And if you were born in 1953, then this is your lucky year!
Other snake years include:
The water snake is:
Influential and insightful, who manage others well, tend to be good for organizations to utilize as staff. Motivated and intellectual, very determined and resolute about success. They will have what they desire, despite the conclusion or outcome they generate because it is worth it to them to not only be recognized for their efforts, but to be rewarded as well. They are affectionate with their families and friends but do not show this side of their personality to colleagues or business partners. Great plans to make some Year of the Snake charms using these porcelain snakes and auspicious stones to herald in the luck of the snake in 2013!
Several custom requests involving red coral these past couple of weeks has made me curious to know more about this deep red stone.
Of all my red stones, this is the truest real red! Collected from the skeletal remains of small sea creature called coral polyps, therefore coral is an organic substance and sensitive to both heat and acid.
Red coral is the most prized of the corals, and Greek legend claims that it was formed when drops of blood from Medusa's head splashed into the sea and solidified into coral after it was chopped off by Perseus.
I must admit I don't know how the coral I am presently using is collected, but after researching more about it, I am determined to check the source and ensure that future purchases of this lovely red stone are from a non-invasive collection of coral that has already been detached from the source, therefore not endangering the supply in the ocean.
Main sources for red coral are Japan and the Philippines.
I know, everyone who has made any type of anything with a Christmas tree uses that line...but how could I resist!
Wire wrapped Christmas trees topped by a star, not too flashy, not too dull, perfect for the holiday look!
Unique, beautiful, powerful! Agate slabs wire wrapped and accented with a prehnite stone, a carnelian star stone, and other smaller stones makes a lovely Christmas tree decoration...perfect to use in your house after Christmas is done. Agate- protective and powerful, carnelian- energizing and prehnite- anti-depression amulet!
Vist my etsy shop to reserve and create your own dreamcatcher ornament!
I love these meteorite stones, little pieces of heaven, like that song...Catch a Falling Star... Maybe I'll name this new piece Falling Star. Specially designed for my husband's birthday present from his family, featuring a single meteorite in the center surrounded by powerful and bold colors...fog quartz, larvikite, rainbow obsidian, crystal, dragon agate and onyx. Can't wait to see it on him!
Admittedly, mine didn't turn out quite as grand as the master's, but it'll do!
I took a few photos along the way, and honestly, this was a pretty fun project to do, esp since my lovely FB family got involved with ideas, suggestions, comments and overall lots of laughs!
So, here's the process I took to make my own version of the Stacked Tree Martha Stewart Style!
Clay was air dry and not baked, since none of my clay packages come in English and I worried about messing it up...
Clay: 350 yen ($4)
Found an affordable bottle of spray glue and white fairy glitter, some bamboo skewers (next time I'll use bamboo knitting needles! We snapped one skewer...)
450 yen ($5.50)
When it dawned on me I was going to have to cut about 500 or more squares, I scaled the project down to 4" - 3.5" - 3" - 2.5" - 2" - 1.5" squares, about 44 of each. No guillotine cutter for me, so I pulled out the quilt cutting supplies!
(had to pay the newspaper bill that day...3,000 yen!)
Squares all ready in piles for folding and skewering!
I searched, I really did search...for a bone knife! But, after a day dedicated to looking in 3 shops, including a 100-yen shop, decided to use my wooden fabric iron, it did the trick!
Bone knifed them in piles of about 10...
...and skewered them to the stick!
After adding glitter, I was stuck about the topper. I don't really care for stars...so settled on an organza ribbon bow...which works for me! Mine turned out a little 'squatter' than Grand Master Martha's, but heck, at least it looks close enough! Next time I'll do it with the full 50 squares of each size, and perhaps it will be perfection! But nothing ever beats the first result of a new project!
Total hours spent (including shopping??) -- 2 days or so?
Total cost: less than 1,000 yen, and I can probably make about 50 trees (would need more glitter though.)
Leather cord is integral to my pieces since it holds the whole thing together. I was happy to find a very reasonably priced supplier who has a great variety of colors and uses natural dyes. It takes about 10 -14 days for the leathers to arrive at my place, so as you can imagine, my orders are pretty large when I make them. Running out of leather is no fun!
This order arrived just in time too! Last week I received 2 orders that involved the dark blue leather...which I had 'just' run out of...so I was anxiously holding my breath that this package of leathers gets here safely and soon, which it did!
Also in the order were new reds (a metallic and a natural dyed), a new brown (tan), and a new pink to try out! Once Christmas is done, I plan to test them out in new stone patterns!
Three Christmas ornaments will be given to 3 random fans! Made from a wire-wrapped agate slab (color varies) and topped with a piece of prehnite, accented with a carnelian star stone, a lovely bit of color to add to your home decor.
Agate: protection Prehnite: inner knowledge Carnelian: energy
How to apply:
1. Be a fan (like the Off on a Whim page)
2. Like the post to let me know you want your name added to the pot!
3. Share this post to your page.
Random selection will be done on December 1st, 2012!
Anyone can enter, friends, family, customers, fans! Pass it along!
Japan doesn't really do Halloween...at least...not yet anyway! But that really hasn't stopped me from trying to stir my neighborhoods up into an evening of fun!
After about a month of planning out a Trick or Treat Event, we finally carry out the plan! The Weather God was good to us, gave us the perfect evening, thunder and lightning all around our hills, very very slight drizzle, but nothing near chilly or miserable as was last year's weather (and yes, that image was captured by my daughter on my point and shoot camera!) --
Approximately 60 kids showed up dressed in costume (well, most of them anyway!), this year's favorite costume being The Witch in many various degrees of color, coolness, blandness, glitter, cuteness and well, mostly cuteness...
But my Little Man and I decided to be unique! Angry Bird and Day of the Dead! Amazing what a bit of lipstick and eyeliner can do!
And one of our local British kids joined our more unique costume trend--
After a short gathering at the neighborhood park to practice 'Trick or Treat' with the kids, go over a few guidelines like good manners---and yeh, good manners was the main guideline!-- the kids divided into five groups headed by one of the American Halloween Party Committee members--
And off they were to collect enough snacks to last them a few days! We have some awesome neighbors, at least 40 houses, maybe more, gave out candy to noisy, spirited, excited children! All in all, it was a success!
Until next year! A few shots of dressed up little guys for your enjoyment---
I had a chance to use bloodstone for the first time last week. One of the pieces I was commissioned to create used a New Jade base (from what I understand, this is a Chinese jade, in a natural and undyed state, not as costly as Burmese Jade, but pretty in its own right), with accents of crystal and mother of pearl. As I was creating the bracelet, it felt like a small touch of dark green would work well to balance the colors, so threw in a single bloodstone between each pattern set.
The customer loved it (and so did a lot of other people!) fortunately.
Knowing relatively nothing about bloodstone, I took a bit of time to research it, discovering the name comes from the belief that it was formed from the blood of Christ dripping to the green earth, and indeed, the stone does look like a dark piece of green earth with specks of red blood in it. But the earlier Greeks called it heliotrope, and believed it brought about change. For ages it has been used as an amulet of protection against the evil eye and symbol for justice.
It has its healing properties as well, circulation of energy, aligning the centers of the body, aiding blood circulation, and people who want to increase the flow of life energy in the house should place some stones in various places around their home.
Mined in India, China, the US, Australia and Brazil.
I was so honored to be asked to be the Creator of the Month for the Creator's Cafe Newsletter! Here is a sneak preview of it, click the link for a better look at the article! Thanks to the staff at Creator's Cafe for this opportunity!
A display of my pieces in the Darvish Gallery Boutique at the Osaka Hyatt Regency Hotel! I'm so honored to have a little corner in their shop! This is their second order with Off on a Whim...each piece is one of a kind and will never be reproduced for any other customers.
The Autumn Equinox is soon upon us! Time for balance and cleansing, clearing out old, making way for new, preparing for the winter ahead!
Celebrate with a custom made bracelet made with stones that have been set out in the equinox day and night to soak up the energy of the earth and sky. Five spots available to reserve, for more details, visit my Etsy store!
I love free stuff and give aways! Esp. of something unique and not generated in a factory line-up! This week's giveaway from Origami Living is a lovely kimono brooch, which can be used for a shawl, or a decoration to your scarf (if I win, I have a gorgeous gray wool peacoat to put it on!). Easy to enter, just follow the link and check out the instructions! :)
I've been told that it's time to start planning your Halloween theme, now, in July, and some people even start their Christmas sales lines now too! I'm definitely not going to be ahead of the game this year! But, this adorable Halloween Felt ornaments started me thinking about it all!
Once upon a time, not too long ago actually, we had a rough year and Christmas was sort of sparse. I decided to save on wrapping paper and use newspaper instead. Gave the whole theme a sort of Charles Dickens-vintage-old fashioned feel, and since then I occasionally use newspaper to wrap something up. Pinterest today gave me a photo with a newspaper gift bag tutorial!
This Christmas hopefully won't be as sparse as that one in the past, but I may opt for some newspaper wrapping just for the fun of it!
When I was a wee lass, 11 or 12, my Aunt gave me a book about gomes, full of color, drawing, facts and stories. I treasured that book for years, but got parted from it when we moved away from the States. Visiting my family years later, I discovered that the book had managed to stay close to our family, sitting on the shelves of my sister's collection. I left it there for future nieces and nephews to enjoy, though once in awhile I wish I had dragged it across the world with me to a new home.
Recently I'm rediscovering a love for these little grumpy creatures. Colorful, cute, funny, hard-working, mysterious little woodland beings, I wish I had a few living in my yard!
This morning I put together a small treasury of Gnomes in the Garden on Etsy, a sweet little collection of little gnome people to brighten up the day!
Tuesday is my shopping day! Work that takes me into Osaka also takes me past some wonderful stone shops! This week I visited a new one and found some awesome deals! Burmese Jade, Aquamarine, Aventurine, and Rainbow Obsidian, but maybe my favorite discovery were some Larimar cabochons!
top to bottom:
Aquamarine AA grade
Two pendant sized Larimar cabachons, waiting for my imagination to figure out a use for them!
And then I finished off this custom order for a triple wrap with genuine turquoise, genuine silver and white howlite on red leather...The red sets off the other stones so nice!
Handsome men's piece custom ordered for a brother to a brother! I love this piece, both the opals and labradorite have a gorgeous inner glow, and the kyanite sets them off perfectly, set in a hematite and obsidian base, a very strong piece of art!