going to think about setting that up !


If you want to try something a little different... I just pruned my quince trees a couple of days ago (Feb 18th) and have two bundles of 18 ounces to share... There's some yummy buds on the QUiNCE wood because the weather has been rather mild these last couple weeks. Quince is part of the same family as apple & pear so i hope somebunny will find them equally delicious !

Next on my agenda is to prune my four pear trees... and make some bundles of PEAR wood gourmet gnawer treats... I'm just so thrilled to be able to put the wood to good use and sales will benefit Twilight and help me to preserve the habitat I have been creating over the years. A habitat, i might add, that attracts & helps to sustain bees, birds, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds and dragonflies. Twilight is a noteworthy natural breeding ground for the former !

Of course, outside the compound and on the ranch we have hares, snakes, wild pig, wild turkey, bobcat, lynx, mountain lion, elk, deer, fox, coyote, squirrel, skunk, lizard, the occasional bear, too many birds to list but eagle & crow noteworthy, frogs, salamanders... its a natural zoo :)

CLick HERE to visit Brizel4TheAnimals store and my 'From the Land' product line which currently includes the organic wood Gourmet Gnawer Treats, Spiral Lavender Sachets, and Brigit Crosses. It is my hope to develop this product line with more homegrown goodies and crafts !

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Brigid of the Well... Brigit of Healing...

Up here in the mountains... in a place far, far away from the Celtic isles... is a piece of land named Twilight. There at the Well house is a special altar devoted to Brigit... an ancient Celtic Goddess.

I first encountered Her in spirit as I was journeying by myself across the USA... camping... hiking up river streams. I called it my 'Walkabout'... a three month exploration of self as I shed all the roles I had taken on during my lifetime... daughter, student, friend, employee, lover, mother, wife, tenant... all of those... melting away for the soul purpose of seeing WHAT was under all those layers of identification. It was a powerful journey of letting go... the shedding of the visible to see the jewels of the invisible.

I did not know Brigit's name until my return... when I attended an Imbolc ceremony and there She was before me. The Lady of the Well... Bridgid, Bridget, Brid, Breed, Brigantia, Brhide... a Goddess of many spellings.

Several years later, in 2002, after purchasing a piece of land up in the mountains of Northern California... I began to hold a women's gathering each year during the Imbolc season and specifically during St Brigit's feast days... it was a time to spell craft and send out our prayers... to honor Her and ourSelves...


The Well House was built over the site of the well and a permanent altar to Brigit resides inside.


Outside the Well House... in a long standing Celtic tradition... white cloth prayer ties known as Clooties (clouties, cloughties) are tied to the shrubs.


Traditionally, these were/are tied at sacred wells... the cloth was/is dipped in the waters and then affixed to a bush or a tree (Cloutie Tree)... whatever spirit, saint, divinity... resided in the waters was invoked to help heal the person for which the Clootie was for. Some say that as the fabric rotted, so the ailment disappeared.

Here at Twilight, there is no sacred spring that emerges from the earth... the well is 460' below the surface... the water comes up cool, clear and it is volcanic in its constituency... it is all that we have and for that I am grateful !


Anyone, at any time, can tie a cloutie here at Twilight. I always suggest that the first prayer tie is for self... as one cannot help others without first insuring our own well being.

Wish-ing you well !

***

"On the Feast Day of beautiful Bride
The flocks are counted on the moor.
The raven goes to prepare the nest,
And again goes the rook."

(Carmina Gadelica, Volume 1, by Alexander Carmicheal)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

february MONTHLY CHALLENGE TREASURY efa


Our team has a Monthly Challenge and EFA has a blog that is solely dedicated to the showing of our monthly challenge entries.


Entering the monthly Etsy for Animals Challenge is a fun way to participate in the EFA street team. Every month there is an opportunity for EFA members to submit one of their listings to be featured on the blog. Each month has a specific theme which the listing must reflect in some way.


The monthly challenge blog provides a lovely display of goods presented by our artists & suppliers. Its a wonderful marketing opportunity for our sellers and also the mini feature tells us how they contribute to aiding our animal friends.


February's theme is "Forever in My Heart"... "for the animals past, present and future that have left an imprint on our hearts." LolaLynn, our EFA Monthly Challenge administrator, put together a treasury with some of our entries...

FOREVER IN MY HEART

Brizel Handcrafts' was honored by having its entry included in the treasury... a rich Silk Tapestry Heart plush called 'A Memorial to Love'...

Fall in love with a gorgeous Silk Tapestry Heart made of pure raw silk sari yarns and embellished with buttons, one of which is big enough to hold a photo of someone you love & want to remember.


One side is rich variegated red silk contoured with black... embellished at the center with a coppery gold & black rose button.


The other side is black at its center surrounded with the deep variegated red silk heart and contoured by black... it is embellished with a huge black button... which can hold a photographic cut out image of someone special.

The inside of the heart has been filled with polartec fabric so this heart will warm up when cuddled. If this sweet heart wants to be hung, a complimentary colored faux leather cord is nestled at its top.


This Silk Tapestry Heart belongs to me & Tillie...
my feline daughter, who was with me for 17 years...
She was the first of my girls to depart this world...
a memory still vivid after 8 yrs. I still miss her !

The Etsy listing is for a CUSTOM heart that will be made especially for you... and although I would be happy to recreate this exact heart design... colors & embellishments can be customized... so please contact me by clicking HERE to discuss your heart's desire !

Click HERE for an illustrated blog piece on Brizel Handcraft's Silk Tapestry Hearts...

ALL iMAGES designs CONTENT
©2008-2010
Nicole Planchon / Brizel
ALL rights reserve

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Introducing Jo's herd of Icelandic horses

When I was growing up in the Geneva area in the late sixties... my siblings and I used to take horse back riding lessons on a regular basis. I loved the smell of the arena and looked forward to seeing the horses.

Later on when I was a young teenager, I realized that the allergies I was developing were keeping me from seeing clearly where i was leading the horse. I stopped riding and alas stayed away from equines... at first it wasn't too difficult as I didn't have access to horses or I was living in cities and my attention floated to college, boyfriends, developing careers etc.

About 10 years ago, I went to a gathering at Greenfield Ranch and low & behold in a pasture close by was an old horse. Looking for a place to play my penny whistle- I ventured up a tree to do so... and to my surprise, the horse came to investigate. I came down and said hello... and although my eyes began to moisten a little with allergic sensitivities, I realized that it wasn't all that bad and that I could spend a few moments with him. Time evidently was healing my allergies !

My friend Jo ('Yo') who owns property on the same ranch as I do, has 7 Icelandic ponies under her care. She used to be an Icelandic horse breeder (Farandi Farms) and has been working with & training horses most of her life. All 7 of her boys (6 geldings, 1 stallion) are currently wintering on the ranch and I have been going up to visit them and hanging out with this herd for about 3 months.

Let me introduce them to you !


This is Andi, who is the boss of the herd
He has a lovely caramel coat with a vanilla mane

Bastian to the right & Mimir to the left...
Bastian likes to be the boss when Andi is away
Mimir is the youngest with 6 yrs of age


This is Bleikur, the stallion... Mr Icelandic !


Kappi is horsing around in this photo...
he wantz to kiss me !


Here's Fly Boy who is the elder in the herd...
about 20yrs of age... and a complete softie !


This is his best friend, Svoelnir ('Svernia')...


...whom I spend a lot of time with.

I just completed a 6 day 'mom is away from home' daily horse care experience... in not the best of weather conditions, I might add. It was a wonderful experience... with some adrenaline moments... but all is well that ends well ! I look forward to seeing them again soon :)

Aren't they beautiful and handsome ?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hail to Brigit BRiGiD Brighid BREED Bride BRiDGET !!!

January flew by at a windy pace and left me breathless on its last day, the eve of St Brigit's day... It was Sunday and the sun was out... and the Icelandic ponies had been waiting for me to visit them for a good two weeks due to stormy weather.... so off I went to visit my friend Jo and her seven equine boys for some good loving fun !

threadsofmagique put together this lovely Etsy treasury a few days before Imbolc to celebrate the season and to honor Brigid- the celtic goddess that inspires and sustains many of us through the wheel of the year.

FIRE OF INSPIRATION

Its a beautiful collection... a selection of images & products that remind us of this time of year... when the the strength of the Sun is waxing more noticeably and the forces of spring begin to make Her presence felt. Brigit is reborn as the Young Maiden and as the Sun, Her vitality grows stronger day by day.

"Welcome Breed,
Oh... Breed is come,
Breed is Welcome"

Brigit Crosses are solar symbols, equal armed and stretching in four directions, which symbolically encourages the strength of the Sun through our front doors and into our homes. It is a talisman, usually hung above the inside of the front door or near the hearth, and it is believed to bring protection, blessing, fertility and prosperity into our households.

Also known as St. Brigid’s Crosses, they are traditionally made from woven straw or rushes gathered on January 31st, the eve of St. Brigit’s Day. Crosses from the previous year are burned & replaced with new ones affirming the old saying: “Out with the old, and in with the new”.

The Brigit Crosses that I make are made from apple wood which I prune from my own orchards.

Click HERE to see the blog write up on Brizel Handcrafts' apple wood Brigit Crosses.

Click HERE if you'd like to see what Brigit Crosses are available for purchase. All Brizel Brigit Crosses ship out with a special complimentary spiral lavender sachet during the month of February !

Thanks & gratitude to threadsofmagique for featuring a Brigit Cross in her treasury !
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