I’ve been so busy moving, I haven’t blogged about much else in a while, so here’s a quick news update on other things happening to me:
Batik and Prayer Flags
I had a great time at the Summer Conference last week. In between Dr. Fagerberg’s great lecture on the liturgy and Fr. Jeremy’s stories about the 2012 synod (which he pronounces sin-id) I took an art class to give my brain a break–batik fabric dying.
Batik, for anyone not familiar with it, is a process of dripping wax on cloth, then dying it in different colors. It’s sort of a cross between Ukrainian Easter Eggs and Tie-dye. I did it last year at the conference, a Holy Spirit dove that worked out pretty well, and Ina (the teacher of the course) and I talked about how all the designs hanging up looked like prayer flags. This led to a discussion about actually making prayer flags with batik, something I had planned ahead of time to do this year.
Traditional prayer flags feature five animals, the windhorse, the dragon, the snowlion, the tiger, and the garuda (a bird-like creature). The windhorse is usually put in the center of each flag, a symbol of the wind that blows through the flags and carries the prayers out across the earth. The four other animals (the Four Dignities) each represent a different element and aspect of the earth. For my Christian prayer flag, I picked the Holy Spirit, and the Four Evangelists, traditionally represented by the four beast from Ezekiel’s apocalyptic vision: the winged man (Matthew), the winged lion (Mark), the winged ox (Luke), and the eagle (John).
To simplify, I made one flag for each animal and went with the colors and dyes available instead of trying the traditional colors. Someday I may try something that echoes a traditional prayer flag more directly–with prayers and all five animals on each color, perhaps with a wood-block print, but I’m relatively pleased with the batik results anyway.
Camp Nano Success
Just prior to leaving I was writing madly, since my Hood River writing group had talked me into Camp Nanowrimo. I successfully finished the day before the conference. I have a working draft of “Home Schooled-Villainy” a short story that takes place between books one and two of “Dark Lord Academy” and went over the first four chapters of book two, restructuring it. I hope to get a working draft of the novel by the end of this month. I know people are waiting on me. I feel pretty positive about the content I got during the month though. It’s a strong start even if I need a lot of revisions.
My New Hobby
When I was little my great grandmother had a row of African Violets in several colors on her windowsill. She was always very particular to put the awning down (I love that word–awning) to protect them from direct sunlight. Mostly I think about it because A few years ago, I noticed my mother had a fair amount of success getting her one African Violet to bloom. After teasing her about it being an old person’s pastime, she explained she’d discovered African Violet food and that they were relatively easy to care for.
After that, I just had to try one on my own. Not only did the one flower I bought bloom several times, but I successfully grew a new plant from one of the leaves (although it hasn’t flowered yet) and the original one split into three. So now I have four pink violets, and when they bloom, I might give a couple of them away. But it started me wanting more colors!
Full sized plants in bloom range about $4-6 locally, with Fred Myers plants being the healthiest and largest at the cheapest price. However, some stores discount plants when they finish blooming to 50% off, so now I’ve acquired some discounts, with Lowe’s being the best deal, followed by Wal-mart. I’m not sure what colors some of them will be, but I’m looking forward finding out.