Friday, June 24, 2011

Papercraft - Will I Marry Ewan McGregor In A Small Ceremony By The Water???

The Vault of Mystery  Probably not.  Okay, definitely not.

Sigh.  Oh, well.

I really, really love's paper toys.  This guy is extremely talented, and all of his stuff is spooky Halloween-related fun.

One of the best toys on Ravensblight is one of the simplest:  The Vault of Mystery!

Much more elegant than a Magic Eight Ball, right?  It doesn't take long to build, and there are no complicated angles or infuriating curves.  Once it's done, just shake it up, pull off the top, turn it over, and dump your fortune onto the table.

The Vault of Mystery also tells me that I likely won't someday have a red unicorn as a pet, which is disappointing, but it tells me that maybe I'll someday learn to magically re-organize my closet through the sheer power of my mind, so there's that, anyway, right?


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make Your Own Shrines!

I know I'm slightly late to the game on this idea, (maybe a couple thousand years late) but I've been discovering lately that having an actual physical shrine to look at while you're engaging in Spiritual Stuff And Things can be a big help.  So I decided to make some of my own.

It's a fairly cheap endeavor.  All you need is:

- A shadowbox, which can be found online or at Michael's.  At Michael's, especially, they're heavy and durable, and have been Buy One, Get One For A Penny for couple months now, but you'll have to check to make sure if that sale is still running.

- CARDTSOCK-weight paper.  Very important.  Doing this with regular printer paper will make things way too flimsy.  You can buy cardstock at Walmart for 5 bucks a pack.

- Scissors, and an X-acto knife, if you want to be able to cut out the spaces between elbows and torsos, etc...

- A glue stick (preferrably Elmer's Craft Bond, as it's stronger glue than a regular school glue stick)

- Possibly double-sided tape, if you're not into using a hot-glue gun

- Your computer and a printer

- Embellishments of whatever kind you find appealing, as long as it can be glued or taped on.  I'm partial to beads, simple ribbon, and Dresden trim.  Seriously, metallic Dresden is the miracle embellishment.  Slap it on ANYthing, and that thing will look classier and more Victorian in two seconds flat.  (Eternal thanks to Wendy for turning me on to it!)

Okay, so here's the first example:

I've tried and tried over the past few months, but I have yet to figure out what angle to take a picture from so as to properly show off the depth of these shadowboxes.  As soon as the flash goes off, bam, the shadows inside the box are canceled out.  So, just a heads up, this thing is deeper than it looks in the picture.

This is a shrine that's meant to be a sort of charm for me and my oldest friend.  The main components are all tarot imagery, taken from the Universal Waite deck.

And here's the other.  A Mother Goddess shrine, and probably my favorite shrine I've ever made:

These shrines are one of those things that are "easy, but not simple".  They do take a lot of time to make, but the actual process is definitely not rocket science:

- Go online and find images that will either symbolically or literally represent whatever it is you're spiritually going for.  Imagine a scene in your head that you could re-create in the shadowbox.  Google Images is an indispensible resource for this stuff.  There are some amazing blogs and websites out there that post vintage images for people to use, like The Graphics Fairy and Agence Eureka.

- The printing part can be kind of tricky. I use ACDSee, which lets you adjust the image size in increments before printing, so you know approximately what size it will come out.  I do this kind of thing by eye, which can be slightly trial and error, but those of you out there who are good at math could probably figure out dimensions more easily.

- Cut out the images.  If you're not someone who does a lot of cutting here's a tip:  As you're cutting, move the paper, not the scissors.  It helps a ton, believe me.

- Choose a background to be glued to the inside back of the shadowbox.  I tend to like ancient celestial maps for this purpose.  If you're interested in going that route, you can find awesome ones at Vintage Printable.  But nature scenes are also excellent, as are Victorian rooms.

- What you do to attach your images to the background and make them stand out away from it is very simple:  cut a semi-thin strip of cardstock, fold it over 4 times and then glue the two ends together to make a square.  Glue one side of the square to the back of your image, and then the opposite side of the square to the background.  And there you go, it's a pop-out picture!

- Once you've got your scene done, you just re-attach the box to the backing, and voila!  Shrine complete!

- If you want to make the outside of the shrine look cool, go into the above-mentioned Agence Eureka's archives.  She posts incredibly awesome theatre prosceniums from vintage European papercraft books.  This is where the double-sided tape comes in.  Once you cut out your outer embellishment, whether it be a theatre proscenium or whatever, you can attach it with double-sided tape.  This works especially well with the Michael's shadowboxes, as their outsides are, like, laquered or something, and a glue stick isn't the best option.  Just make sure you get the kind that's labeled "permanent" instead of "photo-safe".  After a certain amount of time, the tape bonds with the paper and you don't have to worry about it peeling off.

So, that's that!  If anyone decides to make one of these, send along a picture, and I'll post it in the blog!


Very Cool!

A few months ago, a friend of mine gave me a book called "Tarot Spells" by Janina Renee, and I immediately fell in love with it.  Not only does it describe and outline a whole different purpose for your tarot cards, but it's also a useful tool for meditation and visualization exercises.

In the beginning, I tried a couple of the spells in a sort of half-hearted way.  I didn't set up a space to lay everything out, and I skipped the candles, the physical objects, etc....  I just laid out the required cards next to me on my bed and tried to focus.  But I have to say, once I decided to go all out and do things right, it made a huge difference.  The book has sections on everything you need to set up a space:  color symbolism, gemstones, candles, cards, personal objects...  I made a concerted effort to make sure that EVERYthing involved in the space was symbolic to the goal I was trying to reach....the colors of the ribbons and candles, the bells, the keys, the stuff on the wall above the space, etc....

Then, I took about an hour a night for 5 nights focusing solely on the tarot cards required, using the visualizations suggested by the book.  This is where I came to the realization that even if you don't want to work the actual spells, you can use this book as a very useful meditation tool.  Basically, the basis of everything the book outlines is plain old positive energy.  It's all about the visualization.

Once I felt like everything was well-established, I left the whole layout in place, and now I just light some candles for it every day and pause long enough to re-focus.  When I'm finished with the current situation, I'll readjust the physical space with new colors, objects, etc, to suit whatever I'm focusing on then.

I am seriously liking this.  It's a great way to send positive energy to a friend or family member, and also to take some time for myself to slow my mind and focus.  You don't need to know or understand tarot to use this book.  All you have to have is a tarot deck, and the book thoroughly explains what to do with it.  There is a small snag in that there's more than one tarot discipline, and confusion regarding card meanings can happen.  This book definitely bases it's meanings in the Waite-Smith tradition, and if you were to have oracle cards or a Thoth deck, you'd run into issues.  But otherwise, it makes things really amazingly easy.


Monday, June 13, 2011

The Next One!

The next Tarot Day at Marjim Manor will be held on July 17th from 12-6 pm.  Wine and a reading!  What could be better?

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