Blessings from the other side

This morning I touched a handmade piece of art glass because my friend Worth Cooley-Prost made it. Then I was clearing

out some old greeting caFeatured imagerds and I found this note from Worth. She has walked on, but she left these words behind.

14 April 2013

“The Circle of Light in this piece were cut from glass placed under the sheltering arms of the Grandfather Oak that cover part of the balcony outside our room – on the day of the full moon eclipse in June 2012, thorough the [Venus not sure of word] transit the next day, and through sunrise the day after that –

Net of Light made for Mary Ellen with love and gratitude Worth Cooley-Prost 2012

The other piece like this, cut side by side from the same glass, was made for Grandmother Whitedeer.”

Grandmother Whitedeer is the founder of the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites. Worth was a member. I am a council guide of the Sisterhood.

Love and light,

Worth

NOTE: I do believe in the Veil of Light from the other side. Worth is surely doing her blessed work from the other side. I can’t help but think she is very close to us from afar. The photo of glass animals were made by Worth also.

Happy Thansgiving Blessings,

Mary Ellen

Spic and Spac at Congress Park Saratoga Springs NY

Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home,” but if you are from Saratoga Springs, New York, this is completely untrue. Saratoga has a heartbeat all her own. I have always known her to be the grand lady that she is. Oh she’s been around for ages and has known fame throughout her ageless majesty. 2014-10-14 10.18.242014-10-14 10.17.382014-10-14 10.17.502014-10-14 10.37.132014-10-14 10.24.36Today, I walked in Congress Park, getting off the bus at Spring and Putnam. The Italian Renaissandce Gardens with Spic and Spac water spouting sculptures have been spitting water since I was a child and they are still going full steam. What a joy. I purposely walked over the them because my friend Ruthie Masetta Hillman and I remember sunbathing by the stream with the water spraying sculptures in the background. I could even remember the sound of the water being the same.

What a beautiful job DPW is doing at Congress Park. A nice gentleman came up to talk. He was in the landscaping business for 30 years. Now he enjoys protecting the park and all its gardens. There is a pond with Saratoga ducks and they still remain or return to this pond, even after 50 years. I even saw some forget-me-nots growing. My sister and I remember them growing along the creek. Than I saw a sleeping fuzzy black and rust banded wooly bear caterpillar that turns into a Isabella Tiger moth. Oh he’ll be around all winter sleeping under a bed of leaves before emerging as a moth next spring.

It is so precious to me to be back with my beloved. I can’t wait to call Ruthie and share the photos for her to see.

Ode to a Visionary Water Friend Worth-Cooley Prost

Recently I learned that Worth Cooley-Prost walked on. She was a visionary when it came to creating her art. Worth worked with glass, but not just glass. She honored water as a living Being that should be loved, prayed for, and protected.

worth enlarged photo

A few years ago, I received a surprise package in the mail at my home in Minong, WI. I had no idea who sent me the box because I hadn’t met Worth yet. She was one of my readers to this Blog. Worth knew from reading my posts that I was a council member of the Sisterhood of Water Rites. Sending the box to me was one way for her to honor water and the women who are protectors of water.

water Hans free domain

Within the box was a lovely hand made glass pennant on a wire necklace. It literally sparkled in the sun. I was overcome. In the moment, I sent her a thank you note. We then became friends on Facebook.

jewelry Worth Cooley-Prost

In 2012 I flew to Washington, DC, from Wisconsin. I went to honor my friend Cindy Dyer who was having a one woman photography exhibit at Green Springs Botanic Garden in Fairfax, VA. I called Worth and asked her to join us. Another artist friend Deneen Stambone drove us to Green Springs from Springfield, VA. Worth parked her car after greeting us at the door and I walked over to the vehicle. Matter-of-fact, she handed me a pair of earrings that went with the necklace she gave me earlier. I couldn’t get over it. I mean it was such a surprise to receive the necklace with glass pennant in the first place and now this? I was stunned.

Worth honored water. She saw a better world through Ceremony and joined the Sisterhood Water Ceremony group out in WI, even though she lived in Arlington, VA. We would coordinate our time when we offered Water Ceremony.

moss

moss in frozen water = snow

Sometimes I am so unaware. For example, yesterday it rained all day. Niki Bresnahan and I met at the Sundial Community Garden, in Fitchburg, MA, and we transplated tomatoes and planted more beans in the gentile rain. We love to play in the rain. Why I didn’t think of Worth as blessing my day is beyond me. I realize it this morning. I was out there in the garden with a water friend and we were playing in the rain and loving our plants that were being nourished with nitrogen rich rainwater.

Miigwetch (thank you in Ojibwe) Worth for all the gifts of heart from here and beyond. Energy never dies. It always transforms. As a Monarch Butterfly that goes through transformation, we do also change and live on.

worth lizards

Worth Cooley-Prost created these lizards and I fell in love with them. Lizards love water.

Thank you Worth for the gifts of spirit and intentions that you gave us. Our time together was brief but eternal as I know you continue to send me blessings, such as the rain yesterday and a surprise online donation came to the nonprofit Happy Tonics at www.happytonics.com

I have kept a vigil candle lit for 24 hours to honor my dear friend. I do believe that we receive many blessings from other parallel universes and Worth is sending her love to who those of us who are so fortunate to live here in the present on this sacred planet.

Rav’n Art Exhibit honors published authors in Northwest Wisconsin

Rav'n Art Exhibit copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

Rav'n Art Exhibit copyright Anna Martineau Merritt

The St. Croix Writers Group of Solon Springs, WI, is being honored by Rav’n, Rural Arts Voice North, with an exhibit of published authors. The Exhibit will be on display at Solon Springs Community Center, January – March 2012.

I feel honored that as a member of St. Croix Writrs Group, my book My Name is Butterflyis on display in the Exhibit.

My Name is Butterfly copyright Salt of the Earth PressMy Name is Butterfly copyright Salt of the Earth Press

 

Photo is of exhibit copyright Anna Martineau Merritt, Misty Pine Photography, Gordon, WI.

Art in the butterfly habitat

Art in the butterfly habitat. In the summer of 2010, a metal art sculpture was placed in the Memory Tree Grove at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake. The art was made possible by generous people who wanted to honor my husband who died (July 4, 2010). He was a generous financial donor to the Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization.

 

Words from an artist Worth Cooley-Prost

Worth wrote:

lizards copyright Worth Cooley-Prost

lizards copyright Worth Cooley-Prost

  ” The glass is changing now, too; like the lizards, the glass has told me that to do rather than vice versa. When I teach glass occasionally, the first Understanding is that you come to the glass with Respect, and you listen and/or feel what it holds, then you work. I think most glass classes teach about what to do to glass, how to make it into something you’ve decided to make.

 To me, that’s backwards. Each piece of glass is absolutely different from every other, and if you’re in relationship with it, it Becomes. I open with sage and wear a yoke (I didn’t know that’s what it was when a friend gave it to me about 10 years ago, saying she didn’t know why she’d brought it to me; I took it to the studio with me a couple of days later, put it around my neck without thinking, and then knew I was to wear it when I cut and fire the glass.) The Prayer to the 7 Directions and my Ancestors is that what is True, Beautiful, and Good for the People come from those places through me and into the glass, and that each piece hold those things, and that its person find it. I ask the same of the glass while it’s firing, thank it when it’s through, and ask before any show that people come find their particular glass. There’s been some amazing specificity at times.

For several years, Soul of Blue and Flame pieces get cut in full sunlight and Ocean gets cut at dawn or as the moon comes up. Since last year, I’ve been taking glass out to the moon (or sun, depending on the glass and the energy) at partiuclar times — Mayan Day Out of Time last July, some major eclipses, etc. — and it stays until sunrise so it carries whatever it and Moon do together.  It’s changing again the last couple of months, not clear yet where it’s going but do know that I’m doing very few shows this year. I know more Ice Ancestors (glass on clear selenite slabs) are coming, since seeing a photo of what my daughter did with the one I gave her after the exhibit that honored Uncle: it’s on a windowsill where first sun comes through it. As soon as I saw the photo, I thought, “Of *course* and won’t puzzle about how people can use or display them. That’s between the glass and the people, I’m just the pizza man.”

Monitoring species at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat September 2010

 I am pleased to say that the metal and cement sculpture art is in the habitat now. Michell Carlisle, mother to intern Tabitha Brown, graciously donated a cement sculpture of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads. This is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern or folk art. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses. . Corrie Wolf’s father, Raymond “Duke” Wolf, donated a professional sign for the habitat. It says Happy Tonics Butterfly Garden. Tabitha not only arranged for the art she helped create both donations. She was a great help to us through the early parts of summer and all through the winter of 2010.

Tabitha Brown

Tabitha Brown

 Tabitha was our ambassador at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College and made sure that the 2009-2010 Environmental Film Fest was a success. I don’t know what I would have done without her. This year was extremely hard on me with my husband’s illness.  Through memorial donations from Pauline and Dennis McFadden, Ballston Spa, NY;  Ann Stambeck, Bobby and Bootsie Bailey and Diane Dryden of Shell Lake, WI, and Erica Hohos, Worcester, MA,  I was able to purchase a metal tulip by the artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama. This is a memorial to my husband, Willard H. DeJong. Will originally was from Holland and moved to the United States at age seven. The tulip is the famed flower of the Netherlands. The art is in the Memory Tree Grove on the far northern side of the habitat.

Our summer intern Brennan Harrington helped with building a wood frame for the sign. The wood used was cut and stripped from his own land in Stonebrook. He cemented the sculptures in the ground for permanence.  Brennan was also a great help at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in the summer of 2010. He took total charge of removing spotted knapweed, an invasive species, watering plants and making sure the path was maintained. It is a big job to maintain a ½ acre habitat and I appreciate everything he did for us.   

It was amazing to see the goldenrod. There were long lasting golden blooms at the habitat from September to end of October. I witnessed an abundance of small native bees including bumble bees on the plants when the heat of the sun starts to wane. They were seen in groups enjoying the last of the nectaring goldenrod. We have two species of goldenrod at the habitat one is stiff and the other is showy. Showy goldenrod has a cylindrical cluster of flowers.  Stiff goldenrod has a flattened inflorescence and broad thick basal leaves. I feel the stiff goldenrod is so pretty it should be called showy instead of stiff.

Bees appear to be like family in that they share and don’t compete for a food source. Bees just enjoy themselves. There is plenty for all. I saw up to twenty bees on just a few plants.

 An ethnobotany teacher, Leslie Ramsyck, told me that goldenrod does not cause allergies, although many people argue this fact. Don Engebretson and Don Williamson in Perennials for Michigan and Wisconsin state that goldenrod blooms at the same time when ragweed is out. Both species belong to the Ambrosia family. The difference between the two plants is that goldenrod does not cause allergies (183). There is actually a difference between ragweed also. The native ragweed does not cause llergies. It is the exotic ragweed that is the problem according to Ramsyck.

Goldenrods are resistant to pests. Some wasps prefer to make the stem a home. Eggs of the wasp are inserted into the stem which creates a stem gall.  The larva lives within and burst out at some point as wasps.   

Reuse and Recycle for Christmas

Loon by Marilyn Vig

Loon by Marilyn Vig

 Happy Tonics Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake, WI, has some things to offer for free and many holiday gifts at very little cost. Look at donated art items such as the hand painted loon by Marilyn Vig, stained glass snowflakes and all kinds vintage jewelry.

 Check out women’s winter coats. This is Vintage Wear straight from Washington, DC. Is there a lady out there who has always dreamed of a cashmere coat? Maybe someone has always wanted to dress to the nines with mink trim.  If so Holly Day Saturday may be your day!  Come on in and try on coats. Sizes run from small to medium and the price is low compared to what they are selling on eBay for $99 – $179. If coats don’t sell on December 4, they will be sold in our online store for the going selling rate at http://stores.ebay.com/HAPPY-TONICS

Check out http://ns.sold4uauctions.com/sl/ in Shell Lake, WI, USA. Even auction houses are finding a new way to market reusable and recycled items such as antiques, home decor, clothing for infants and adults. The economic times have never been better for the thrifty minded individual. I went online yesterday and bid on a leather wood carrier and won the bid at $10. I will pick this item up and will not incur on shipping charge. Online auctions are a win, win for seller and buyer both.

Recyling is a global trend. Check out http://stores.ebay.co.uk/cyclerecycleUK in England where they reuse and sell bike parts. Cyclerecycle is now following Happy Tonics Tweets on Twitter. Social networking is the fastest growing selling trend. According to some experts, sales from online stores have grown by 30 percent in 2010. On November 24, CNBC stated that 43.9 percent of comsumers will go online to shop this Christmas.  When Happy Tonics is not selling on Main Street the nonprofit is often fulfilling online orders. Check out our eBay store at http://stores.ebay.com/HAPPY-TONICS

5R Processors Ltd. of Ladysmith, WI has been invited to speak at the December 1 Environmental Film Fest at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, 13466 Trepania Road, Hayward, WI, USA. The company is part of e-waste solutions in WI and TN.  5R has drastically reduced e-waste by reusing and recycling thus helping our country’s citizens, landfills, and environment. The company has an online store where the resell electronics also at https://www.5rprocessors.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

Vintage Raggedy Andy and Ann

Vintage Raggedy Andy and Ann

 The Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue is open on Holly Day Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm. Kids can enjoy free Disney films while parents shop. Check out our new and gently reused items. The Andy and Annie ceramic dolls are from the 1970s and look brand new outside of the natural patina.

Happy holidays!

Art in the Monarch Butterfly Habitat

 A new dimension has been added to the Native Wildflower and Butterfly Garden in Shell Lake. Thanks to a few special people, visitors will now have an opportunity to enjoy metal and cement sculptures as they walk on the butterfly winged shaped path throughout the habitat. 
Psyche with butterfly wings

Psyche with butterfly wings

  Area One – The artwork in area one is a donation from a folk artist Michell Carlisle. Tabitha Brown, former intern from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College (LCOOCC), asked her mother Michell if she would make a statue for the habitat. The cement form of Psyche with wire butterfly wings in glass and wood beads is the first art that visitors will see when they enter the habitat. The art looks contemporary and could be interpreted as modern. Psyche has been around from the time of classical Rome and is the only surviving full-length novel by Lucius Apuleius from that time period. The book Metamorphoses translates to butterfly metamorphoses.

Area two – Corrie Wolf’s father “Duke” Wolf from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake. 

Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown

Happy Tonics butterfly sign by Mr. Wolf and Tabitha Brown

Area two – Corey Wolf’s father from Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation is an artist and sign maker. Brown worked with her father-in-law and she designed the back of the sign. Wolf donated the colorful swallowtail butterfly sign which can be seen from Route 63. LCOOCC Intern Brennan Harrington made the peeled log frame from trees on his property in Stone Lake.

Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker

Sunflower Metal Art by Rochelle Becker

  A metal sculpture of a sunflower was placed in area two. Donor and artist Rochelle Becker had given the sculpture to Ryall when she was going through the difficult stages of her husband’s illness. The sculpture now resides in the habitat for all to enjoy.

Area three- A metal sculpture of a tulip by artist William F. Colburn, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama, has been set in the Memory Tree Grove on the northern end of the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. The art work is a memorial for Willard H. DeJong, late husband of Happy Tonics founder Mary Ellen Ryall. DeJong was originally from Holland and tulips are the country’s famed flower. The metal sculpture was made possible by donors Ann Stambek, Diane Dryden and Bobbie and Bootsie Bailey of Shell Lake, Nancy Herman of Yellow Rivers Advertising, McGregor, MN and Erica Hohos of Worcester, MA.

Memorial tulip

Memorial tulip

Happy Tonics, Inc. is grateful for the outpouring of kindness from members and friends near and far.

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