Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Opportunities in Life

There are many doorways presented to us in life. We have to open our eyes to see them, then choose to walk through them.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Advice Of The Day

Go your own way. Walk your own path...and bring a friend.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Embrace Your Pain

I do not believe that hiding our weaknesses or how we really feel is "acceptable behavior." Nor do I believe that dwelling on the unpleasant is healthy. But how can we expect to move beyond what we want to overcome, if we don't first embrace these things?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I am a Litter Virgin

So there are now 11 days till my procedure.  On November1st, they will implant a device in my heart to close a congenital defect that is allowing unoxygenated blood and clots to travel to my brain and organs.  It will be fed to the heart through a vein in my groin, so it is not open-heart surgery.  They have discovered finally that my lifelong migraines and neurological problems are caused by lack of oxygen and strokes - the original defect is complicated by a clotting disorder.  The odds are good for a full recovery and there is a strong chance that I may feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life, but still a number of factors make this risky for me. 

I am in God’s hands and whatever happens is what is meant to be.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love life - even feeling sick is still living and I am willing to fight hard to keep my life.  But I am also tired.  I am relaxing into this.  I have to give this momentous event up to my loving higher power and make peace with everything that is in my heart, all the past pain and internal battles that have been raging inside of this body and mind for 39 years.  I’m ready for peace now, in whatever form it comes.  I hope that the form will keep me here with all the wonderful people I have grown to love dearly who are still in body.  But if that is not His will, then I am going to make the best of these next 11 days and use them to get as close to inner peace as I can and share myself with those who want to know me better.  So let’s start that now. 

Interesting Jen fact #1:  I am an adventure magnet.  I have NEVER EVER been bored and it’s the only emotion that I simply cannot relate to.  I have narrowly missed being struck by lightning twice.  My mum always says, “If it will happen to one in a billion, then it will happen to you.”  And she’s right.  This orthodoxia platypnea syndrome is just that rare – “no more than 50 cases reported” since its discovery in 1949.   

Adventure and strange experiences find me, or perhaps I just tend to look at everything in life as an exciting adventure...and am excessively clumsy.  Here is something from this last hour:

I’ve been sick all week, but today I’m finally feeling able to enjoy something (thank you to all my cheerleaders for the love and prayers) so I got a hankering for a latté.  In my pajamas, stockings and bathrobe I drove down to the Union Square Deli to get my fix.  It felt so great, despite the storm, to have all my windows down, the crisp, wet air tousling my already tangled hair.  I greedily gulped down the fresh Hood Canal air.  “Could air be any fresher???”  I thought.   

As I reached the bottom of Dalby hill a gust of fresh air caught a plastic bag that was lurking in some hidden recess of my car’s neglected interior.  It whirled around in the cab as I tried to catch it, and slipping through my fingers it shot out the window and danced in the wind down the road.  “Shit!” came out of my mouth, involuntarily.  I can’t help it.  Sometimes these words still slip out, even though I try so hard to be rated G, except of course when it is really REALLY funny to say “shit” ;)  I was thinking, “NO.  I’ve never EVER littered in my life (aside from apple cores and banana peels along deserted country roads.)  I was planning on dying a litter virgin.” 

After I got my latte I drove back up Dalby, searching for my plastic bag.  I saw it skip down into the ditch, among the rainwater and overgrown grasses on the opposite side of the road.  In the time it took me to get up to the gas station at the end of Dalby I had resolved to turn around and go back to get it.  I was so pleased when I spotted it in a shallow embankment.  I pulled in a driveway and the owner of the home watched me curiously, as I peeled off my socks and in my bare feet and bathrobe I tiptoed through the mud and grit, down the gully and heroically rescued my bag from the perils of nature.  The bag flapping in the wind as I triumphantly marched back to my car reminded me of a victory flag.  It made me feel so good to have recovered the booty at the end of my quest.   

These are the little things that make me happy – the small adventures and the opportunities to feel good about my impact on the world.  I so want to make it a better place at every chance I get and certainly not contribute to the destruction of this beautiful creation. 

Oh yeah, interesting Jen fact #2:  I am still a litter virgin.

Ego and Enlightenment

Ego blinds. It casts deep, dark shadows. There is no room for ego in enlightenment.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Eunkang Koh | Eunkang Koh

I want to introduce you to my friend, Eunkang Koh. She is an excellent artist whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know. She was a MFA student in the Printmaking department when I was getting my BFA. Check out her website. I am particularly fond of her Book Art and Hairy Tales, which is an enormous pop-up book. Check it out and you will see just how exceptionally unique and gifted Eunkang is. Enjoy.

Eunkang Koh | Eunkang Koh

Sometimes I am the Moss

I am feeling a roller coaster of feelings, right now: Relief, irritation, frustration, love, joy, regret, blah…. Last week my cardiologist drew 9 vials of blood to see if we can get to the bottom of my blood clots prior to repairing my shunt. There have been some things consistently out of whack, so he wanted sort that out before he does my procedure on November 1st. He called me with the test results yesterday morning. Two things concerned him. One is the anticardiolipin antibody IGM, which has been in the moderate range all three times. The other is Factor V Lieden. Both things cause blood clots. The IGM also attacks the blood vessels, cell walls and heart valves, which could be causing my hemolytic anemia, hemolysis and the three funky heart valves… So he’s now sending me to a hematologist to get me on the right medications before my procedure. The major concern is that r-l shunt is allowing blue blood, clots and bacteria to skip the filtration of the lungs and go to the brain and organs…and both of these blood abnormalities cause clots, so combined with the hole, it’s an unlucky combination. He told me before that he believed that my intractable migraines are actually TIA’s (transient ischemic attacks – mini strokes) and now this could also explain strokes, neurological problems, white patch on my brain MRI,...  He has to get this under control before he can operate.

I am relieved that somebody is finally doing something to help me, but I’m pissed that it has taken 39 years for that to happen. I don’t want to be pissed, because it is not good for my mental or physical health, it blocks my qi, and it doesn’t change anything anyway, so I guess I’m compensating with the blahs that break up moments of watery eyes and grumpiness. I really really felt irritable and withdrawn today, and I am fighting against frustration that doctors can be so ambivalent. How many people slip though the gaping cracks in this supposedly superior medical community?

I don’t understand why doctors bother to run blood tests if when they come back abnormal they do nothing about it. I have never had a normal CBC, and the IGM has been there every darned time they checked. You’d think the hoards of blood clots, repeated thromboplebitis, massive vascular damage,.... would raise a red flag or two. This only lightly scratches the surface of my misadventure, but I’ve said enough to paint a vague-ish picture of my medical fiasco so you can understand me better, and understand what motivates me in my current creative shift and what motivates what I will have said by the end of this.

Going through it all has been hell and has really taken a toll on my body, psyche and relationships, especially the last few years. I have missed out on the basic normal stuff that everybody takes for granted and have been in the hospital literally hundreds of times in the last few years, including at least two birthdays. I have withdrawn from people and if you’ve had the pleasure of doing something with me in the last 5 years, you should count yourself as a minority. I owe an apology to my friends. I was not rejecting you when I did not take you up on your wonderful invites. It really means so much to me that you thought of me. I know now that it would have been easier to bear this weight with the help of my friends and the fun distractions we could have enjoyed. I have not wanted to be a burden on anyone and was afraid that I would get sick and spoil everyone’s fun. I thought that I needed to be a happy, cheery, rock of a person who everybody could lean on, but I was very uncomfortable leaning on anyone else.

Everybody has many struggles in their lives, but most people hide them. I think people are afraid to come across as vulnerable. We want to portray ourselves as having the lives everyone else wants, because we incorrectly regard “perfection” as strength. This does nothing but lower our quality of life. If we can’t share our pain with other people, then not only do we miss out on the nourishing support from our loved ones, but our relationships remain superficial. We never actually experience true intimacy, and I’m not referring only to romantic intimacy, but to the many deep connections that are possible in life.

People don’t like you because you are smart, talented, rich, attractive, perfect…in fact, I think many people resent folks who seem to have it all. Anyone who likes you for those reasons is only using you. They see you as someone who can do something for them or somehow elevate their status. People really like you for how you treat them and how they feel when they are around you. Unfortunately, some folks are uncomfortable hearing the gritty, intimate, darker details about other’s lives. But I am not, and I refuse to portray myself as a shiny, polished person with no problems. I have problems. I might sparkle sometimes, but that is pure perspiration. If someone can’t handle the dirty truths about my perfectly imperfect life, then they can find their kicks elsewhere. I am not afraid to be ridiculed…and I have been, even publicly by people that I loved. It hurt immensely, but I survived and can look back and know that my problems were not the problem.

I promise to everyone right now that I will do my very best to be myself, the good, the bad and the ugly; and I will do my best to forgive those who can’t accept that. I will also strive to provide my half of true deep, honest, encouraging and supportive friendship to those who are willing to grow and learn with me and love me for who I am. Our struggles are part of living and I want to live fully. Let’s embrace the wholeness now, of what it is to be alive, and do our best to help make life better for everyone, because that gives us purpose and joy. Sometimes we are the rock and sometimes we are the soft, fuzzy stuff growing on the rock.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cut Your Own Rubber Stamps

Welcome to the next act in my gift tag saga. I decided to cut some new rubber stamps for my recently dyed tags. Many of the designs on the gift tags I showed in my paper dying entry were hand-cut in this way. I am currently using Soft-Kut Printing Blocks from Dick Blick because they are soft and inexpensive. Curls were not easy because the material is so rubbery and pliable, so the first design you see here took me longer than I had hoped. A firmer block would have been better for this design, I think.

I started by cutting with scissors some shapes from a larger block that fit the two main sizes of tags that I am using. I made a rough sketch with a sharpie directly on the block, then started cutting away the negative space with Speedball Linoleum Cutters. I like these because they are inexpensive and if you make a mistake when sharpening your blades, you can buy inexpensive replacement tips. You can also use an exacto knife for straight edges in tricky places.

When I finished cutting my design, I rinsed it with sudsy water to remove any rubber debris. After it dried I tested it with an inexpensive black water-based ink pad. Inking these up is much easier if you keep the block on your table and dab it with your ink pad. Keep dabbing with your pad, moving it all around the block and angling it in different directions. Do not slide the pad across your block. It will take a while for the block to build up enough ink for your first proof, but after a few prints the surface of your block will get more sticky and hold more ink.

To print, place your block face down on your paper and press the back with a flat object a little larger that the pad. A block of wood works great.

After you have successfully made some proofs, you may decide to cut more of your block away. I have left some texture in the negative space around the tree that I will probably cut away at a later date.

My second block (the leaf) was much easier because my design had no curls. This time I cut away all of the background that printed in my proofs so I would have a clean design. It’s best to cut away more the closer you get to the edge of your block, so the edge is thinner than the area next to the image. Make sure you wash the ink off your block with soapy water after your are done printing or between colors. When storing your blocks make sure that nothing is touching the printing side that will leave an indentation and damage your image. These block are fragile. I use a layer of thick cardstock to protect mine.

You can used water-based ink pads with these blocks, or roll ink on with a brayer. I will post a blog at a later date showing how to use a brayer with water-based relief inks. This is a great way to control your color and get an opaque, crisp and consistent print.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Golden Healers - Yellow Quartz Crystal (NOT Tangerine Quartz): Healing Properties And The Difference Between Both Stones

Golden Healer With Actinolite Pendant SOLD at DoodlepunkArt

Golden Healers are very rare quartz crystals stained internally with yellow iron oxide. Many of them also have actinolite needles trapped inside,  Their colors range from pale yellow to gold or orange and they have a Mohs hardness of 7, like rock quartz, amethyst and citrine.

Golden Healer Pendant available at
Golden Healer Pendant Available at DoodlepunkArt
This rare stone is also known as “golden healer” because of its incredible healing powers. The yellow iron stain adds whole body healing change to the purifying and amplifying powers of quartz crystal.

Golden Healer Crystal with Actinolite

This crystal is used for spiritual healing, cleansing the organs, stimulating the immune system, clearing blockages from qi (chi,) aligning the chakras and balancing yin-yang energies. Yellow quartz can be used with any of the chakras, but is especially powerful with the sacral, solar plexus and crown chakras. Using this stone on the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus) helps one align themselves with the Divine will.

Two Golden Healers

Golden healers help create a sense of confidence, zeal, happiness and adventure. Paler yellow hues are most helpful when cheerfulness and enthusiasm is needed. The deeper the shade of gold, the stronger its powers of manifestation for self-assurance and success in leadership roles.

Golden Healer Pendant Available at
Golden Healer Pendant Available in DoodlepunkArt
Yellow quartz vibrates at the highest level (ૐ - Om) to help one gain access to “Christ consciousness,” “divine consciousness” and “the Golden Ray.” Yellow quartz is linked with the Sun and all zodiac signs.

Rare Golden Healer Crystal Cluster SOLD at
Rare Golden Healer Crystal Cluster - SOLD
Tangerine quartz (below) has a similar color range, but its color is a coating on the outside of the crystal instead of on the inside.

Tourmalinated Tangerine Quartz Pendant
All of the crystals in the photo below are golden healers except the one in the upper left corner.

All of these specimens came from China. I have never seen golden healer specimens quite like these before, especially the deep yellow intensity of the four darker ones. Many of these taper toward the termination like a diamantine laser wand and have the horizontal stripes of a Lemurian seed crystals. This shape is called "Tessin Habit" and the striations are called " macromosaic structure." Two of these specimens have the multiple terminations of a split growth formation.

The photo above shows a close up of golden healers and tangerine quartz. Again, the one in the upper left corner is tangerine quartz because it is stained with iron on the outside only.

Tangerine Quartz Pendant SOLD
Tourmalinated Tangerine Quartz Pendant (SOLD)
Golden Healer Pendant (SOLD)
The darker specimen below is included with yellow actinolite, like many of my specimens. This was my favorite stone, sold to my good friend, Ros-Mari.  Actonlite needles in quartz focus energy and create a powerful conduit for The Universal Life Force.

©Jennifer Shipley
The content of this article is the intellectual property of Jennifer Shipley.  Please do not copy without my written consent.

Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles (SOLD)
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant (Sold)
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles Pendant from
Golden Healer With Actinolite Needles
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt from
Golden Healer Pendant by DoodlepunkArt (Coming soon!)
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD) from
Golden Healer From DoodlepunkArt (SOLD)
For more information on golden healers and tangerine quartz go to these websites:

Scroll down to "Golden Healer Quartz" on

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Natural Hand-Dyed Paper

Dying paper at home is an easy and inexpensive project you can complete in one work session. Your hand-dyed paper can be used for card-making, gift tags, bookmarks, soap and gift packaging, scrapbooking, paper maché, collages, magnets…anything you can think of. I have been using my hand-dyed paper to make gift tags, which I give out with each pendant purchase in my etsy store.

The finished gift tags/bookmarks you see here I made using paper that I dyed with coffee, tea, turmeric and cinnamon. Simmering the natural ingredients found in my kitchen gave my tags not only a rich, earthy yellow ochre hue, but also a nearly edible aroma.

For my most recent batches, I used the water left over from boiling beets that we ate for dinner and a combination of hand-torn watercolor paper and die-cut manila tags from the office supply store.

First I used the beet juice alone to die a few batches as I slowly reheated the liquid in a sauce pan on the stove. I dipped both sides of my paper in the beet juice, then soaked them until they sank (about 5 minutes.) You can dye multiple pieces at once.

After spreading crumpled aluminum foil on a cookie sheet, I set my papers out to dry in the oven on about 185 °f. You do not need the aluminum foil. I used it to create a splotchy texture.  It helps to have two cookie sheets going at one time so you can stagger your work – while one pan is drying, fill the other pan with your next batch of paper.

After I dyed all the paper that I wanted to have pink, I kept the beet water just under boil and added powdered turmeric and a black tea bag. This time I did smaller batches because I wanted my paper to have darker red splotches on one side.

To get these splotches I soaked the papers on low heat just long enough for the ones floating on top to dry partially. If they soak too long they will sink to the bottom and the splotches will be lost. You can use a fork to pull the papers out of the pan, or the string (or wire) that comes attached to your tags. 

Drying the papers on the crumpled aluminum foil leaves a very interesting random texture and drying them directly on the oven rack or a cookie cooling rack leaves interesting stripes.

For a smoother color, try drying them directly on a cookie sheet, but I recommend testing a sample of each paper type first to assure that your batches won’t stick to the cookie sheet after they are dry.

After paper has dried, press them under heavy, hard-cover books to flatten them out. A thick layer of scratch paper or a felt pad placed below the books on top of equal sized small dyed paper stacks will help you press more paper at one time.

For the artwork on my tags, I used a combination of store bought and hand-carved rubber stamps, with various inks, including water-based pigment pads, solvent-based dye pads and Dick Blick relief printing inks rolled out with a brayer directly onto the stamps.

Next, I decorated my tags with cut paper and hand-dyed sand. For my final touches, I stamped or brushed color around the edges and looped ribbon through the holes.

Combine any medium you want to create your artwork, but keep in mind that these vegetable dyes are not completely colorfast, so consider that when using wet media.