Category Archives: Art

Mandala Madness


Circular patterns

painted in pretty colors

helps clear the mind

quieting troubled thoughts

bringing order and calm

to the chaos within my heart


© Julie Rehnelt 2017


I recently experienced a painful heartbreak and have been having a pretty rough time of it here emotionally.  But also during this time, I have found painting mandalas to be quite therapeutic – it’s very focused and takes a lot of concentration, so it doesn’t leave much room in my mind for anything else.  It’s also meditative, so it’s soothing and clearing as well.

At the end of May, I took a Mandala Rock Painting Class at a local art studio and learned how to paint mandalas on beach stones.  I wish I could say I enjoyed the class, but for various reasons (which I won’t make you listen to), I actually found it a bit frustrating.  However, I did learn a few techniques from the two wonderful gals who led the class, and I’ve been painting mandalas nearly everyday since.

The following day after the class, I went out to hunt for suitable stones among the river rock landscaping rock that I have around the perimeter of my house.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any round stones, but I did collect a few that were somewhat round that I figured I could practice on, and off I went to the art supply store to purchase some paints and a few other necessities.

When I got home I painted this little oddball…

Don’t look too closely at it, it’s actually a bit of a mess, but it’s much better than the turd one I painted in class – which is so bad, I’m not even going to show it to you.

Unfortunately, the next day was when my heartbreak occurred and I was so sad and stunned, I could barely function.  But for some strange reason I felt compelled to paint.  I had this strong urge to try and create something that somehow represented my feelings, and I painted this…

And although it may have heartbreak associated with it, it also has beautiful, meaningful things, and profound love associated with it, so I like how it turned out.  Even if my heart is blue…

From there, I’ve continued to be compelled to keep on creating more mandalas.  It’s been a fierce urge, to be honest, a sort of madness.  I neeeed to paint them, like my life (and sanity) depends on it.

But the trouble is, I can’t find any round stones to paint them on.  Ask my sister how badly I’ve been obsessing about finding round rocks.  It’s become a joke between us now.

I worked with the little rocks I had found around the house, but unsatisfied with their lack of circularness, I moved onto tiles.  Even though they’re square haha!   I had a few tiles left over from a remodeling project and got an idea in mind of how I could make them work.  And I painted these…

Don’t look too closely at them, they’re not painted very evenly.  Hey, I’m still learning!  It’s a lot harder than you think to paint dots of the same size and to space them evenly.  Especially when you don’t have a real steady hand.  The tile pictured at the top of this post was the 3rd tile I painted, and I’ve since painted 6 others, each progressively improving.

Would you like to see them all, or just the most recent one?  I guess if you don’t mind scrolling, I’ll just share them all.  More blue…

This one got way out of hand and crooked, but the pattern and colors are still pretty 🙂

I wish I had a better photo of this one, the colors got a bit glossed over by the lighting

This one took me the longest. All those dots around dots, around dots… it took me 4 or 5 hours to make.

This last one is the most recent tile I’ve painted, and it’s my favorite so far.  The photo doesn’t really show the full depth and color.  You can click on it to enlarge…

I really like the look and the idea of the tiles.  I might even use these (and any future ones I make) in some of my remodeling projects around the house – maybe as a back splash on the kitchen or bathroom counter, or around a window or mirror or something.  I was using one of them as a coaster the other day, and I even thought I could attach some type of ribbon or wire and just hang them on a wall as they are, the possibilities are endless.  🙂

But as much as I like the tiles, I still really wanted to find some round rocks to paint on.  Remembering the rocky shoreline of Lake Superior, I took a day trip up there with my sister in hopes of finding some.  And in hopes of providing a bit of self care too – the North Shore of Lake Superior is one of my favorite places, being near the water is always very restorative and soothing to me.  ❤

These rocks aren’t exactly round either, but they all spoke to me and said they wanted to come home with me…

I love rocks, and I don’t really even want to paint on these.  They’re lovely just the way they are…

But I have painted on a several of them, and I have to say, I enjoy the feel of painting on rocks better than on the tiles.  If only I could find some round ones.

 This one reminds me of the sun…

And this one reminds me of an Easter egg…

This one I made into the shape of a heart after writing my last post

And this is the most recent rock I’ve painted.  It was a challenge on this elongated shaped rock…


I have no idea where I’m going with this mandala thing, but for now it feels good, so I’m gonna keep at it.  It feels like it’s helping me work something out within myself – while also creating something beautiful outwardly.

That’s all I got for now.  Thanks for letting me share my mandala madness.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  I’m off to check on my garden (which is doing splendidly this year) and then I’m heading to Minnehaha Falls for the day for a picnic and a free Bluegrass concert.


“I saw that everything, all paths I had been following, all steps I had taken, were leading back to a single point — namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation.”  

~ Carl Jung




✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

One Day

“One day your heart will take you to your Lover.
One day your soul will carry you to the Beloved.
Don’t get lost in your pain, know that one day your pain will become your cure.”

                                    ~ Rumi


ocean stars sky and you




✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1



A glassy foreshadowing of the cold to come

when the autumn colors are all done


© Julie Rehnelt 2015



I know, I know, everyone dreads the cold temps of winter, but look at the glass icicle I made!  It didn’t really actually turn out looking the way it was supposed to, but I’m still proud of it –  it was a lot harder to make than one might realize, and it looks pretty dangling there in the midst of the fall foliage.  Autumn makes everything beautiful.  ❤

A dear friend of mine gave me a gift certificate for a glass-making class for my birthday in August, and this past weekend we attended the class together – Basics in Boron at Potekglass.

It was a little scary using a blow torch at first, and there are many hazards to working with glass, but it was a really fun experience, and I’m so thankful to my friend for giving me such a wonderful gift.  I love learning new things… even if I end up not being very good at it.

I also made this…


It’s supposed to be a paperweight, but I think it’s a bit too small to actually weigh down much of anything.  Again, it didn’t really turn out exactly like it was supposed to, but it still looks pretty cool and I’m proud of it.

We also learned glass blowing, and mine literally blew up.  Oops!  Did you know that you actually blow into molten glass to blow glass?  I know, it seems like a no-brainer given the word blow, but I didn’t realize you use your mouth.  It’s a bit unnerving having your mouth on the end of something that is like a thousand degrees only a few inches away.  I don’t think I’ll be trying that again.

But I definitely think I’d like to take another glass-making class again sometime, I’d love to learn how to make stained glass.  I’d also like to try making more of those icicles – they’d be lovely on a Christmas tree or to give as a gift.  And they’re not as cold as real icicle.   😉

Stay warm my friends…



✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Snow Art

So beautiful, creative and unique, like crop circles in the snow!   😉
I’m a huge fan of #14…


‘Snow artist’ Simon Beck creates the most amazing temporary artworks using just a compass, string, measuring tape and a pair of snowshoes. Beck graduated in Engineering from Oxford University but decided later on to leave his office job in order to become a cartographer.

In December 2004 after a day of skiing, he got the idea to draw a star on the small frozen lake in front of his place. His sense for orientation in combination with his passion for outdoor and physical activities inspired him to complete a snow creation. The day after, looking down from the ski lift; he was impressed by the result. After the next snowfall, he repeated the exercise by creating an even more complex drawing. For Simon, a new passion was born.

Beck’s creations have garnered him hundreds of thousands of fans online. His Facebook page boasts over 280,000 Likes and he has just…

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Tie-Dying Mischief & Mayhem

So my daughter sends me a YouTube video the other day of this gal doing a tutorial on making tie-dye shorts and tells me that she’d really like to try it.  Well, I could hardly get to the arts and crafts supply store fast enough!  I’m not just a huge fan of tie-dye… I’m a gihugeic fan!  Gigantic + huge.  Yeah… I like to make up my own words.  😉  I love it so much in fact, that I would embarrassingly have to confess that at least 1/4 of my wardrobe consists of some sort of tie-dye or other variation close to it.

Funny thing is though… I have never tie-dyed anything myself before.   I actually find it a bit shocking that with all of the other creative endeavors I’ve explored and with my obvious love for tie-dye, that I’ve never thought to do this before now.  And an even more ginormous shocker to me is that my sis (who is the most “authentic” hippie I know) hasn’t either!  So, thanks to my kiddo (who it just so happens is not especially crazy about tie-dye) for suggesting it!

Here’s more pictures than you’d ever want to see that we took of our tie-dying mischief and mayhem…


On the video tutorial the gal made the shorts using cut off jeans, so my daughter found an old pair of jeans that she never wears and got down to business.

Here she is marking where she’ll cut.~

And then cutting.  Watch your hair there kid… ~

Next they needed to be frayed a bit.  She used a tweezers to pull at the edges.~

Fraying all finished.  Or at least good enough.  It was a bit tedious.~

Her dog Teddy was standing near her during the fraying process and didn’t even notice he was getting frayed upon.  He was too busy being on the look-out and guarding the patio from other dogs in the neighborhood.  Quite fierce looking don’t ya think?   😉~

Here’s the tie-dye kit that we picked up at the craft store along with 3 hobo style white bags, and my daughter’s freshly frayed shorts ready for bleaching.  She also found an old crusty white camisole she thought she could infuse with new life by tie-dying, and a pair of light blue shorts she thought she could bleach and then tie-dye as well.  ~

So now we’re all set to get started!

Right after I set up this fan…Who takes a picture of a fan?  (Apparently me.)  And what does this have to do with anything?  Well, it was way too warm out early in the day, and I absolutely hate being hot.  So being the weirdo that I am… I brought a fan outside.  Yes, and then I took a picture of it.  Funny thing is… it got super windy out as the day went on.  And we’re talking windy like “It’s a twister auntie Em!”  Guess my having a fan outside gave mother nature a little hint.  Maybe bringing a fan outside on a hot day is kinda like doing a rain dance…  😉


Okay, so first things first, it’s time to soak her shorts in the bleach.~

And then wait for them to process.~

“Meanwhile back at the Bat-cave…” 

We started binding up our hobo bags with rubber bands.

My daughter’s conglomeration ~ all loosey goosey with no rhyme or reason whatsoever.  So cute.  🙂~

My sis scrunched hers and bound it up real tight.  Not sure what she was doing using a piece of twine for that one little random part, but she always has danced to the beat of her own drum…~

And finally mine ~ I tried to be organized about it and spun the main part of my bag into a spiral.  I wasn’t so sure what to do with the strap though so I just kind of twisted it up.~

Finally it’s time to add the dye…

Here’s my daughter little miss free spirit just splashing on the colors (and making a mess ;)).~

My sis started by dabbing yellow here and there and then moved onto pink while going around in a circular pattern.~

Being the orderly person that I am, I decided to color mine in sections.  Never mind the fact that tie-dye, in it’s very nature, is not orderly.  At all.  ~

When my sis and I saw this photo my mom took of the two of us we laughed so hard!  For multiple reasons… first of all, our facial expressions ~ they’re nearly identical, lips pursed, furrowed brows, and we look “oh sooo serious.”  Usually, no matter what we’re doing, we are laughing our heads off without a care in the world, but apparently tie-dying is very serious business.  😉   Next, notice each of our left hands ~ again nearly identically posed.  What a couple of freaks!  ~

Here’s our colorful little bundles…

My sis’sAnd mine

Didn’t catch a photo of my daughter’s bag before we wrapped them all in plastic to let them sit overnight.


Here are our finished bags…

My daughter’s~

My sis’s~

And mine

Not too bad for a bunch of noobs!


Here’s my daughter working on her camisole.  I love the pink, purple and blue that she used!~

“Haste makes waste” and my daughter got sick of waiting for her shorts to dry so the first time around, the shorts ended up being a complete fail.  They hadn’t dried enough and there was still so much bleach in them that the colors didn’t take.  Ew the colors were all muddy… ~

So we had to re-bleach them and try again.  “Practice makes perfect” and the second attempt = success!  Beautiful vibrant color!~

It seems that my family never does anything in small quantities and while we were yet in the middle of all this tie-dye mischief and mayhem, we decided that we liked it so much that we wanted to do more.  So back to the store we went to get more dye…

And after watching the rest of us, my mom wanted to give it a try.  Here she is applying some color to her own hobo bag. Yeah, my mom is pretty cool… 75 and doing tie-dye!


Her finished bag~

As for me the second time around ~ I grabbed an old crusty white tank top of mine and pretended I was a sculptor (or something).  Hah take a look at this freaky binding job…and then I added color…Ta-Da!  Look at the fun results…

FrontAnd back…I got confused when I was binding and coloring it and thought that the designs along the bottom there on each side was the front shoulders.  Oh well it’s pretty having it on the backside too  😉


I also tried my hand at tie-dying a pair of socks.  I was bummed that the only ones I could find had gray on the toe and heel because I was worried about what it would look like once colored.  I also noticed as I was coloring them that the way they absorbed the dye was weird.  But look how they turned out!Talk about happy feet!


My daughter colored a pair as well…~

My sis had a different idea for her second project.  She bought some white rayon fabric and made herself a nightgown/dress of sorts.  Here it is all bound up…And this is how she colored itIt reminds me of a dragon.  🙂

And now for the grand finale of our tie-dying adventures…

I don’t know about you, but I think the way this turned out is absolutely amazing!  Everything my sis touches with her unique creativity becomes a beautiful masterpiece!  These pics don’t even do it justice…l absolutely love the colors she ended up with on this sleeve!


I have been stealing my big sis’s clothes since I was a little girl ~ sometimes to my detriment (ie getting the crap beat out of me for it), and even though this new nightgown/dress of hers might not fit me, I still may have to sneak into her apartment one day when she isn’t home and nab it.  Her own fault… she never should have given me a key.  😉  That or make her help me make one of these for myself.  Although she has already said she has no clue how she even did it.  She’s always winging it and ending up being amazing.  When I grow up I want to be just like her.  ♥


So tie-dying was pretty fun!


Minnesota’s Got Talent

In updating my links page today, I decided that I wanted to share this in an actual blog post…


I’m pretty sure that for the most part all mother’s are proud of their children and think that their kid is the absolute best, but mine really is!  😉

I am so inspired by my daughter.  She is exquisitely beautiful inside and out, and so very talented.  Even if I wasn’t her mom I would be a huge fan.  I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to have her for my kid and how much I love her. ♥

We have always been very close and have been through a lot together.  I like to think I know her quite well, although I know there are some things she doesn’t share with me.  Despite my raving reviews here… she’s not perfect ~ none of us are, and every one of us would be embarrassed if everyone saw our flaws, but I truly think the world of her.  

In my own pursuit of creative expression, I am thrilled to see my daughter doing the same.  And in being her biggest fan, I’d like to share some of hers with you.  So if you’ll indulge me…

I’ll start with her music.

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I began inundating her with music by playing instrumental and classical music to my tummy.  🙂  And from the day I brought her home from the hospital I would play it in her nursery whenever she went to bed or down for a nap.

Some of my most precious memories of her as a baby are of her waking up in the morning singing.  Not crying as most babies wake up, but singing.  Not anything intelligible of course, but as she got older she would wake up calling for me in sing song variations of “mommy” ~ omygosh so precious!  ♥

Growing up she was (and still is) terribly shy, so “outsiders” rarely heard her beautiful voice.  In 5th grade she somehow got the nerve to try out for a singing competition at school and won 2nd place!  Then the following year she won 1st place in that same competition.  In 8th grade she tried out for the Minnesota All-State Choir and got in!

But as the teen years go…  and maybe because of insecurities, she didn’t really put herself “out there” much through high school until her senior year when she wrote a song and performed it in front of the entire school ~ a terrifying and triumphant moment!

But singing wasn’t the only musical talent she developed over the years.  She began piano lessons in 2nd grade and almost immediately we noticed what an amazing ear she had.  She can listen to almost any piece of music and before long start plunking out the melody on the piano.  The winter before last, I bought her a violin for her birthday and even though she had never touched a stringed instrument or violin before, she was playing twinkle twinkle little star on it within minutes.  I don’t know… is that normal?

In saying all this… let me share her latest ~ and one of my favorites of her instrumental pieces.  It’s simple, and lovely, and makes me feel things as I listen to it…


And this next one is of her singing an original piece that she wrote last spring.  We don’t have professional recording software so the sound quality isn’t top notch, and it may not be one of her best vocals, but beautiful just the same…

And I love the lyrics…

Here is a link to her YouTube channel.  She currently has several original pieces including a few covers of her singing other artist’s music.   :D   Check it out if you’d like.


She hasn’t been doing a whole lot with her music recently though because lately she has been flexing her creative muscles in the ways of photography.  And doing it quite well I might add…

She not only has a good ear, but a good eye as well ~ literally.  This is a photo manipulation she did of her own eye, and “Eye” happen to think it’s pretty cool!

And here are a couple other of her most recent projects…

Here is a link to her deviantART gallery.  She has some very interesting and unique photos, as well as quite a few writings.  Yes, she’s a good writer too!


Well thank you for letting me share (if not brag) a little about my daughter.  I am very proud of her talents and accomplishments in the way of artistic expression, and can’t wait to see where it all leads to next…


Addicted to deviantART

Several days ago my daughter suggested that I make a deviantART account.  I’ve been working on a fictional story, that up until recently has only lived inside my head, and she thought it would be a good idea to post the first chapter on there to get feedback on it.  Well, I have yet to post my first chapter because mine eyes have seen the glory of all of the wonderful, beautiful art and I have lost myself in it’s vast galleries of artistic expression.

Allow me to share a few of the beautiful and interesting images I have come across…


Being a nature lover, I am totally turned on by any photography which depicts nature or landscapes.

Omygosh just look at these phenomenal sunset shots! !

©2010-2012 *WindyLife

©2006-2012 ~jay-peg

Amazing right?!!!  And there’s TONS of photos like these!


How about some florals…

©2010-2012 *WindyLife

©2010-2012 ~impatienss

It was hard to just pick a couple photos here, but I’m a sucker for shades of purples, pinks, and blues so I chose these. 🙂


Now for some fractals…

©2010-2012 *heavenriver

©2010-2012 *heavenriver

Both completely different ~ and completely beautiful!


You want cute & cuddly?…

©2010-2012 ~CheckAvailability

©2011-2012 =forest-goddess

Yeah, I’m also a sucker for bunnies and kittens! 😉


People are so talented…

©2010-2012 ^alicexz

©2009-2012 =Culpeo-Fox


And now for some fantasy art!  You may love these or hate them, but I LOVE them, so I have to share more than just two…

©2009-2012 ~Philipstraub

©2011-2012 *heise

©2009-2012 ~yoeah

©2008-2012 *sandara

©2008-2012 *sandara

©2010-2012 *AlectorFencer

©2008-2012 *Ironshod

There’s sooo many more, but I’ll resist…


I don’t know what these would be classified as technically, but they are interesting and beautiful to me…

©2011-2012 ~Aichan3

©2011-2012 =Eibo-Jeddah

So colorful.


And because of my love of reading, I really like the concept of these…

©2011-2012 *duchesse-2-Guermante

©2011-2012 `Tolkienmaster

©2010-2012 ~meoww


And just because this is so darn cute…

©2008-2012 ~lOolah

It’s hard to stop!


See what I mean?  Don’t you agree that it would be easy to get sucked into all of this wonderful creative expression?!  I’m so thankful for eyes that can see!


Hopefully at some point I’ll get around to posting that chapter…