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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blog,Blog,Blog and Blog Some More

Blogging has somehow taken over my life. It all started so innocently with my first blog " the Cyberangel Chronicles", which was just to be a personal diary of sorts to keep track of my convoluted life. Then I decided I needed a platform to share all my knowledge, so Wyldestone Cottage was born. After blogging here for awhile , I decided that I was really writing about two completely different topics on this one. Some posts were about my new floathome and other posts were about alternative health care/green living. I decided that might be too confusing for my readers, so have decided to split Wyldestone Cottage into two different blogs.

I would like to introduce you to my latest creations:
the eclectic ark - all about building my floathome for free and decorating with recycled treasures
with craft tutorials and recipes

sage advice - posts on alternative health care, ways to save the environment, and healing for the mind, body and soul

I have reposted a good number of the posts that I had originally written on Wyldestone Cottage to the appropriate blog and will be adding lots of new content in the near future.

I have worked on these blogs with the intention of reaching a greater audience. I would love it if you can find a way to follow and share them through facebook and twitter.

I used to have a good quality camera that I loved. Unfortunately, it up and died on me one day a few years ago. I was told it would be cheaper to buy a new one than to fix it..... I was not impressed with that statement as the camera cost me over a thousand dollars. I think for that price they should last forever, but I guess the digital age comes with an expiry date!

Anyways, I was in Future Shop the other day, and for a lark decided to see what kind of credit they would give me. I lucked out and they ok'd me for 1,500.00. Now normally I don't want anything to do with credit, I'm all about... save up and pay for it in cash if you really want something. However, I need my cash flow too much these days for paying off the house and getting material for reno's, so decided to bite the bullet and get a camera on credit so that I have something decent to take pictures with for the blogs.

So I am now the proud new owner of a Canon Rebel T3 with an extra telephoto lens. As soon as I have read the ten-pound owners manual and figured out how to operate the thing, I hope to be bringing you much better quality photos for the blogs. Thanks for reading and sharing my life with me, I value each and every one of you.

Cheers, Rhianna

Please take a minute to check out my new blogs and find a way to follow and share them, much appreciated, thanks for being awesome!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Practice of Tonglen - Compassionate Meditation

Today is March 17, 2011 and all over the world people are experiencing more turmoil in their lives then perhaps ever before in the history of mankind. Natural disasters, wars, revolutions, unstable governments, rising prices of everything... we are all standing on the edge of a precipice and the fear is palpable.

 I am reposting an article I found about the practice of Tonglen. I think that this is a good tool to ground ourselves, find our balance in the chaos and reflect back the kind of world we would like to see. I truely believe that our thoughts affect our environment, so make them positive thoughts and see what happens, create the shift that is needed for the world to come back to light and peacefulness.


For compassion to exist in our hearts for others, we have to embrace it first in ourselves.

Compassion is about caring for those who are fearful, bitter, enveous or overwhelmed by the daily contradictions of the heart, mind & soul. At it’s core are arrogance, pride, and all those traits that seperate us from one another. To understand their pain takes a willingness to find these things in ourselves. Our attitude toward inner reflection must originate from a core that is willing to see in the mirror a reflection of those things we do not like about ourselves. Instead of running or hiding from them, we must instead open our hearts and allow ourselves to feel the pain, feel it in a way that creates a transition from seeing to feeling to embracing all that makes us truly human. It is in our frailties that we truly see ourselves for who we are.

The practice of Tonglen is a means of connecting with a suffering heart—ours and that which is part of the global landscape. It is a process that helps us overcome our fear of all things painful by offering it’s polar opposite energetically into the world as a counter-weight. It is in essence a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us no matter how cruel or cold we as a creation might become.

 To begin, imagine taking on the sorrow/pain of someone we know to be hurting and who we wish to help. As an example, if you have a friend or co-worker who seems down or in a state of flux, breathe in the wish to take away their pain and fear. As you exhale, send that individual happiness, joy or whatever you feel would relieve their pain. This is the core of Tonglen practice: breathing in the bitter taste of human suffering while exhaling the sweetness of love, compassion & hope. Do not be suprised as you first begin this practice that you have difficulty, because Tonglen forces you to come face to face with your own fears, frustrations, anger, or any other issues which might arise at that moment.

If you indeed find yourself at an empasse attempting this exercise, change your focus and begin to do Tonglen for what you are feeling and for the millions of others just like you who at that very moment in time are feeling exactly as you are. If you are able to pinpoint that which is overwhelming you, name it. Clearly embrace it for what it is; whether it be lonliness, revulsion, bitterness or even a sense of depression. Breathe in for all those caught in the same cycle of suffering you find yourself in, while sending out relief or whatever opens up the space for yourself and all those you offer peace. If you can’t name what you’re feeling, allow what you feel to speak to you. If you feel a tightness in your stomach, a sense of pervading darkness or whatever else your body speaks to you. Embrace what you’re feeling and breathe it in, taking it in for all, while sending out relief to all at the same time.

It is often said that this practice goes against the very grain of how we usually live day-today. In all honesty it does just that as it attempts to seperate us from wanting things on our own terms, of wanting it to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. Tonglen dissolves the armor of self-protection we’ve tried so hard to create around ourselves. In Buddhism one would say that it dissolves the fixation of our clinging Ego.

The practice of Tonglen challenges our natural instinct for avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure while at the same time liberating us from the prison of selfishness. We begin to feel a deep sense of love both for ourselves and others the more selfless our imaginings become. Our sense of compassion is awakened as we realize that we are but a small footprint on the human landscape. It galvanizes for us in a very real way the unlimited power of the mind, while opening a sense of freedom to both the heart and body. The more we embrace the practice, the more we begin to connect with the openness of the universe which in her own way removes the obstacles that had been blocking us.

Tonglen can be offered for those who are ill, who are dying or have just died, or for those experiencing pain of any kind. It can be done either as a formal meditation practice or something practiced in the moment. For example, if you’re out walking and you see someone in pain —right on the spot you can begin to breathe in their pain and send some out relief. You can do Tonglen for all the people who are just like you, for everyone who desires compassion but instead embraces fear, for everyone who wishes to be brave but instead is a coward.

Rather than beating yourself up, use your own frailties as a stepping stone to understanding what people are up against and breathe in all their fears while breathing out a sense of hope for all. Allow your prayer to be the antidote for all the poison the world throws at you. Use your personal suffering as a path to compassion for all beings.

in peace,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Collections -Pill Boxes and Snuff Bottles

What is it about the human species, that we love to collect things? Some people just choose one thing to focus on but the majority of us probably have a few collections going on at the same time. I know I do.

 My books are probably my biggest collection. I would estimate I have around 3000 books ( and those were just the ones I kept, I've read alot more than that!) Over time I have built a library of self sufficiency. I have books on gardening, raising livestock, herbal medicine, off-grid living, alternative medical treatments, first aid, arts, crafts, survival skills, self-help, spirituality and alternative lifestyles. I'd probably have alot more but most of my reading has been online for the last ten years which has kept me out of the bookshops.

Musical instruments is another interest of mine. Years ago when I lived in a large home in town, I used to host music jams twice a month. I had as many as 60-70 people at my house all playing something. My weapon of choice was the hand drum and percussion instruments like shakers etc. At one time I had quite a large collection of drums but sold ten of the best ones to pay for my van which at the time I desperately needed for work. I still have a handful of drums and a large basket filled with shakers and noise makers of all kinds. I also used have 5 guitars ranging from 12 string acoustic to electric and bass. They have long  since been sold off and I am down to one crappy thrift store 6 string. I can't really play any more as the callouses don't go over well in my line of work ( massage therapy)

I also have collections of painted rocks, candlesticks, funky lamps, cherubs, dishes and bells which will be the subject of other posts once my renos are done and I can finish unpacking.

Today's post is brought to you by pill boxes and snuff bottles.

The other day I was looking on Craigslist and found an ad for 14 pill boxes for ten dollars ( the whole collection, not each). I couldn't resist a deal like that so went and picked them up. I have one of those old printers drawers with tons of cubbyholes and I was looking for something small to put in them. These seemed like a good a choice as any. I also had a few snuff bottles and other tiny containers kicking around so rounded them up for a photo shoot. Here's my collection so far, now I have something else to keep an eye out for when I am thrifting!

I'm not sure if any of these are worth anything, but of the bunch these two looked the oldest

Here's the rest in the box they came in

This one is inlaid abolone shell ( or Paua shell if your from New Zealand) and mother -of -pearl
A teenie, tiny cloisonne apple that opens up
A beautiful tigers eye set in a heavily carved box that I don't think is gold, but it doesn't look anything like modern day brass

A small wooden box with a ship painted on it
The tigers eye again
A sea shell with a tin top

A beautiful enameled box

A very tiny woven basket

 This one is my favorite, a small silver box with abalone lid

Mother of pearl
Mother of pearl and abolone

A painting of a seated woman

Not sure what this stone is, Jasper maybe?
I noticed when I tured it around that the natural markings in the stone almost look like a painting of mountains and a valley

 This is the bottom of the same box, very heavily etched
A silver box I bought in China, love the heavy relief carving of dragons!
A bone snuff bottle that I have owned for over thirty years. If it wasn't an antique when I bought it, it's on it's way to becoming one
Bone and silver snuff bottle found at the thrift store the other day

A tiny container carved from a tagua nut
Small brass and enamel boxes with creme perfume in them

Now just have to find that shelf so I can display them all!

So what do you like collect? and why?

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Dream Closet Comes to Life

Due to a lack of funds and no heat in my house over winter, renos have been going slowly. I haven't really minded as it has given me more time to live with the space and really think how to best use it. The last few weeks have been warmer so I have finally started some projects. I am a little reluctant to post about them because they are not completely finished but thought I should put an update on here.

 If you followed my other blog you probably weren't keeping count but in a space of 4 years, I moved seven times. As a result, I kept packing up my clothes, then as each new season rolled around and I couldn't find suitable clothes to wear, I would hit the thrift stores and stock up. Well twelve seasons later and I now have the equivelent of a small store worth of clothes. What to do with them all, where to put them??

The house has two smallish bedrooms upstairs, one at each end of a long windowless space that is 40 feet long by about 16 feet wide with sloping ceilings. Neither bedroom has any storage whatsoever, no closets, shelves etc. I decided to build a walk-in closet in one third of my attic space.
I really had to think about how I was going to do this as the ceiling is not high (six feet) and I wanted to leave a walkway down the center for ventilation and access to the (future) bathroom.

Here is the before of my attic cave. I cleared away the front third of this room

This is the before view looking in from my bedroom door

Standing in the room and looking to the right wall

 Standing in the room and looking back at the wall with the entrance. The shelf unit was a freebie from Craigsist.
There were about 10,000 staples in the wood which I spent about a day removing and then used a metal scraper to smooth over any bits of wood that were loose or protruding. I can't afford fancy wallcoverings so am just going to paint the OSB panels.

Two coats of primer and one coat of paint later and it's definately looking brighter in here now.
Beside the shelves is a hanger for my belts. On the left wall is my shelf for hanging short clothes. I got the white wire shelves for free on CL and bought ceiling hooks and chain to suspend them from the ceiling.

Another short shelf for jackets was suspended at a 90 degree angle from that one. I bought the chain as one long length and had Dave use a zip cut disc on an angle grinder to cut the chain where neccesary.( I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to sparks, so let him do that job!)
Another long shelf was added to hang all my long clothes

And here is the after... ( bear in mind, I'm not finished, eventually there will be a wall behind the dresser and the rest of the attic will get painted as I shuffle my boxes of stuff around)

This is the view from the entrance. The white dresser was a $25 CL find and has a full length mirror. The drawers hold my underwear, bras and socks. I have added a wicker seat to sit and put on shoes. The shoes are all on shelves to the left.

In between the shoe shelves, I have hung a small shelf with hooks to hang all my purses.

Behind the seat is the hallway that continues through the attic, on the other side of that is all the hanging clothes. The rack in front has hooks on the left with scarves on it and long dresses on one side. The backside is fancier dresses and seasonal things like suba suit, ski suit

Sorry for the blurry picture( don't have lighting installed up here yet...probably have to go with inset potlights as there is no headroom for a hanging fixture) This is a look at the backside of the long clothes on the left, coat rack in front and the short rack on the right.

The shelf is fully loaded with all my pants, sweaters and tops.
It looks amazing in person, the pictures don't really do it justice. There is ample room to walk around everything. It looks like a small store. I am LOVING it!! It is so awesome to walk in and easily see everything in a glance. Picking out an outfit and getting dressed is a snap now.

Stayed tuned for the continuation of these renos. I will be building a linen closet behind the right side of this closet and a bathroom behind that with another smaller walk-in closet behind that. The left side of the attic behind the dresser will be a large storage area and a flight of stairs to finish things off.
 Just have to wait for the last gasp of winter to pass us by, supposed to go to minus 16 tonight , brrr.

Linking to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday