Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Recycled Prayers Series

The Recycled Prayer Art to Wear series all started with a tangled capiz shell curtain on its way to the kill shelter also known as the dumpster. I purchased it at a reduced price thus rescuing it.  

A week later i adopted several books my parents bought in Italy and a box of holy cards that were destine to go to the Goodwill or worse... their recycle bin aka the garbage can. That very same week i took an auspicious trip to the National Cathedral in Washington DC alone. I believe it was the combination of meditating on stain glass windows for two hours, lighting candles for miracles, fracturing my foot and then losing our electric power during a thunder storm for  3 days that this idea was born. 

Italian Madonna and Child on Green Capiz Seashell 

Vintage St Christopher on Green Capiz Seashell 


 Love Monkey on Recycled Green Capiz Shell

To see more of these pendants, crocheted wire art to wear and other jewelry please visit the Planet Calamari Etsy Shop at 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Strega's Mark of the Devil...

My mother tells me i was born with a tiny red dot on the my right arm and hand. She believes this is because she ate cherry Popsicles while pregnant with me. She was told by the doctor that it would go away and not to worry. Neither happened. Of course this is the same doctor who believed that antibiotics would cure sneezing. The spot grew as i did and was a full blown vibrant red birthmark in no time at all. My mother continues to worry about everything under the sun to this day- though i am quite certain she forgot about the birthmark and only remembers it when i visit wearing short sleeved attire.

As a kid in Catholic School i was subjected to the paranoia of mean nuns anytime they noticed my birthmark. Each one would grab my arm and in that nails down a parochial school chalkboard scream, that only nuns can do... "Dear Lord, were you burned?"  To their dismay i was not maimed in a fire. Combine this with the curse of being left handed. Some would make the sign of the cross or mutter a prayer. The only explanation could be that this was indeed the mark of the devil. Pray for her dear Baby Jesus. Save her from the gates of hell and the communists. Lord hear our prayer.

Since it was too late (or probably too costly to have the cherry stain removed, my mother somehow switched me from a south paw to become right handed. This only bafffled the nuns more... and myself. I still vividly remember first grade teacher Sister Maryenella (sp?) pulling my short pixie hair while at the blackboard attempting to print a b. Instead i made a d. I am shocked my neck did not snap that day!

Sometimes i still don't know right from left, since i confused the word R-I-G-H-T with the word W-R-I-T-E during the process. I was writing with my left hand only to be switched to write with the right hand. You can see how that would mess up a 5 year old.

Tortured by classmates, mostly wretched boys and nasty pale girls with long blonde hair, i wore long sleeve white blouses under my plaid uniform through my entire 12 years of parochial school. Mortified that anyone would see it i did my best to hide the entire arm whenever possible. Sweaters, coats, gloves and several bangle bracelets and accessories during the summer.

"The scientific perspective is that birthmarks are the result of a skin abnormality linked to the formation of blood vessels. In folklore there are three theories appear across cultures and time. 
  1. Birthmarks signify are an omen which may denote a characteristic or life path.
  2. Birthmarks are leftover from a past life/ re-incarnation
  3. Birthmarks are the result of events that happened to the mother while carrying her child or actions she took during her pregnancy. Italian and Spanish folklore states that birthmarks result from un-satisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy, such as wishing for certain foods."
The Italians believe that witches, known as Stregas have a birthmark on their arm, have all-black eyes, while practicing the healing arts with herb, potions and other magic rituals. Perhaps it is no wonder i decided to go into traditional Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

During my time in acupuncture college i had a delightful Chinese professor, Dr J Min Fan take my arm and say, "Oh Jeanie.. this is good fortune!" From that day on i embraced the wine stain. It was no longer hideous or a burden.  I used it as a temperature gauge. It turned colors during the seasons.
I noticed how it would turn bright red when i was angry or had a raging fever. Blue or Purple if i was cold. Just a reminder that we are all unique. Some of us just stand out more than others. Embrace diversity.

The temporary tattoo Breathe on the above photo is made by
at  Silver Tree Art on Etsy

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What is the sound of Mercury going retrograde...

Today begins the 3 week period of the planet Mercury going retrograde. If you are not familiar with the term then i won't even try to explain the gory details. My simple explanation is - its going backwards causing chaos in communication and electrical devices. Always a handy thing to blame when you phone or computer dies. Here is a great website that gives more detail on how and why it happens with the effect it has on our lives.

This chart is from the website

2012 Mercury retrograde Guide

2012 Retrograde starts
Date & Time
Position at Start 2012 Retrograde Ends
Date & Time
Position at End
March 12, 2012
3:49 am EDT
12:49 am PDT
06:49 Aries April 4, 2012
6:11 am EDT
3:11 am PDT
23:51 Pisces
July 14, 2012
10:16 pm EDT
7:16 pm PDT
12:32 Leo August 7-8, 2012
1:40 am EDT (Aug 8)
10:40 pm PDT (Aug 7)
01:26 Leo
November 6, 2012
6:04 pm EST
3:04 pm PST
04:17 Sagittarius November 26, 2012
5:48 pm EST
2:48 pm PST
18:11 Scorpio

For an inspirational view of how to survive Mercury Retrograde visit astrologer Lynn Haye's blog. She always has an interesting point of view and shares so much information. I love reading her posts.

This Mercury retrograde i plan to just go with the flow.. stop trying to fight it and allow the Universe to direct the movie. I have a new line of pendants and door hangers with sacred images that will be featured soon on the Planet Calamari Etsy Shop. That is assuming this old ibook will survive Mercury dancing backwards these next few weeks!
Meanwhile enjoy 15% off everything with the coupon code MERCURY15 at

Monday, July 02, 2012

Celebrating the Season of FridaMas

Frida Kahlo de Rivera 
July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954

For all of us who are enamored with Frida Kahlo i have decided to proclaim a holiday season known as the Festival of Fridamas. It begins on July 6, the anniversary of Frida Kahlo's birth and ends on July 13 the day Frida Kahlo passed away. 

The idea came to me during Zappadan. (No i did not make up this Frank Zappa holiday. December 4 marks the anniversary of Frank Zappa‘s death, and the beginning of the Festival of Zappadan. Zappadan ends on Frank Zappa’s birthday, December 21st.)

The very first time i saw a painting of Frida i immediately thought, "Why doesn't she wax her eyebrows or at least pluck that unibrow!" It was not until a few years later after living in San Diego so close to the Mexican border that i began to appreciate her work, Mexican art and culture. The colors, the magic and the passion is addicting. It is so tempting to run off to Mexico, grow a unibrow, drink tequila and paint all day. However the truth is Frida's life may have been colorful but it was also tragic. In constant pain due to an accident when she was young along with other illnesses, married to a fat artist who cheated on her with her sister and a host of other wild dramas. I think i am happy to bask in her art, paint on a unibrow and red lipstick on Halloween and have a few margaritas in her honor.

For more details about the life and art of Frida visit these sites:

During these few days of remembering the life, art and her infamous unibrow i invite everyone to celebrate Frida each day. Even if it is a small jester such as:

Sport a Uni-brow and
 Paint on some red lipstick

Add some flowers to your braided hair

Wearing Frida jewelry

Wear ethnic Mexican clothing

Do a shot of tequila in honor of Frida!

Have a margarita

 Watch the movie Frida


Marry a fat artist

Adopt a monkey and a few black cats

Join the Planet Calamari Facebook page to be invited to the FridaMas Festival and to post pictures and comments of how you are celebrating this holiday season..

Viva Frida!

"On the day after her death, mourners gathered at the crematorium to witness the cremation of Mexico's greatest and most shocking painter. Soon to be an international icon, Frida Kahlo knew how to give her fans one last unforgettable goodbye. As the cries of her admirers filled the room, the sudden blast of heat from the open incinerator doors caused her body to bolt upright. Her hair, now on fire from the flames, blazed around her head like a halo. Frida's lips seemed to break into a seductive grin just as the doors closed. Her last diary entry read: "I hope the end is joyful - and I hope never to return - Frida.".

Dream Time Lizard Totem Art to Wear

"Lizard...will you dream with me?
Travel across the stars?
Beyond the place of time and space,
The lives visions from afar."

Jamie Sands 
from the Medicine Cards book

These pieces of art to wear were inspired by the Medicine Card teachings and Native American totems. The lizard symbolizes the dream world. Lizard medicine is the shadow side or reality where your dreams are reviewed before you decide to manifest them physically.
For more info on the Medicine Cards and the book click on the link below.

These one of a kind earrings were created by hand painted glow in the dark green lizards with blue enamel paint. Using non-tarnish bronze colored silver plated wire the lizards were wire wrapped with glass beads in hues of fuchsia pink, lavender and sea green.
Dream TIme Lizard Earrings Planet Calamari Etsy Shop

This bracelet was created by crocheting bronze silver plated non-tarnish wire strands while weaving glass beads in various hues of iridescent purple, lavender, sea green and fuchsia pink. The strands were then plaited and weaved together. A hand painted glow in the dark lizard is attached to the top of the bracelet with more bronze wire adorned with glass beads. The colors of the beads combined with the bronze wire give this wrist sculpture a mystical look as if it was worn in the days of the mayans or hopi cultures. Dream Time Lizard Totem OOAK Wrist Cuff Planet Calamari Etsy Shop