Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


All contents Property and Copyright(c) of Liz Fulcher/The Fragrant Muse.
All rights reserved.
Please don't use my written word, photography or art without my permission.
Thank you.


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Ten Tiny Chairs

Lesley, the Funky Art Queen issued a Ten Tiny Things challenge last week. The challenge was extended to Tuesday, June 30th. With my love of all things miniature, I couldn't resist playing along. The above photograph is my official submission.

The rules of the challenge are:
1) find 10 tiny things and group them together
2) photograph them
3) post about them on your blog
4) go to Funky Art Queen's blog, leave a comment and a link back to my blog.

I found these mini chairs at a yardsale and paid a whopping 10 cents a piece for them. I chose them for this challenge because they are colorful, cheerful and summery.

I had so much fun taking the first picture (in the coffee shop) that I continued to carry them around all day, photographing them in different settings.

Here are a few places the chairs found themselves today:

at the local coffee shop
with lovely Sarah, the bank teller

under a tree in the park

in the window of a fine furniture store

(can you find them? click on the photos for a closer view)
here's another view

hanging with the cows at a local dairy farm oops. there were 10. where did they go?

The Bean gets new Mocs

As our little Bean grows, Pap makes him new mocs.
We're saving each pair to make a shadowbox of his moccasins through the years.

He'll be two in September and will get a new pair for his birthday
(unless he has a growth spurt before then).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Helleristning of Her Own

Earlier this week I received a surprise package in the mail. This small pouch contained a fragment of a faraway place and is embellished with the unique artwork of it's bighearted benefactress.

That it should arrive this week confirms my believe in synchronicity.

This small gift has been a source of joy in a dark week. When the gremlins gather round to hook me in, I only have to show them this little treasure and the delight it brings sends them running.

For increased gremlin ammo, I'm going to print out yesterday's comments from all the wonderful women I've met here in this corner of the blogosphere, because it sure blew them out the door. Thank you everyone for your encouraging and kind words yesterday. They were a balm to my self-pitying little heart.

My special rock sits in a place of honor with my other feel good treasures.

Can you guess who sent it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today the Gremlins Can't be Tamed

The Gremlin is a concept developed by Richard Carson that embodies a group of thought processes and feelings. Carlson says, "The Gremlin is the sleazy master of misery lurking in the shadows of your very own mind". Gremlins are, in a nutshell, our negative self-talk, limiting beliefs and personal saboteurs.

Today my gremlins are out to play and have brought reinforcements. I've got the my-life-sucks blues and I'm submerged deep in my own woebegon-ness.

Is it hormones?
Is it the constant rain?
Is it obsessively reading about people traveling to Europe while I'm stuck in cowtown USA?
Is it that I'm on fokken year four of living in an unfinished, dusty construction site called my house?
Is it feeling old and fat and when did this happen?
Is it working so much that my creative side isn't getting fed?
Is it looking at my husband and wishing that he'd get rid of that fokken beard for God's sake.
Is it a severe case of the grass in everyone else's life looking greener?
Is it hiding in ice cream and cereal because the sugar rush is so sweet but the gluten is killing me?
Is it too many demands by my family when all I want to do is sit quietly with a glass of wine and read?


It's all that and a bag of chips which I devoured while watching reruns of Boston Legal until midnight because why the fokk not?

Monday, June 22, 2009

5 (Random) Favorite Things a la Molly

Before she left for blog camp, Seaside Girl tagged me from her 5 random favourite things meme now circulating the blogosphere, thanks to Molly.

5 Favorite Songs:

1. Baba O'Reilly - The Who
2. Africa - Toto
3. Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
4. The Joker - Steve Miller Band
5. Tattoo - The Who

5 Favorite Crushes:
1. Keith Moon
2. Hugh Jackman
4. Kevin Spacey
5. Toby Keith
6. Clint Eastwood (in his early spaghetti western days)

5 Favorite Films:
1. La Cage au Folles (the original 1978 version in French with Ugo Tognazzi & Michele Serrault)
2. Jean de Florette (my husband resisted watching this because of the subtitles, but when it was over insisted we get the sequel, it's that good)
3. Secretary (I dig the bizarre, man)
4. Le Retour de Martin Guerre (love that Depardieu)
5. Fargo
6. Swept Away (the original 1975 italian version with Giancarlo Giannini & Mariangela Melato)
7. Harold and Maude
(yeah, I know it's 7. Just be glad it wasn't 17)

5 Favorite Books:
1. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
2. Il Nome della Rosa - Umberto Eco
2. Portony's Complaint - Philip Roth
4. Holes - Louis Sachar
5. Nine Modern Days Muses - Jill Badonsky

5 Favorite Aromatics (based purely on the way they smell):
1. Rose otto concrete
2. Roman chamomile
3. Tuberose absolute
4. Vetiver
5. Bergamot

5 Favorite Foods:
1. Tacos
2. Prosciutto & melon
3. Pistachios (in the shell)
4. Curried veggies over rice (anything over rice, really)
5. Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia Fro Yo

5 Favorite (Random) Things:
1. Friday Nights
2. Rain
3. Yardsales
4. Waking up early (when rested)
5. New books

I'm Tagging:
1. Optomistic Pessimist
2. Cyndy
3. Beth
4. rxBambi
5. Tippyrich
6. Hit40
(I get six because OP is at the beach this week)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Is that Hef on the phone?

I can't go anywhere in my small town without someone
bringing up this little treasure that appeared
in our local paper last month.

I mean, she asked, right?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Creativity vs. Clutter

I've been procrastinating on my summertime art journal project from Rachel Denbow's June class. More accurately, I've been uninspired to even begin. When I've had time to work on it, I've put it off, feeling tired and overwhelmed. It's like there has been an invisible barrier between me and my creativity.

Apparently it was my messy kitchen.

Last night I popped in an audiobook (Grisham's The Client) and for three hours washed stacks of dishes, scrubbed pots, cleaned inside cupboards, wiped down walls and scrubbed the floor. I finished the job by sprinking Basil essential oil on a sponge and running it over the countertop. My kitchen sparkled and smelled divine.

I woke up at 6:00 this morning with a clear vision of my project and couldn't get out of bed fast enough to begin.

The disorder in my kitchen - the heart of my home - was bleeding the creativity right out of me.

Here are my first two pages (there will be six more). Click on the picture for a closer view.

IDSS Tutorial #1: Cover Story

IDSS Tutorial #2: My Summer Must Include...

I wonder what else I'll need to clean to get through tutorials #3-#8?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Moment of Grace

Yesterday I had a massage "no-show", which is a client who simply doesn't show up. This almost never happens to me. After 12 years in practice, the majority of my clients are trusted regulars with fixed days each month. I also have a firm cancellation/no show policy that I enforce.

After a ten-minute wait, I remembered that my client was on vacation this month and I had forgotten to take her out of the June schedule. My next appointment was in four hours which meant I had some accidental downtime.

My mind jumped to all the things I could and should do with the lull: errands, phone calls, emails to answer, dishes, laundry. I could even do art or write a new blog post.

But I was feeling drained. I had pushed myself pretty hard on Tuesday creating the diffusion post. With all the writing, taking pictures then rearranging everything to fit the format (Blogger is a bear when it comes to combining pictures with text) I had spent way too much time with my eyes glued to the computer screen. The pull of the couch for a catnap was too strong to ignore.

So down I went. I slept for a good hour, and when I got up my mind felt clear and my body was rested, ready to go again. I decided to get out and away from house, phone, computer and studio.

We had no milk in the fridge, so I drove to a charming country grocery store run by Mennonites. I rarely shop there, just when I need one or two items.

The clerk at the register nearly floored me when she said, "Aren't you the lady that bought all the fairies for your garden?" About two months earlier I had gone in for milk (they must have magic milk) and noticed fairies on display that were marked down because they were a discontinued item. It was quite a find because they were perfect for my garden, and I bought one of each that day.

She told me that the owner of the store had found one we missed and put it aside in the event that I should return. I was touched, to say the least. This is one aspect of country living that I adore. She assured me there was no pressure to buy it but the sprite was mine if I liked her. And I liked her very much. The fairy was in repose and the synchronicity of my just having woken up from a good nap did not escape me.

It was then I was struck with a moment of grace. That's what I call it when I have a sudden awareness that everything that's happening in that moment, and everything that led up to it, is unfolding at exactly the right time and in the right order. A moment of grace fills me with a deep sense of gratitude and all-is-right-with-the world feeling. I know that I was only able to have this kind of awareness because I had given myself permission to rest and recharge which enabled me to fully experience the grace in that moment. In a tired state I might have just said thank you, paid for my items and rushed off.

As I mentioned earlier, I've never bought my fairies with the intention of keeping them inside. But I knew that this gal needed to stay in my massage room.

She will now be my visual reminder of this message:

Recognize the wisdom in knowing when to rest. Of doing nothing. Knowing when you've had enough and need to recharge. You don't always have to be doing something. When you give yourself permission to rest, you are more available for those delicious moments of grace.

Have you ever had a moment of grace?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Less is More

Christina at Soul Aperture posted this suggestion:

On June 10th, for no reason at all, I was hoping we could post on our blogs, the things in life that make us happy. It can be pictures, a list, a post. No rules.

I love lists, no rules and belonging (thanks Extranjera), so here are my simple pleasures:

  • The family all sitting around the table, deep in conversation

  • Being totally rested

  • The sound of the wind in the trees

  • Strolling around in a bookstore

  • Lying in the tipi listening to the fire crackle

  • The smell of a new book

  • The sound of the ocean

  • Driving down an open road on a summer day with the radio blasting Baba O'Reilly, my all time favorite song ever.

  • Loose jeans

  • Fresh sheets

  • Getting lost in an inspiring creative project

  • Knowing my children are safe and happy

  • The way my husband and I fit when we hug

  • That first cup of coffee in the morning

  • Listening to an audiobook while cooking

  • Being understood

  • Indoor plants against a large window

  • Listening to my son tell a funny story and laughing until tears run down my eyes

  • Rainy Sundays

  • New art supplies

  • Surprises in the mail

  • The feeling I get Friday night when I know I have the whole weekend free

  • Hearing my grandson chatter away in his own Bean language

Monday, June 8, 2009

Weekend Interruptus

All last week my husband and I looked forward to the weekend as if we were going on vacation. We've had a very busy spring/early summer and after weekends packed with family activities and work responsibilities, this one was ours.

Two days with no committments - no work, no kid activities (Gianluca is at the beach for a week). Two days of dinners out, sleeping in, movies and wine. Two days of time alone with our respective hobbies - him in the garden and flintknapping, me with my new art journal class, yard sales, "important" blog posts on aromatherapy. I was even okay about folding a mountain of laundry with my audiobook in tow (I can endure anything boring when I'm being read to).

Can you see where this is going?

Saturday afternoon my older son, Davide, called out of the blue. "Hi Mom! Hey, the Bean and I are only 30 minutes away (he's a single dad and lives two hours away) and thought we'd pop in for a visit. You can play with the Bean while I use little brother's computer to catch up on school work (he's a college student). We can be there around 6:oo, but I have to be back home by 5:30 Sunday evening".

Oh. That's like, 24 hours. Half the weekend.

And because I know that the guilt of saying no will be more painful than the sacrifice of my precious weekend, I say "that's great, honey!"

I walked to the garage where my husband was repairing our tipi with my new sewing machine. I was so deep in self-pity I couldn't even get upset. I broke the news.

His reaction? "Great! The weather is fantastic and we can take the Bean to the river!" I hated him in that moment. Wasn't he at all disgruntled? Did our "special weekend" mean so little to him? And when I pouted and asked him this, he said, "We have our whole lives together. The Bean will only be ours for a little while." Although he is five years younger than me, my husband is often the more mature and wise one in the marriage.

So we revised our weekend...

We had Sunday breakfast at Perkins,
where Bean showed off his repertoire of expressions
in under a minute.
(admitting here that these are ain't-he-the-cutest gratuitious photos)

We took him to the river,
stepped in the mud,
picked up important rocks,
strolled down the middle of the road,
where we found a frightened turtle and put him in the grass.

My husband taught Bean the names of plants, showed him which were good to eat and which would make him sick. He showed him how soft a lamb's ear leaf is and later my husband nudged me and nodded toward the baby. Bean was gently stroking the lamb's ear plant.

Also, Davide had us all to himself and we had some good talks about his future and, well, it turned out to be a pretty darn nice weekend afterall.

My husband was right. The art journaling can wait, the blogging, the dinners and yes, even the wine can wait. (do I hear gasps from across distant shores?) Kids, they can't wait.

I talk a good game about the need for living in the moment and going with the flow, but when it comes down to it, can I actually do it? It seems that, although I might need some encouragement, I can.

How do you react when your plans suddenly change??

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Can someone help me get rid of my background?

Update: This morning Julochka worked on my blog for over an hour to locate the offending html that had been mysteriously imbedded in my blog, giving me a carnation background that I didn't want.

Thanks to her patience and tenacity she found and removed it. I am keeping this post because of your comments and because it is now a part of my blogging history.

Thank you again, Julochka.


About eight weeks ago, before I started this blog, I was experimenting with my new "look".

I played with different blogger templates and did some net surfing to see what else was out there. I found this carnation background and tried that on for size although for the life of me I can't remember how I added it (html, gadgets, etc.) I immediately knew I didn't want it because it was too busy and foo foo for my taste.

Ever since, whenever I create a new post a box appears that wants me to add this background to my blog and everytime I delete it. Yesterday the background request box again appeared on my post and, although I don't remember clicking it, I is now my background. AND I CAN'T GET RID OF IT!
Can someone help me out?

Here's what I've done so far:
1) I wrote to the owner of the background who said this:
"When you added the block of code to your blog it put the background up, when you remove the code it takes it back off! If you need anymore help, just click on the "Help" button on my blog for additional info."
I clicked on her "Help" button but the information I needed wasn't included.

2) I wrote back and even cut and pasted all the html from my blog so she could tell me what to delete. This was her reply:
"It's not in the html, it's just a gadget that you added to your layout. It should look like a little block and should have the heading html, if you added it recently, then its probably one of the blocks near the top."
I have 11 gadgets, each put there intentionally. None of them corresponds to a background.

3) I tried clearing my cache several times.

4) I have search blogger help to no avail and my experience with the forums is that it takes forever to get an answer.

What am I missing?
What should I do next?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Congratulations Gianluca!

The last three days have been very busy with family activities. And I love it. And I'm happy that it's quiet again. Now that my children are older and independent, I am used to my "me" time and when it's compromised I get a bit cranky.

The recently hoopla was surrounding Gianluca and his high school graduation. The ceremony was last night and in my usual stoic fashion I blubbered throughout the entire ceremony. I'm not kidding. The woman sitting next to me even dug around in her purse and handed me a pack of tissues with that you-obviously-need-these-more-than-I-do smile.

He was handsome (he does resemble me after all)
He was funny (second place for class clown)
He was relieved when it was over (tally ho and onto the parties!)

And so ends a chapter in our lives...
...and another begins.