It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

…it’s a plane. On Saturday 25th October 2014, as I was out in the garden watering my plants, I heard the drone of a plane overhead. Where we are it’s not uncommon to see biplanes and vintage planes flying over, and on celebration days like Anzac Day, the jets that fly past Perth often go over Rockingham first. Nearby Garden Island houses Australia’s largest naval fleet, and sometimes we hear their jet engines.

But this day was rather different. As I looked up, expecting to see one of the usual suspects, what I saw instead was something quite different, and something I’d never encountered before. My son’s best friend, Cooper, was over for a playdate that afternoon, so I called both boys out to witness the strange plane in the sky. Cooper is quite an aviation buff, but this had even him scratching his head.

This is what we saw (yes, I had to Google it until I found it, as I didn’t have my camera or mobile phone on me when it happened):

1174834

CASA_C-212-CC50,_Gargaard_Aviation_AN0165830

1306716

Weird, huh? Like a kite.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not something you see every day. After finding the image on Google, I still had no idea what this plane was. I couldn’t make out it if had 2 or 4 engines, it was too far away, and I only managed to find some images on Google after searching under several possible keywords (some of them being such as “plane with diamond-shaped struts, plane with cables, kite-like plane”).  But at least I was in the right area. I decided to search under the name on the tail – Fugro, for more information.

Turns out it’s a “Geophysical survey aircraft, undertaking magnetic and electromagnetic surveys for mineral exploration companies” (Source: http://www.airliners.net) This particular model is the CASA C-212-CC40 (or possibly CC50). Not much information is forthcoming from the internet, but judging by the look of the cables suspended in a diamond-shaped configuration between the head, wings and tail of the aircraft, one would assume perhaps they are to aid in the collection of data or geological mapping of the ground.

Sounds about right. Western Australia’s most important industry is the mining industry.  I Google “Fugro” and found the company’s website. I found some information about aerial mapping from this link.

Well, there you go.  You learn something new every day!

Sneak Preview of my 2nd Lenormand deck: The “Eclectic Lenormand”

These are some of the cards from my 2nd Lenormand deck, the “Eclectic Lenormand”. Creating this deck was easier the 2nd time round, as by now I’d found more sources of public domain and copyright free images I could utilise.

(Click here for information about Lenormand).

I haven’t put this deck up for sale yet on my eBay and Etsy stores. But I will shortly :).

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

As you can see, I’ve employed several different styles in the creation of this deck. Hence the name “Eclectic Lenormand”.

I hope you like it!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Claritin to the rescue!

My Pitbull-Mastiff dog Shelagh loves playing Fetch. Our lawn is no longer grassy but more of a golf sand bunker. Shelagh’s a heavy dog, but very agile and quick, and her paws do tend to tear up the lawn when she’s chasing after tennis balls. When she skids in the dirt, dust billows up everywhere, and gets in her eyes and nose. I call her my “Dusty Darling”.

A couple of days ago, after a particularly energetic workout with Shelagh, I noticed in the evening that she had developed hives on her back. They were like raised bumps where the fur had been pushed up. At first I thought she might have been bitten by a spider or mites, but I couldn’t find any bite marks. Her skin wasn’t broken anywhere. There was no redness or rash, just a raised bump here and there. She was in no discomfort. But she sure looked weird.

I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of poor Shelagh, she looked rather unsightly and not her usual beautiful self. But here’s an image from Google to give you an idea of what hives on a dog can look like:

ImageUploadedByPG Free1373214229.648756

Once again, Google came to the rescue. Yes, I know I could have taken her to the vet to be checked out…but the last time Shelagh went to the vet was to get “fixed”, and that visit cost us over $850. No, I’m not kidding.

Luckily, a few accurate keywords later, under “Causes of hives in dogs”, I found the answer on Google Images. Very handy, that. Did you know you can also upload an image to Google Images and it will find you similar hits?

So, it was some kind of allergy. Probably something in the soil and dirt that Shelagh had kicked up. I looked up treatments for dogs with hives, and found several sites claiming that Benadryl tablets helped relieve the itchiness and bumps.

My local chemist had Benadryl, but only in liquid form, and only meant for coughs. I enquired about anti-histamines, and decided to try Claritin Reditabs. (In Australia it’s spelled “Claratyne”, but elsewhere it’s spelled “Claritin”). The Reditabs are the sort that dissolve immediately in the mouth. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get Shelagh to take a tablet, as I’d never tried before.

Back home, I Googled “Claritin and hives in dogs”, and luckily found out that it is a safe product to use on canines. (Please do not take this as medical advice, always do your own research or consult a qualified professional first).

I popped out a Claritin tablet, got Shelagh’s mouth open, placed it on her tongue, and prepared myself for a battle of strength…which never came, as she simply let me hold her muzzle shut for the 5 seconds it took for the tablet to dissolve. What a beautiful, good girl she is!

That night, the hives were still on her back. But this morning, when we greeted each other with our usual enthusiasm, all the hives were gone. Hurrah! Thank You, Claritin!

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Chrysocolla – a crystal chameleon

My favourite crystal at the moment is Chrysocolla. For a while now, I’ve been drawn to its gorgeous colours…it has all the colours of Mother Earth. Shades of blue, green, red, brown, yellow, and everything in between. And it’s able to be like this because it has the ability to blend with other crystals, such as malachite, cuprite, azurite, turquoise, jasper, shattuckite etc.

imageChrysocolla-Malachite sphere

imageChrysocolla-Azurite-Gold ore

imageChrysocolla-Malachite-Cuprite

imageChrysocolla-Cuprite-Malachite

imageChrysocolla-Chalcedony

image
Parrot Wing Chrysocolla

imageChrysocolla-Shattuckite

imageChrysocolla-Malachite-Azurite

imageSunrise Chrysocolla-Cuprite

imageChrysocolla-Jasper-Azurite

imageChrysocolla-Azurite-Malachite

imageChrysocolla-Cuprite sphere

imageChrysocolla-Cuprite

imageChrysocolla-Silica

imageChrysocolla cabochon

imageChrysocolla-Shattuckite

imageChrysocolla-Cuprite

imageChrysocolla-Cuprite-Azurite

image
Poished and faceted Chrysocolla

imageChrysocolla from Peru

Here are some interesting facts about Chrysocolla:

(Source: http://www.crystalwellbeing.co.uk/catalogueitemschrysocolla.php)
Chrysocolla is said to bring peace to the mind and heart, to balance the emotions and to awaken compassion. It is tranquil and sustaining and is an aid to meditation and communication. It helps you accept with serenity situations that are constantly changing. It also inspires creativity, reduces mental tension and helps you keep a cool head.

Chrysocolla is an all round beneficial cleansing crystal. Placed on the Throat and Heart Chakras, it will calm, clear and balance them.

Chrysocolla can be used to get a clearer view of a problem. Lie down and place a piece of Chrysocolla on the throat or forehead. Think about an issue you wish to understand better, focus on a thought and then relax. Chrysocolla can aid you in allowing an answer or solution to appear in your conscious mind.

In healing Chrysocolla is said to treat PMS and menstral cramps and to help arthritis, digestive problems and throat infections.

(Source: http://crystal-cure.com/chrysocolla.html)
Chrysocolla is a very beautiful stone with many beneficial energies.

It is known as a healing stone among Native American Indian cultures where it was used for strengthening the body’s resistance and bringing about calm feelings where there is upset.

Chrysocolla is a stone of peace, increased wisdom, discretion.
It promotes level headedness, encouraging clarity of thought and a neutral, cool attitude during turbulence. It can be used to decrease nervousness and irritability.

Healing properties of Chrysocolla
Chrysocolla can be placed directly on the affected body part. Laying it on the forehead as a ‘third eye’ offers spiritual benefit.

Help with infections (especially the throat area)
Used by healers to detoxify the liver, lower blood pressure
Has a cooling effect for fever reduction
Can assist in speeding up recovery from burns
Alleviates cramps
Use with copper to increase the power of chrysocolla.

Sources of Chrysocolla
It is found in copper mining areas, particularly Chile, the former USSR, and Zaire.

(Source : http://www.bernardine.com/gemstones/chrysocolla.htm)
The gemstone Chrysocolla is often confused with turquoise. It is a copper bearing mineral found wherever copper deposits occur especially in areas of the southwestern USA, Chili, Zaire, Australia, France and England.

Eliat Stone is a variegated blue and green mixture of chrysocolla and other copper minerals found in the Gulf of Aqaba, near the northwestern end of the Red Sea”.

Pure chrysocolla is too soft for jewelry purposes but it is often found in quartz deposits which makes it hard enough to polish for cabochons. It is often found mixed with malachite, turquoise and azurite.

The drusy form of chrysocolla is a beautiful Robin’s egg blue. Pure chrysocolla is between 2.0 and 4.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness.

Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:

Creativity, female energy, communication, relieves ulcers and arthritis.

Chrysocolla is associated with tranquility and peace, intuition, patience, and unconditional love. It is thought to offer gentle and soothing qualities.

This entry, from my New Crystal Bible by Cassandra Eason, made me laugh out loud:

“Chrysocolla is the symbol of musicians; use as a charm to learn new musical instruments at any age or to join a choir, orchestra or theatre group and to have the confidence to perform in public. Chrysocolla is excellent for people of any age who act childishly, throw tantrums or refuse to accept responsibility, to bring maturity without losing a sense of spontaneity; hide the stone in the luggage or glove box of the car of a partner who is undergoing a mid-life crisis and has a roaming eye”.

Guess that’s my husband’s secret Christmas present sorted! 😄.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

I can hardly contain myself!

Well, I couldn’t help it, you know I love puns. I also like recycling and repurposing, and some time ago when I was researching beach huts and garden sheds, I also noticed a proliferation of container houses. It’s an intriguing idea alright. Perhaps some day…

Pinterest, my favourite go-to for visuals (Google for text based articles, Pinteresr for images), generously dished out these gems. Enjoy!

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part V

This is the final part of my “The Making Of” series, showing the last 18 cards of the Lenormand set. (Yes, there are 2 each of the Man and Woman cards, so substitutions can be made for same-sex relationship readings).

My “Moonshadow Lenormand” can be purchased on eBay and Etsy, via these links:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

And an explanation of the card meanings:

image

For further information about Lenormand, check out this list of recommended books and videos:

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part IV

Thank you for following my Lenormand Project so far. I had fun creating the cards, and also sharing the process with you all too. :)

Here then are the first 18 cards from the Moonshadow Lenormand:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

This will help with the meanings:

image

The “Moonshadow Lenormand” is available now on my eBay and Etsy shops:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part III

In Part I of this mini-series, I talked about how I created my Palimpsest templates. In Part II, I explained about the archetypal images used in the Lenormand cartomancy system and how I sourced my images. Now that I had both my Palimpsest templates and my photos/images ready, I was ready to start working on my Lenormand cards.

These are the Apps I used:
image

PicsArt – my main go-to App, has loads of clipart
Photo Editor – for filters and resizing
Litho – has a wealth of texture filters and lovely antiquarian clipart
Pixlr Express – lots of filters, including nifty inky borders
Photo Studio Pro – great clipart
Smoothie – great filters and effects
Snapseed – good for textures and grunge
Repix – I like this for the special effects
iMagic Pro Image – has useful clipart and filters
Photo Editor – has lots of full colour clipart, however resolution is low
AThumbCut – great for cutting out images to make your own clipart
Touch Retouch – indispensible for cleaning up unwanted areas of images

Here then is the secret of how I created my images:

THERE IS NO SECRET FORMULA

You just have to experiment with effects and filters, bounce from one App to another, try this and that, until you arrive at a result you’re happy with. It really is that simple. Mobile photography art isn’t something that can be taught. Anyone can show you Apps, but it’s up to you to learn how each one works, and decide which ones you want to keep in your stable of Go To Apps. Everyone has their own style, and therefore their own favourite filters and effects. These just happen to be my personal palette.

Enjoy! Here are just a few of my favourite images from my Project:

image

image

image

image

image

image

In the next 2 posts, I will show you the full deck, with explanations. So, watch out for Part IV and Part V, coming up next!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part II

And so, following on from Part I of “The Making Of the Moonshadow Lenormand” yesterday, here is Part II.

For those unfamiliar with Lenormand cartomancy, it’s basically a set of 36 cards, with or without playing card inserts. Some readers use the playing card inserts for further depth in their readings, for example to add nuance or to signify people other than the querent. Others regard the pips as a leftover and unneccesary effect from when the first Lenormand decks were created using actual piquet playing cards. Some modern decks do not even have the playing card pips.

The 36 cards, regardless of which artist or publisher, always contain the same archetypes. There are modern, whimsical artist decks with Halloween or Christmas themes, where the imagery is dark and spooky, or bright and festive, and where substitutions might occur…for example in a Halloween themed Lenormand deck, the 1st card, which is the Rider, might instead be The Headless Horseman. And for a Christmas themed Lenormand deck, the Rider may well be Father Christmas on his reindeer sleigh.

Here are the 36 cards in any traditional Lenormand deck, and their corresponding Archetypes:

1 Rider
2 Clover
3 Ship
4 House
5 Tree
6 Clouds
7 Snake
8 Coffin
9 Bouquet
10 Scythe
11 Whip
12 Birds
13 Child
14 Fox
15 Bear
16 Stars
17 Stork
18 Dog
19 Tower
20 Garden
21 Mountain
22 Crossroads
23 Mice
24 Heart
25 Ring
26 Book
27 Letter
28 Man
29 Woman
30 Lily
31 Sun
32 Moon
33 Key
34 Fish
35 Anchor
36 Cross

Here’s an image showing Titania Hardie’s Fortune Cards (Lenormand style) and the 36 cards arranged in a Grand Tableau.

image

When I first embarked on this Project or Journey, I knew I would encounter a few snags along the way. One of them was finding the archetypal images to go with the cards. Some of the more mundane images, e.g house, tree, clouds, birds etc were easy enough to source via my Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera i.e by taking actual photos. Others were not so easy…you just don’t come across foxes, bears or storks in your everyday meanderings. Or scythes and whips either. And I’d have to travel far to get a snapshot of a real maritime tallship or a mountain.

That’s where Google, Wikimedia and the beautiful term “Public Domain” come into play. I set up folders on my S4 camera roll to house archetypal images that I found online that were in the public domain. This means that I can then utilise these images in my work, without fear of stealing someone else’s copyright to them, as the original copyright owners have already voluntarily relinquished their rights to the image, i.e gifted it to the world, or the copyright has expired, 70 years after the death of the original artist/photographer/copyright holder. For example, I found that the copyright to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit illustrations expired in January this year, 2014. Similarly, John Tenniel’s illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and others of the same era, expired years ago.

Anyhow, I managed to cobble together my 36 archetypal images, and so began the real work – using my S4 and Apps to create the imagery for each card.

Of which more in Part III. ;)

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part I

Okay, folks have been asking me how I created my first Lenormand cartomancy deck.

This Project had me using a technique I had never even considered before. And it’s such an old technique, by today’s standards. By this I mean the use of a Scanner.

I’d been intrigued by seeing pictures of the Palimpsest Lenormand, by Bertrand Saint Guillain.

Palimpsest : masc. noun, A palimpsest (/ˈpælɪmpsɛst/) is a manuscript page from a scroll or book from which the text has been scraped off and which can be used again. The word “palimpsest” comes through Latin palimpsēstus from Ancient Greek παλίμψηστος (palímpsestos, “scratched or scraped again”) originally compounded from πάλιν (palin, “again”) and ψάω (psao, “I scrape”) literally meaning “scraped clean and used again”.
Source: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest)

Here’s a photo of some of Bertrand’s cards:

image
Here’s an explanation of how and why Bertrand created the Palimpsest Lenormand, taken from his site:

From realisation to the final picture
The drawing is made by hand on standard cards whose original picture has been partially or entirely covered (hence the name). The result is then photographed and slightly adjusted with an image manipulation program to harmonize the whole deck.

Instead of having an insert in the middle of the card, the standard card association is given by the corner indices.

I was strongly intrigued by the whole idea of using the Palimpsest method for my deck. I decided I would use it as a springboard for my own deck. Not copying Bertrand’s deck, but distilling the idea of Palimpsest and giving it my own creative twist.

I already had 2 decks of cheap playing cards, so I sacrificed one. And set to desecrating obliterating altering (hehehe) the central images of the cards with white gesso. I had no Tippex like Bertrand, but I had lots of Gesso to hand. Needs must.

I was coming from a mobile photographer’s point of view, so instead of following Bertrand’s technique of photographing the finished product, like he did, I knew I wanted a digital version I could then work on. So I simply gessoed the 36 cards I needed (reducing the playing cards deck from 52 to 36 by removing the cards numbered 2-5 from each suit) and then I scanned each card, one by one, on my trusty old workhorse, the Canon Pixma MX870 printer-scanner-copier-fax.

I then transferred the scans to my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which is essentially my studio. To do this, I first had to save the scans to a USB stick, then transfer them to my Mac, then from the Mac I used an App called Photo Transfer (funnily enough) to move them to the S4. Convoluted, but worth it.

Et voila! A Palimpsest deck of playing cards that can be used time and time again, as the template or background to my first Lenormand deck. Or any subsequent Lenormand deck, for that matter. I wasn’t too concerned about whether I’d completely covered the central images on each card or not, or whether I’d gessoed over parts of the side indices, as I like a bit of randomness. Besides, most of the central part of each card would be covered by digital imagery that I would superimpose on them.

image
The gessoed cards
image
Close-up of some of the gessoed cards.

Please bookmark this and check out Part II, coming up next, where I will explain how I then used my Palimpsest templates to create my Moonshadow Lenormand cards.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow