Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pre-Insanity Etsy Sale

Just a quick note – in honor of my 38th ride on a damp rock around a wee star, I’m having a 20% off everything sale in my Etsy shop!

Been putting off ordering a custom shrine?  20% off!  Want to remind yourself to do your roots or take your meds?  There’s a sticker for that and it’s 20% off!

Sale lasts through November 22nd.  I’m planning a couple of special deals for Black Friday, but they’ll be for specific items.  This one applies to everything in the shop including custom work!


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Pimp My Planner: You Say It’s Your Birthday

Greetings all!  Thursday is, as you might notice, my birthday, so I decided to just sort of run with the theme of celebration and change.  It’s also one of the last week’s I’ll be using this particular planner – though don’t worry, I’ll probably be back in it before too long.  I don’t plan on being (ha! sorry/not sorry for the pun) one of those ladies who have a dozen planners and switch out every week (mostly because I can’t afford it), but just when I think I’ve hit Planner Peace I see some new stickers or accessories for a different system than mine, and I end up switching from a binder to a coil-bound or back again like a madwoman.  That’s how it starts, guys.

Anyway, my new planner doesn’t start until December, so I have a couple more weeks’ worth of A5 Filo to play with.  Here’s this week’s (resources below):

2015-11-16 12

Wow, that picture turned out worse than I thought.  Sorry guys!  At any rate:

I drew the cake myself, as well as the date numbers and the “weekend” label. (Colored with Crayola colored pencils.) The TV stickers, To Do list (on Monday), Time Machine reminder, coffee cup, and Mothership reminder are all my designs as well.

The quote box stickers came from various places.  The typewriter, “dream big,” and butterfly are from Simple Stories’ Digital Collections.  I’m pretty sure all the washi came from Michael’s; the Hello Beautiful sticker is from the  Me and My Big Ideas Happy Planner line.  The kitty on a laptop came from Doodles First, an Etsy shop full of delightful clip art.  Lastly, the flag stickers up top (Hello Gorgeous, Sparkle & Shine, etc) are from the Reset Girl collection.

Have a great week – I should be back here at least once more this week to talk about the whole turning-38-thing.

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Five Ways a Planner Helps With My Well-Being

A lot of people don’t understand the whole planner thing.  It seems silly, maybe pointless, a waste of time and money that could be used actually doing stuff.

I can’t speak for all the other plannerds out there, but I can tell you that my seemingly silly and pointless hobby is very important to me as a person with a mood disorder and general inability to adult worth a damn.  Here are some reasons why that go beyond getting to the dentist on time.

2015-11-10 21

(Note: All hobbies are by nature silly and pointless to some extent. That’s why they’re hobbies.  Planning in itself is practical, but all the fun stuff we add to it is the hobby – and it’s no sillier than collecting stamps or playing fantasy football.  Personally I think it’s about a million times less silly than fantasy football, but that’s why football isn’t my hobby.)

1 – I track all of my symptoms.

People use planners for all sorts of things besides just keeping tabs on their appointments.

In my own planner I have a weekly mood tracker; it’s not detailed, but it lets me assign a number value to my overall mood and then watch it rise and fall.  I use a graph to make it visual – and I can extract all the data from months’ worth of trackers and plot out trends for months or years. I open my planner every day at least for a minute, and I remember to make note of how I felt that day.  That’s invaluable information when it comes time to see the doctor.

Not to mention, in your planner you can keep records of doctor visits so you can compare notes from one to another; and you can have a place to jot down questions for your health care professionals.  I know I always forget half of what I wanted to ask when I go in.  I can keep a list of my medications handy, a record of all the meds I’ve taken so if my doctor asks “Have you ever had…” I’ll remember if I have, and the contact information of all my various professional folk – all together and easily within reach.  It helps me feel less flustered at the doctor’s office.

2015-11-12 12.59.23

2 – I also keep track of what I’m doing to help myself.

Exercise, water intake, meals, meditation and/or prayer – not only can you plan what days you want to do what, you can keep an eye on how often you actually do them.

It’s also important to keep track of my meds – If I notice distressing symptoms the first thing I do is look to see whether I’ve missed a couple of days.

3 – I am able to see what I’ve accomplished during the week – and what I have to look forward to.

It’s easy, when you have depression or bipolar or similar, to forget that you actually do things, and that there are things coming up that you can get excited about. It doesn’t matter how big or small those things are.  Every little bit helps.

I have goal pages, too, which are a popular idea among planner people.  Not only can you write down big goals, you can break them down into manageable bites and then track those bites.  Looking back you can learn things about your personal habits and how they help or hinder your achievements.

4 – I feel more connected to my own life.

I often feel like I’m missing my life.  The days pass by in a blur and I have no idea what day or even what week it is. My planner acts partly as a bare-bones journal – I get a snapshot of what was going on at any given time.  (I keep old pages for a few months.)  You can also have space in the week where you actually do journal – even just a few lines recounting the high or low points of the day can make you feel better in the short term and be helpful in the long term.

Also, I can keep lists or other representation of things I’ve done all year – right now I have a page dedicated to movie ticket stubs, and another where I glue in images of the cover of each book I read (next to which I write down the date I finished it and how I’d rate it).

5 – It’s a low-stakes form of creative expression.

I think the part of planner love that gets the most funny looks is decorating.  Why spend all that time and use all that stuff just to make something pretty you’re not even going to need for more than a week?

I think that’s part of the draw, actually.  I can make my pages pretty, or ugly, or use a theme, or just be random, or doodle and color, or use stickers, and unless I post pictures of it, no one will judge what I do.  I can go online and share my layouts with others who love doing the same, and there’s community in that; or it can just be for me.  Regardless, it’s a non-intimidating way to be creative on a tiny scale.  A lot of people lack expression in their lives, but they think they’re not creative; the thought of creating a painting or DIY-ing something is scary when you’ve been told you’re not artistic.  But anyone can put stickers on paper.

Every week I sit down and decide on colors or a theme for the coming week’s spread.  I spend the afternoon on Sunday mapping out the next week’s activities (and TV shows), and then I make it pretty.  It helps me feel like a participant in my life instead of just a spectator.  I can track good things I do and bad things I feel, I can stay organized, and I can have fun.

Can’t beat that.



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Shrines, Shrines, Everywhere Are Shrines

I’ve been making mini shrines for years now, and have tallied up 77 individual pieces from all sorts of faiths.  I’ve done a wide variety of Hindu gods (Ganesh and Sarasvati are by far the most popular), but also the Virgin Mary, the Black Madonna, Spiral and Star Goddesses, Athena, Artemis, Mannan Mac Lir, Kali, Hecate, Isis, Anubis, concepts like Joy, House Blessing, Self-Love, Sea Goddesses, Tree Goddesses, Gaias, Persephones, Green Taras galore, and oh, so very many Buddhas.

I’m hoping to fulfill a frequent request soon and show a pictorial journey through making one of my Tiny Relics, but for now, here’s a slide show of all of them (or all the ones I have images of).

  • Tiny Tiny Shakti, Interior
    Tiny Tiny Shakti, Interior
    A mini Altoids tin gave this wee little Shakti drawing of mine a home. A few flowers and gifts lay at her feet, but mostly it's all about the color.
  • Shakti, Exterior
    Shakti, Exterior
    Tiny altoids tins don't leave a lot of room for fancy footwork; you have to choose beautiful papers, perhaps one embellishment, and go with it.
  • Shiva, Interior
    Shiva, Interior
    This was my first Shiva and still one of my proudest Tiny Relics. The inside is layered in 3 dimensions with flames of many colors, paper cuttings with jewels forming a door hanging, and a slot for the prayer card which can double as a sort of "altar mat" for a candle. Red jewels line the insides of the tin.
  • Shiva, Exterior
    Shiva, Exterior
    I love how aged this piece looks on the outside; it was some of the greatest attention to detail I've given a shrine's exterior.
  • Shiva 2, Exterior
    Shiva 2, Exterior
    A brass frame around the Om and lovely aqua paper cuttings over a dark red background made this one particularly striking.
  • Shiva 2, Interior
    Shiva 2, Interior
    I always enjoy a good Shiva. In this one I emphasized the fiery aspect of Shiva's dance and used glossy coating on the flames to make them brighter.
  • Sarasvati 3, Interior
    Sarasvati 3, Interior
    This was another one that required fewer embellishments and layering. I found a beautiful image of Sarasvati and used it as the focus, surrounding her with peacock colors and crystals.
  • Sarasvati 3, Exterior
    Sarasvati 3, Exterior
    This Sarasvati was made in a cigarette tin rather than an Altoids tin. The flatness presents different challenges. I went with a peacock theme and used a wide variety of papers and stamps.
  • Sarasvati, Interior
    Sarasvati, Interior
    Since shrine making was new to me at the time I used mostly precision-cut-out paper and a wooden lotus charm. She had a few flowers and crystals but mostly the emphasis was on her image and the Osho quote.
  • Sarasvati, Exterior
    Sarasvati, Exterior
    One of my earlier shrines, made for a dear friend's birthday.
  • Kali, Exterior
    Kali, Exterior
    A fairly simple arrangement that gives a calm outside to the storm of Kali within.
  • Kali, Interior
    Kali, Interior
    Kali stands among flowers and a bottle of sandalwood powder. The word "Begin" hovers nearby.
  • Sarasvati 1 - Interior 2
    Sarasvati 1 - Interior 2
    A better view of the books and bowls at her feet, with the prayer card tucked in its slot in the lid.
  • Sarasvati 1 - Interior
    Sarasvati 1 - Interior
    More trimming from inside that tea box coupled with some indian images; Wire again holds her flowers aloft. Sara also has a stack of books she's read a hundred times.
  • Sarasvati - Exterior
    Sarasvati - Exterior
    Sarasvati, being the patron Goddess of those in the creative arts, tends to dance in and out of my life. This was one of the first Saras I made, but it came out beautifully. The peacok came from a book of henna patterns, hand-colored by yours truly.
  • Ganesha 2 - Interior
    Ganesha 2 - Interior
    A traditional archway into Ganesh's little temple. Lots of gold, bringing light into Mr. Ganesh's little temple. Someone has already brought him gold coins and piles of flowers.
  • Ganesha 2 - Exterior
    Ganesha 2 - Exterior
    It's made from the first paper collection I ever bought, Marrakech - I used those papers until they were little more than rags. I love using red with Ganesh - red is an active color, and he's an active little dude.
  • Ganesha 1 - Interior
    Ganesha 1 - Interior
    Inside, Ganesha sits surrounded by jewels and treats, just the way he likes it, so he can toss jewels in passerby's purses and sweets to the children.
  • Ganesha 1 - Exterior
    Ganesha 1 - Exterior
    This happy lil' elephant God gets to ride around in a bright red carriage. He's been lucky! And now he gets to look out the window and see the world, or at least the inside of your purse.
  • Persephone 2 - Interior
    Persephone 2 - Interior
    Again we find Seph pondering her choices: The jar of arils, the climbing dark flowers of Hades. A raven sits at her side prodding her gently to admit she wants to stay. This shrine's lid had a pocket for tucking in prayers or messages.
  • Persephone 2 - Exterior
    Persephone 2 - Exterior
    Another of Seph, this one very similar but a tiny bit less ornate on the inside.
  • Persephone 1 - Interior
    Persephone 1 - Interior
    Persephone here was given a coat of Glossy Accents to kind of blur her features a little, suggesting she might lose herself in the underworld if she doesn't hold on to who she is. The jar of red jewels represents the pomegranate arils she ate that bound her to the Underworld. She is surrounded with sumptuous, if dark, beauty, and she has already secretly come to love it.
  • Persephone 1 - Exterior
    Persephone 1 - Exterior
    I also get a lot of requests for Persephone. She's my homegirl, so I don't mind at all. I like to bust out my inner goth for her - I use my velvet brocade papers, the ornate name plates, lots of red leaves and dark jewels.
  • Gaia 1 - Interior
    Gaia 1 - Interior
    One fun thing about doing Gaias is that you get to stuff the box full of fun Witchy stuff like stones, shells, real herbs (there's a sprig of lavender here), and in this case sand from Cozumel. I included another piece of original artwork, the Elemental Mandala, to show the balance of the Elements living within our precious ecosystem.
  • Gaia 1 - Exterior
    Gaia 1 - Exterior
    I've done a lot of Gaias, especially since I created the artwork to go in them. It seems to really resonate with people. Here, two metal decorative pieces give the shrine an organic feel before you even open it.
  • Athena - Interior
    Athena - Interior
    The client supplied the image she wanted, so I went from there - I gave Athena a small wooden owl as well as a silver charm; a bottle of oil; scrolls with words of wisdom; and some natural fibers and flowers to connect her both to civilization and her own inner wildness.
  • Athena - Exterior
    Athena - Exterior
    A dear friend commissioned a shrine to Athena when she was moving across country and needed a shot of courage.
  • Mini Buddha 4 - Interior
    Mini Buddha 4 - Interior
    Inside we have more trees, this time stamped on real Indian decorative paper. The Bood has enough space I could hang a lotus over his head, but I didn't give him much more embellishment; just a few flowers and some gems. He seemed happy in his little Bood Cave.
  • Mini Buddha 4 - Exterior
    Mini Buddha 4 - Exterior
    Totally different substrate this time, one of those cheap unpainted boxes I always seem to have a dozen of for no reason. This one seemed like the perfect home for a golden Buddha that was an awkward size for my Altoids shrines. I painted the box simply and covered top and bottom with a cheerful decorative paper.
  • Green Tara 1 - Interior
    Green Tara 1 - Interior
    Original artwork that for some reason I could *not* get to photograph that day. She's surrounded by sandalwood beads, henna-esque flowers and borders I drew, cut out, colored, and covered in Glossy Accents to give them shine, and has her mantra both in Tibetan (below her) and phonetic Sanskrit (in the lid).
  • Green Tara 1 - Exterior
    Green Tara 1 - Exterior
    I have a certain kinship with Green Tara, so I find myself making shrines for her a lot. This one grew like a living thing. The artwork on the front is actually the inside drawings from a box of Yogi tea, colored with my Prismacolors. The name plate says "compassion," Tara's stock in trade.
  • Mini Buddha 3 - Interior
    Mini Buddha 3 - Interior
    This little guy got a more organic setting; flowers surround him, and leaves above suggest tree branches, but he's also got a little dragonfly friend. The lid boasts a simple definition of "Joy" and some more butterflies.
  • Mini Buddha 3 - Exterior
    Mini Buddha 3 - Exterior
    Third in the series - in my favorite colors of teal and turquoise. Another lotus pendant on the front.
  • Mini Buddha 2 - Exterior
    Mini Buddha 2 - Exterior
    Same general idea as the first one - a tree pendant affixed to the front, this time with a green color palette and some white flowers.
  • Mini Buddha 2 - Interior
    Mini Buddha 2 - Interior
    Another repurposed pendant, but since he was smaller I had a little more space to decorate. A glowing white blossom hangs over Buddha's crown chakra; this time he's surrounded by paper flowers I drew and cut out, then covered in Glossy Accents to give them stiffening and a shine. Tiny gems remind me of fireflies in the tree.
  • Mini Buddha 1- Exterior
    Mini Buddha 1- Exterior
    Orange tones in scrapbook paper with a touch of green, and red cord around the outer edge. A lotus pendant finishes off the lid.
  • Mini Buddha 1 - Interior
    Mini Buddha 1 - Interior
    A Buddha pendant given new life in his own little meditation cave - he sits in front of a tree, surrounded by butterflies and flowers. These mini Altoids tins don't leave much room for ornate embellishment, but they always end up being among my favorites. Short mantras and verses are best.
  • Brave Box - Interior 1
    Brave Box - Interior 1
    Since anything around the interior edges of the lid would be pressed against the box when it closed, I kept it simple with a few butterflies and one of my favorite song lyrics.
  • Brave Box - Exterior 2
    Brave Box - Exterior 2
    I added a bonus mini notebook to the purchase of the Brave Box; it was made with the same paper collection so it would be a good place to write down prayers or affirmations that then go in the box.
  • Brave Box - Exterior 1
    Brave Box - Exterior 1
    Another departure from my norm; I made this a prayer box rather than a shrine, leaving the box itself empty and focusing on the lid. A Sucrets tin, covered in paper and fussy-cut butterflies and flowers from the same collection.
  • Delight Shrine - Interior
    Delight Shrine - Interior
    My first experiment with creating a shrine that can't be closed. The lid was removed and glued to the bottom to create a sort of "front porch" for the shrine; that meant I didn't have to worry about whether the lid could shut. I based the shrine on a quote from yoga teacher Sadie Nardini: "You were born to delight in your life." The whole shrine is meant to express joy: there are painted wood veneer pieces, lots of flowers and butterflies, gems, all sorts of sparklies. It too still lives with me, so if you're interested, see my Etsy shop.
  • Anubis - Interior
    Anubis - Interior
    I didn't have any way to make a statue or figure of Anubis, so I printed out multiple layers of an image the client sent me and glued them together to give him some backbone. The papyrus flowers are also wired, as with Isis, but the wire runs behind the stems here instead of serving as stems. I wanted Anubis to feel like he was at home in a tomb, but not in some dank cheerless place - gold and jewels and glitter surround him as well as stones like lapis and carnelian.
  • Anubis - Exterior
    Anubis - Exterior
    Since we're in Egypt already: a friend commissioned a shrine to Anubis a long time ago. It was one of my first pieces not done for an immediate loved one, and I was nervous, but she loved it. I used those same artist papers for the outside as I did years later on Isis.
  • Isis - Interior
    Isis - Interior
    Original artwork of the goddess Isis. She is surrounded by "papyrus" flowers (mounted on wire so they'd stand up straight), a jar of honey, sand (not from Egypt, but sand all the same), and gems and resins. She holds a gem as a symbol of her prowess as a sorceress.
  • Isis - Exterior
    Isis - Exterior
    Layers of handmade paper and a printed background from a collection of Egyptian artist papers. Ankh was a big cheap pendant from Michael's. I thought it deserved better.
  • Moon Tree Goddess 2 - Interior
    Moon Tree Goddess 2 - Interior
    I like using this same Hafiz quote for these Moon Trees; don't know why, it just felt appropriate. This one has a wee mirror rather than affirmation cards; the goddess herself is surrounded by fluorite chips. Fairly simple, but elegant in my mind. These always fly off the shelves.
  • Moon Tree Goddess 2 - Exterior
    Moon Tree Goddess 2 - Exterior
    The first of this series, also in a Sucrets tin. Using the deeper tin also lets me work more with shadow and light - it's important not to overcrowd your focal point or she'll disappear into the recesses of the tin.
  • Mermaid Shrine - Interior
    Mermaid Shrine - Interior
    An unusual piece built from an old cigarette tin instead of mints or cough drops. It was six inches square and only half an inch deep, so I had to be careful with the embellishments. The mermaid is original art; she's surrounded by charms, bottles of sea glass and beach sand from Cozumel, and chain meant to suggest an anchor or boat.
  • Moon Tree Goddess 1 - Interior
    Moon Tree Goddess 1 - Interior
    Original artwork; this image has been used in several of my pieces. I usually work with fluorite chips and similar colors with this goddess. This one has affirmation cards that can be tucked into the lid.
  • Moon Tree Goddess 1 - Exterior
    Moon Tree Goddess 1 - Exterior
    A Sucrets tin rather than Altoids; Sucrets tins are smaller but deeper, allowing for more three-dimensional items to be included in the shrine. A silver pendant forms the front piece.
  • Star Goddess 1 - Interior v2
    Star Goddess 1 - Interior v2
    A closer view; the floor of the shrine is lined with chipped quartz, and hand painted and stamped paper forms the background in the lid.
  • Star Goddess 1 - Interior
    Star Goddess 1 - Interior
    Inside, the Goddess wears stars in Her hair and sits upon a crescent moon. The Charge of the Goddess is included as a tuck-in card.
  • Star Goddess 1 - Exterior
    Star Goddess 1 - Exterior
    There have been several versions of this goddess, as I adore her. Outside is calm blue and black with a silver-painted moon and gems.
  • Spiral Goddess Shrine, Exterior
    Spiral Goddess Shrine, Exterior
    (The coaster is not connected to the tin.) Wood veneer piece painted silver over hand-painted and stamped papers.
  • Spiral Goddess Shrine, Interior
    Spiral Goddess Shrine, Interior
    Altered Altoids tin, based on a similar custom order. Original artwork, with offering bowl and lots of butterflies. Moon in the lid allows a prayer card or invocation to be tucked inside.

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Pimp My Planner – It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Crazy Lady!

It’s Superhero (or metahuman, depending on which universe you’re in) week here at Sylvan’s planner.  A while back I got the cutest superhero washi, and then later I found some painfully adorable Chibi Avengers tape – little bitty Coulson chasing Cap with flag heart-thoughts just kills me, as does Black Widow’s “eh, whatever, I just work here” kind of shrug and Fury’s “these motherfuckers are on my last nerve” expression.  Obviously the two tapes needed an epic team-up.

I drew the days of the week; most of the wee images are from Sweet Stamp Shop.  The two little heroes came from a multi-holiday-type set.  I decided there are far too few girl heroes out there, so I turned the boy image into a girl (the darker-skinned kiddo started out as a Robin lookalike).  I sure as hell wouldn’t wear a dress if I were a superhero.


Have a super week…

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