On his mission

If I were forced to make a difficult choice and select one of the million plants to heal the bleeding world, it would be yarrow. This common and widespread plant with small white flowers and easily recognizable feather-like leaves has been always powerful aid to those who suffered bleeding injuries.

Perhaps because of its botanical name Achillea millefolium I have yarrow permanently associated with the mythical warrior, the Greek hero Achilles. Born from an immortal goddess and a mortal king, Achilles had the best teachers for a wide range of disciplines, not just for warfare.

I have forgotten a lot, but I remember that one of his teachers was the wise centaur Chiron, who taught him even the basic of medicine. Prudent decision, which could save life or limbs, definitely increased the chance to survive frequent battles.

Achilles had a mythical power and only one small vulnerability, yarrow as well. Besides the huge ability to quickly stop bleeding, yarrow disinfects, improves digestion, helps with women’s difficulties, but must not be used for long periods. Yarrow is a first line warrior, having a range of after-care medical plants behind him.

My drawing should be a honor to the healing ability of yarrow, but finally I put more energy into the part representing the pain of bleeding world. Is there enough yarrow to heal it?

Love, Ivana

Sewing shoes

After I had a hard time sewing moccasins, I decided to make something easier to get my enthusiasm and courage back before finishing them. And are there easier shoes than sandals? I doubt. So sandals were my choice, the medicine of self-confidence.

I had slightly thicker leather this time, but surface treatment was different, much more suitable for sewing shoes, which was a great experience and lesson. Not only thickness matters!

Another good experience is that having real pattern worth! Unlike the moccasins, I spent time preparing 3D duct-tape pattern exactly on my foot. It’s nothing complicated and thanks to it all the sandal parts fit perfectly.

The only problem was material shortage. Originally, I bought this small piece of leather to make a tablet case with the intention to make a simple zentangle drawing on it. Then I changed my mind for sandals instead. And you can imagine the difference in material demands between shoes and a small tablet case 😊

Finally, I so-so put the pattern down on the piece of leather, using  every available scrap. Actually, I would like to have tapes over my instep longer, but there was no more to take.

After cutting all the leather parts and sewing them together (with a great help of awl) I glued the leather insole to the sole, which I cut out according to the pattern, using a 6 mm thick shoe sole rubber sheet. I left the glue work for 24 hours with a heavy load on top of it.

sandal_in_mirrorThe final step was to place hook-and-loop fasteners and the work was done! Not perfect, but pretty good I would say. I didn’t break any needle and didn’t cause any injury 😀

Your comments and improvement recommendations are welcome!

Thanks for reading,

Ivana

A little handcrafting

Recently I decided to buy a new wallet because the old one was getting old and ugly. Easy peasy you would say. But I found bugs on each available wallet as if I didn’t want to really buy it or I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the old one. I felt to be in a “rubber” mood when everything looks sticky and tails back. Exactly the right time for the third (alternative) way!

And it came to me suddenly – I could make the wallet by myself! An excitement came along with the idea, so I was a step away from realization.

Although I have never worked with leather, I bought a small piece of wasted leather, a special needle and thread, made up a pattern, and the project began.

It cost me a lot of patience and even pain caused by a rebellious needle, but finally I succeeded! My first crafting experience with leather has materialized into a product I can use every day and be proud of it despite all the imperfections.

The result brought me to a more ambitious idea – I could sew simple leather shoes!

Then I remembered how much I desired to have Native Americans moccasins in my teen age. At that time I wasn’t interested in dress and makeup like my girl schoolmates, but I read a lot of books, especially adventures of the America settlement era. One of my heroes was Apache Chief Vinnetou from the books of Karl May and from there came my teens’ desire to have moccasins like he had.

I kept the wish for moccasins secret because my reasonable part considered such desire foolish even at that age. But today? Everything’s possible! And I could make the moccasins by myself!

So I bought another piece of wasted leather and the project number 2 began. It took me a long time to make up the pattern with a minimal amount of leather, but I succeeded. This led me to expect that all other steps would be as smooth as in the previous project, which turned out to be false.

Within the first few hours I broke two needles, even though they were specifically designed for leather sewing. The second accident almost caused me an injury, so I took a break.

I still wish to have the moccasins, I want to buy another needle, finish my project and walk in the shoes I made myself. But I also feel doubts and need encouragement.

Maybe the teens’ desires belong to the past and it’s better to keep them there and focus on the present desires instead. What do you think?

With love,

Ivana

Rose of my heart

Many call it weed, complain about ugly smell of blossoms, but they run to it for help in case of heart weakness. Yes, I’m talking about hawthorn (Crataegus) from the Rosaceae family.

I love hawthorn since childhood, mom taught me to know its taste and healing value. To be honest, I prefer hawthorn to a thousand beautiful roses. All the fragrant roses fit into well kept gardens around noble houses, but it’s not me.

I have a thorny nature and hard stone inside. More likely you can meet me on a walk in the forest or wild nature than elegant in the city or artistic garden. I can do it as much as hawthorn. There are cultivars that grow in urban parks, but they almost lost their healing effects through breeding.

I spent a long period of my life in a busy city and I wasn’t unhappy. But I was slowly losing my basic essence, which was pointed out by my physical body. When I was finally willing to admit it and change my lifestyle, the body began slowly to recover.

My whole lifestyle has changed from busy to slow but I have time to see the beauty of life in great details and enjoy it better. From time to time I watch things that I already knew as a little girl. And that’s why I devoted my colorful drawing to all the hearts and healing power of weed roses like hawthorn.

Love, Ivana

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As I was born and grown in the communist Czechoslovakia behind the “iron curtain”, I didn’t have a clue about Patrick’s Day for a long period of time. We’ve been taught and brainwashed about great soviet heroes and holidays instead.

Fortunately, we were allowed to keep some of the old myths, legends and fairy tales as well, especially if they didn’t sound too religious. And so we got the hidden wisdom through elves, fairies, witches and other fairy-tale beings.

One of those mythical characters is Vodyanoy – a completely green creature that rules over the waters. Because we don’t have a sea in my country, Vodyanoy usually lives in ponds, lakes or deep river bays. He looks elegant, prefers green or red top hat and has a tailcoat, from which the water is always dripping. We really have a lot of stories where Vodyanoy appears. Some Vodyanoys are good or cute, others are evil and scary, but you can easily recognize them because of green color and water, dripping from their clothing.

The reason, why the Vodyanoy myths came back to me in these days, was the last prompt on Deviant art. The challenge was to draw a green picture in honor of the St. Patrick’s Day. I tried to fulfill my intention, celebrating the Irish heritage. I drew for hours but the mind didn’t flow in the Irish mood at all. So much green has caused to me to see more Vodyanoy, sitting in a really green pond.

I would say that no matter how many things you learn in life, cultural roots remains with you for ever. What do you think?

Thanks for reading and extra warm greetings to all Irish people! 🍀

With love, Ivana

Fighting with nightmare

I like to draw. I like the moment with pencils when my imagination blows out. Sometimes I have a precise intention, and sometimes I let things go to be surprised by the result. Playing with the subconscious is fun and deep at the same time.

But drawing isn’t my hobby since childhood. Of course I did draw at that time, perhaps only until school. Then the system was trying to form my skills, telling me how much wrong I was. And believe me, I was!

Luckily I had other skills to develop, so I didn’t suffer much because of drawing bad. I had other things to enjoy and erased my need to draw from the mind. Before 40, the suppressed need woke up and started to fill my hungry hole.

Sounds the story is done, right?

But I quickly discovered that although I draw happily and felt free, in fact I had avoided drawing people all the time. And if I did it, it was a real nightmare. Finally I decided to fight with it!

Since January, I have been engaged in learning how to do it. My goal is not to reach professional skills, I just want to overcome my fear and remove the obstacle of the free self-expression.

The drawing above is the last practice and I believe that the head finally got the right proportions! What do you think?

With love, Ivana

Happy birthday, late Aquarius!

I love the light tone of their creative mind, strong intuition, sense for freedom and friendship at the same time, and of course their unique style of living, in any case original.

I admire many specific features of Aquarius, knowing that it’s not easy to live with all of them.

The natural tendency to independence might help in the career but it doesn’t help in keeping comfortable family life except the partner is mega-tolerant.

The same can be said about the playfulness that attracts a lot of people who want a good entertainment at any time.

To the group you can count the strong intellect and extensive imagination that create bold theories and visions and also attract enemies and opposition.

Having Sun in Aquarius doesn’t mean that your personality cannot be serious or partner-oriented. All of us are mosaic of planets and nobody is ruled by a single zodiac sign.

For example, I have Saturn in Aquarius in my native chart and works there in the area of my beliefs and philosophy. Considering that Saturn represents the inner order, we could say that my order of basic beliefs sounds pretty liberal because of Aquarius.

Love, Ivana

P.S. Sending special birthday greeting to Lydia from Canada.