Sunday, April 02, 2017

NY Botanical Garden - Orchid Paradise

Actually wrote this post last month but had trouble transferring photos so here it is anyway as part of my journal:   The unusually warm weather this past week -- here in NYC we'd usually have snow in February -- enticed us out to the NY Botanical Gardens to see the current orchid exhibit in the main conservatory.  Balmy air, warm sunshine, blue sky with white clouds sprinkled here and there in gestures of flight; singing birds, life pushing forth in trees, bushes and earth--all signs of Self-renewing life.  All is well in the garden.

OK, wanted to download photos from my phone but I would first have to load the app for G+ as a backup method that connects with Blogger.  Already have them backed up on Verizon Cloud and many are located in Dropbox and on my laptop.  This is getting out of control!  I've actually started tagging the photos on the laptop and yesterday spent a few hours putting photos into themed folders on my tablet since having lists of file numbers is very impractical.  Now I wonder whether those new file folder names will translate to the various platforms or does each one require its own set of folders?!  Yikes!  So, a photo of birthday orchids by my window and an orchid digital painting of mine--just for a bit of color!

(c) Olenka -- AKPhilippas

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Is this truly possible?  For several years I have returned occassionally, trying to regain access to my blog, always finding some strange advertising placed over the cover page & no way to remove it or contact those who hijacked my site. Suddenly today I was able to scroll down and read my old posts!  Yay!  Let's see if this post actually registers on the blog...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Thought Exchange

That's my friend, the wonderful composer-speaker-author, David Friedman and me during the book signing portion of his book launch at Borders in Manhattan on Saturday night (April 30).  What a wonderful evening!  A large, enthusiastic crowd sat listening to his presentation about "The Thought Exchange" and experienced a short demonstration of the process with a volunteer from the audience.
Having attended many Thought Exchange workshops with David and experiencing the benefits, I highly recommend not just reading this book but really using the principles and learning to watch life's thoughts and sensations from that safe, neutral place within that enables us to observe our experience without being affected by it, therefore allowing us to constantly act in the moment, living our full potential with open hearts.  The freedom gained is worth the effort! 

If you'd like to know more about David's music and Thought Exchange work, visit his website:

Sunday, April 24, 2011


On this beautiful Easter Sunday I wish you all joyful activities shared with family and friends!  Talk to you soon...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Say a Prayer

Catskills, NY

Isn't that a lovely hill?  It's part of my sister's land in the Catskills, where we've spent many happy days and were looking forward to another visit but Mom is back in the hospital with the C Diff bacteria so no traveling anytime soon.  I've started putting a few small quilts together in the evenings using the newly dyed fabric, but even that's on hold now.  Let's think of a joyful moment in our life and then send a prayer into the Universe for all those who are facing challenges that seem overwhelming, so that we may remember together that Love embraces us all.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Dyeing Experiment

Many years ago I considered sewing a headboard cover and bedskirt in an offbeat small leapord-print fabric and bought several yards.  Lesson learned: buy a small swatch to take home and check first.  But I didn't and had this bolt of fabric standing in the corner until last Summer when I decided to use it as a slip cover for my wingback chair so I cut it up in smaller pieces and threw it in the washing machine hoping to soften the color.  Wrong again.  I happened to have a box of fabric dye remover...yes, I threw that into the washer next, hoping for a soft pink result.  Not even close.

This is what the fabric looked like wet, with areas changing color as the dye remover chemicals took effect.

I watched as all the fabric turned into this brownish-green color.  Very interesting...
I closed the lid, thinking the next phase would be a fade out of color, but when I reopened the lid the finished effect was:
OMG!  Nothing changed.

The only difference was a slightly softer feel to the cotton fabric, so I folded it up and put it back into the stash.  Have you noticed that the back side is a pastel color?  SO, during my recent dyeing frenzy, I took a section of this and dyed it with the RIT dyes.  Tadaaaaa!
This I can use.
Patience and the courage to experiment -- essential artist tools. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's All Good

Hello's been a journey through sorrow these past months as my mother battled several debilitating infections that almost took her life. So much was happening that I wrote only in my private journal. During my walk last night down by the beach, I stood on the big rocks overlooking Long Island Sound and thanked God that I live surrounded by so much beauty offering healing. Even these rocks beneath my feet reminded me again that Life continues to find expression no matter how hard the circumstances.

I too have found a crack in the surface of my life's painful events, and have started creating in fabric again. All the photos and little sketches I've made these past few months are now source material. First little quilt is on the table being assembled...using my image transfers and fabrics which I dyed recently (first time using RIT dyes per article in Quilting Arts Magazine by Judy Coates Perez -- Thanks Judy, your clear instructions made it very easy!).
The article mentions that if you don't disolve the powdered dyes completely the grains will show up on the fabric -- that's how I got the speckles on the purple piece and the red on the neutral mottled piece on the left. As for the fabric on the far left, I already overdyed it last night with navy and love the results.
Since my studio table is overtaken with paints and a mosaic in progress, I set up the ironing board in the living room to iron dyed swatches and the little wooden table for photo transfers.

Earlier, out on the deck I put down a piece of plywood onto which 2 sheets of newsprint were laid to soak up excess dye and then two folded lengths of white cotton which I dyed with abandon.

This photo shows the pattern which ended up on the paper....
I laughed to think that the best part wasn't the actually dyed fabric (which will also be useful though it turned out a bit dense and dark) but the paper meant to be tossed away. NOT!  Took photos of various sections to use as backgrounds for other work by printing onto fabric and saved the paper for collage.  Lots of new ideas...

It's good to be back!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Happy 90th Birthday, Mom!

My beautiful Mom turned 90 years old yesterday. What a gift for all who know her. She devoted her life to raising, encouraging and loving her husband and five children. I love listening to stories of her life experiences growing up in Poland and tales of raising her rambuctious bunch of creative kids. To hear her side of various adventures I remember from childhood has sometimes been quite surprising (just like she's surprised when we tell her now, as adults, about things we did growing up that she and Dad never knew. We had a joyful gathering on Sunday for the whole family with delicious food and a great feeling of celebration. This enabled family from farther away to celebrate her birthday with us before going back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday. We all wish her many more years of health and happiness and thank her for surviving the many challenges of her life and for all the love she's given us. God bless you, Mom! Sto Lat!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Message

Hope you're having a wonderful day with family and friends. I saw this wonderful post about the history of this holiday on my friend's blog and wanted to share it with you (click on my post title). I took the photo during a wonderful weekend at Earthgate, PA.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving: Counting my Blessings

The summer and fall were lived as adventures and changes that were chronicled in the handwritten 'morning pages' of my private journal, but it's time to say hello to my friends in blog-land.

My Mom and sisters traditionally share Thanksgiving with me and we use this wonderful occassion to count our blessings. The deepened introspection resulting from my continued job search has allowed me to recognize, more so this year, the daily blessings around me: a cozy home; being able to take healing walks on my neighborhood beach to watch inspiring sunrises that give me courage or soothing sunsets that have offered a hug in color as another day ended; visting caring friends, old and new, who've offered such generous support and my loving family whose words have bouyed me repeatedly. And to my blog friends who've stayed in touch by email, I look forward to continued sharing. Thank you all! Yes, thank you, God! My heart is filled with joy, for I know I'm truly blessed! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rug Hooking Delight

I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful multi-media artist whose primitive hooked rugs and a selection of other work are part of the current show at Flinn Gallery inside Greenwich Library. The show is called "Little Treasures" and runs through June 24th. If you're in the area, do stop by!

You can see more of Leslie's work on her website and several of the pieces in this show on my Flikr page: Olenka5.

I happened to notice that a demonstration of this hooking art form would take place this past Saturday, so I zipped down and was delighted by the work and the artist.

I sat in the 'guest' chair and had the opportunity to learn how to hook the wool strips through a burlap backing. Fascinating. After doing a straight line for a couple of inches, Leslie suggested I try making a curve. Not as easy as it looks when just looking at a piece that's finished! As in so many art forms, the technique is simple, but still takes lots of practice to develop the skill to convey ones vision in flowing lines and rhythmic color changes.
Wishing you fun explorations of the primitive figures you imagine!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Reunion with Liz Gorski

The soul-hugging view from my sister's property in the Catskills. It is very similar to the place I spent wonderful Summers as a teenager, camping with the Polish Girl Scouts (ZHP). Most of us went our separate ways into adult life holding memories of those special days that shaped our life.

A few months ago I received an email from a woman asking whether I was the same Olenka she remembered from camp, when she was 12 and I was 15! She was doing internet research on mosaics and had found my blog. It touched me deeply to hear her speak of a simple kindness I had offered her at camp which had made an impression that lasted all these years. After several months of exchanged emails, Liz invited me to attend a chamber music concert at the Morgan Library with her. This past Friday we finally met in Manhattan. What a treat!

It's amazing how deep are the connections forged by childhood experiences. It felt as if she was a friend I simply hadn't seen in a few months (instead of decades!) and we were catching up over a cup of coffee. Thanks for reaching out, Liz, and for the concert and the walk down memory lane. I look forward to our next visit!

The little girl I met in yesteryear is now an accomplished musician, artist and crossword puzzle creator. Do visit her website at and her blog

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Came across this drawing I did in pen back in 1987. I've always enjoyed black and white line art and have considered using this as a sketch for a mosaic. The original drawing you can see is damaged by mold from the basement flood a few years ago. Yesterday I found a file folder filled with copies of many of my old graphic works. It was like seeing old friends again.

Went to a wonderful Sales & Marketing networking meeting this morning sponsored by Schegg Group up in Shelton, CT. Wonderful company! The energy of the participants and enthusiasm of the leader was very encouraging. It was also the first time I came across fellow musicians (two, disguised as top level executives) at one of these corporate networking meetings. May we all land a good job soon!