Happy Birthday Frida!

Frida And Her Monkeys

Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907. In celebration, see Frida’s Garden!

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Roaring then rowing

CollaborationOXI has won. The Greek referendum has excited some but nerved out others.

And now, being in  a democracy, what’s the next thing to do?  Pass out the oars!

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Coming - Going

Going  one way means coming another.

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Jammin’ with the Pope, an unexpected harmony


Today is my blog’s 12th birthday.  I started ART FOR HOUSEWIVES after reading “The Scientific Warning” of 1992.  Spooky stuff.  It starts out like this:

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.

It was written by ”some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences” who were not obligated to perform for some multinational corporation bought politicians.

Despite the warnings of these scientists, the indifference towards our home, this planet we call Earth, continues.

Me & The Pope

This year I will celebrate my blog’s birthday by rejoicing over the words Pope Francis made in this year’s encyclical. Let me preface this post by saying that I am not a practicing Catholic nor do I practice any religion save that of my own invention. Furthermore, I have not forgotten that it was this church that came up with the Inquisition.  And, although I totally agree with most of this encyclical, the Papacy is a monarchy and behaves as such.  With that said, it’s time to focus on this magnificently written document.

 When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected, he chose as his Papal name that of St. Francis of Assisi which already is a statement in itself. St. Francis, although he came from a wealthy family, chose to live in poverty eulogizing the value of a simple lifestyle.

His Canticle of the Creatures praises God for the creation of the Earth and all that’s a part of it. It’s one of the reasons why this saint who preached to the animals and prayed in the woods has become known as the patron saint of ecology.

St. Francis & Friends

But maybe St. Francis’ biggest patrimony left to us is his is prayer often known an Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

And it seems that the saint’s namesake is going to honor the name.  Recently Pope Francis’ 180 page encyclical was released where he reprimands the rich and powerful for their indifference and “cheerful recklessness” in terms of the world’s ecological crisis.

The encyclical states that “the climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all” but  “tyrannical anthropocentrism”  has created  “a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day”.  The problems affronted are many.  For example, pollution that poisons our daily life.

The Smog Is Killing Us

The Pope encourages little daily actions that can positively affect our environment “such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices”. For example, why not keep a bucket in your shower to collect water for your plants?

Collect Water for Your Plants

There is much global inequality that also needs to be addressed.  Approximately a third of the food produced is thrown away. “Whenever food is thrown out it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor”.

Sharing Is A Form of Prayer

We are approaching an environmental disaster simply because we lack respect and appreciation for our common home. The Earth has been generous but we have taken this abundance for granted and bite the hand that feeds us. That’s why the Pope urges a return to prayers before meals. Because prayer is not just meant for asking help. It’s also a means of expressing gratitude.

They Prayed Together

There are many ways of praying. When you enjoy the breeze that caresses your skin or look in awe at the stars and their many constellations or smile when your child laughs, you are praying. Our environment would be much better off if only we would take time out to give gratitude for what we already have instead of demanding to have more than we need.

They Looked at The Stars

Today I will seek to be like Paul Ricoeur who said  “I express myself in expressing the world; in my effort to decipher the sacredness of the world, I explore my own”.

Despite the fact that seldom I’m in agreement with the Church, it makes me happy to be able to agree with them on something so important.  My compliments to Pope Francis & Co. for having written such a well thought out and comprehensive document that has already provoke a myriad of reactions.


N.B.  The inspiration for this post came from L’ENCICLICA della COMPLESSITA’ written by my favorite philosopher, Pierluigi Fagan.


Related links: France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities + Encyclical explained + Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle


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Trolls and their dolls

Are You A Troll?

Danish fisherman, Thomas Dam, did not have enough money to buy his daughter, Lila, a Christmas present. So, instead, he carved a doll that looked like a troll. Lila’s friends wanted one, too. And thus the beginnings of the troll doll.

By the mid 1960s, cheap plastic imitations of the doll made their way to the U.S. and became a big fad.

A troll is a Nordic mythological creature that lives in caves and is hostile towards humans. Unfortunately, not all trolls seek isolation.  Some live on-line. These trolls are also hostile and like to create discord by posting irritating and provocative comments. In other words, they are bullies and nourish themselves with the bad karma they create.

Are you a troll?

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Marina van Koesveld, magical thinker

Marina van Koesveld

We were having coffee at the Meltemi looking towards the sea when I saw a woman with long dark hair bending down to pick up objects from the beach.  Even without seeing her face, I knew it was Marina.  Because Marina is a magical thinker who combs Parian beaches hoping to find materials she can use to make jewelry.

Nasi, Marina van Koesveld's Dog

Four years ago Nasi, Marina’s dog, was hit by a car and had to be operated. Trying to help protect Nasi, Marina made him a talisman necklace. She used her own broken trinkets but also incorporated found objects hoping to appropriate the energy of others to help her dog.  The magic worked and Marina decided she would continue making talisman jewelry. She makes them also to help those who need healing due to love situations. Lately she has begun incorporating pumice because it easily absorbs essence oils making them aromatic.

 Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Marina van Koesveld is a very creative woman who, along with her husband Steef, lives part-time on Paros.  She has many stories regarding her Parian life but one is particularly interesting. Years ago while on Paros, Marina met Gunnar, a factotum for a film production company.  Together they decided to write a film about a message in a bottle (like that of Bebina Bunny!) and would ask people on the island to write a short poem or thought to be included in this gigantic bottle they planned to send out to sea. Marina had to go back to Holland and Gunnar eventually met up with her there to finished the project.  But the chemistry between the two was no longer that of Paros.  They argued and it was decided Gunnar should leave but, before doing so, he went for a walk on the beach of Ijmuiden (the town where Marina lived with her family) and, voilà, he found a message in a bottle!  It had been written by a group of students from Lille who were studying sea currents.  Gunnar left the bottle and its message with Marina before leaving Holland. Feeling guilt that she may have been too abrupt with him, Marina wrote the students in Lille explaining that their bottle had been found and would they be so kind as to write Gunnar a message wishing him a happy birthday. Which the students did via email.

Marina van Koesveld's sea jewelry and talisman for the hair

Marina van Koesveld’s sea jewelry and talisman for the hair

Even though she came from a family of painters, it was Marina’s teenage crush on an art student that made her decide to become an artist. After her studies in Utrecht, she taught art in a high school for six years before meeting Steef.  They married and had children which put her artistic pursuits on standby as so often happens with women once they have a family of their own.  Steef’s work as a veterinarian took them to Ijmuiden, a port city in northern Holland. But after a few years, Marina became restless and felt the need to change her lifestyle.  So she got a job in Amsterdam teaching art at a psychiatric hospital.  This, she said, was one of the most stimulating periods of her life.

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

All was going well for Marina, now 40, when, BOOM, her mother died.  It created much emotional discomfort for her as she felt her mother’s presence everywhere. Seeking solace, Marina began seeing a Jungian psychologist who taught her how to read Tarot cards (Carl Jung’s grandmother was a “ghost seer” so Jung was at home with the supernatural) with the intention of using Tarot readings  as a means of helping others, after having helped herself, connect with their inner-selves.

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Tarot gave Marina a new road to travel. For a reading, Marina will ask you to start by drawing a tree which helps her to activate a telepathic connection. And that’s when the magic starts. Using cards she made herself, Marina begins the tour of symbols and synchronicity hoping to guide one closer to their core. Because if you have a problem, first you have to identify it before it can be resolved.

And it is because of her love of play and enchantment that I asked Marina to pretend to be Frida Kahlo for a morning as I photographed her modeling my huipiles. So, coming soon, photos!

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Marina van Koesveld Talisman Jewelry

Marina & Nasi

Marina & Nasi

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Cherry tomatoes on a Parian terrace

La Sussurrata Tomatoes

La Sussurrata Tomatoes

 My first harvest of cherry tomatoes from our Parian container garden!

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