Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween

Boo's pumpkin carvings
(cheshire cat)
all on one pumpkin
have a booo-tiful day
flo (progressive) and mayhem (allstate)
take no prisoners
mikey, margarita and ozis
strawberry fields forever
ponti pillow pup


Thursday, October 28, 2010


Pumpkin derives from the Greek word pepon (large melon). They are believed to originate in North America and seeds have been found dating back to 7000 and 5500 B.C. in Mexico. They are produced on all continents except for Antarctica. Pumpkins are monoecious, having both male and female flowers on the same plant. They are a squash-like fruit with nutrients such as lutein and both alpha and beta carotene which produces vitamin A.
Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking.  Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves and even the flowers.  In the United States, pumpkin is a very popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple.  When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed or roasted.  In its Native North America, it is a very important traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purees.  Often it is made into pies.  Seeds are roasted and eaten as a snack.
Pumpkins that are small and green may be eaten in the same way as zucchini or squash. Research suggests that chemical compounds found in pumpkin promote regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells, resulting in increased bloodstream insulin levels. Pumpkin extract may be a very good product for pre-diabetic people, as well as those who already have diabetes.
Canned pumpkin is recommended by veterinarians as a dietary supplement for dogs and cats experiencing digestive problems.  High fiber content helps aid proper digestion.  Raw pumpkin can be fed to poultry as a supplement to regular feed during winter to maintain egg production.
The pumpkin carved as a jack-o-lantern for Halloween originated around 1866 in North America. It is believed that jack-o-lanterns ward off demons.  Britain and Ireland have a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables. In the United States, carved pumpkins are associated with the harvest season.
We used to display our carved pumpkins in front during Halloween but after numerous consecutive years of dealing with pumpkin smashers, we decided to keep our creations indoors for our own personal delight.   :(
Toasting pumpkin seeds makes for a healthy dose of magnesium, iron and zinc.  Cooking pumpkin seeds started with the American Indians.  They held pumpkins as one of their coveted foods. The Indians not only treasured pumpkin seeds for the health benefits, but also medicinally as well.
Carve the top off of the pumpkin and remove all of the pulp and seed (this is quite messy and squishy.) Try separating the seeds into a colander or sieve and the pulp onto some newspaper. You won't be able to separate all the pulp off the slimy seeds, but try to get most of it. Rinse the seeds and place them into a pan 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt to the water and let cook for about 15 minutes. This will remove the rest of the pulp from the seed and also allow the salt to permeate the seeds so they will get a fuller flavor when roasted.   Spread the seeds onto a baking pan and allow them to sit out overnight to dry.  The next day, sprinkle the seeds with your favorite toppings from salt, garlic salt, margarine, butter, olive oil, cayenne pepper, salad supreme, or any of your favorite toppings and spices.  Be creative.  Then put the seasoned dry seeds that are spread out on the baking pan into the oven for about 25-30 minutes at 325 degrees, keeping an eye on them so they do not overcook.  A light browning is all they need.  Take them out of the oven, let them cool a little and enjoy!

I had to share some of the amazing things folks did with pumpkins, some of whom are my friends, others are carvings I found while browsing.  I get a kick out of how creative people are, especially since my carvings are always so basic.  I continue to enjoy the creations others share, hence, I share with you. 

Hope you have fun this Halloween weekend and as always, be safe.  xo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

clear your chakras

Another season has changed.  We find ourselves raking leaves, trimming bushes, storing outdoor furniture, blessing the gardens for all their beauty bestowed upon during the summer season.  We change our attitudes to allow ourselves to get ready for the colder weather, spend more time indoors, clean our closets and get rid of the dust bunnies that hid under our beds and behind the furniture.  Why not clean out your chakras during this time?  Each of us is surrounded by an energy field that feeds and nourishes the cells of our bodies.  This subtle energy field, or aura,  is multi-dimentional and multi-colored.  There are seven main energy centers of this field that anchor in our bodies as spinning vortexes of energy.  These are called Chakras.
Chakras have been known on the planet for thousands of years, but few people understand what the chakras are and how they affect their life.  Understanding and working with the chakras are key to healing your fears and limitations.  You allow yourself to open your life's possibilities and free you to achieve your dreams. The word chakra has its roots in the Sanskrit language coming from the Hindus thousands of years ago.  The Hindus thought of the chakra as a wheel of spinning energy, or energy center, where consciousness resides governing various attributes of individual physical and spiritual aspects.  The chakras are not physical but part of the subtle anatomy or what you may simply think of as an energetic point of consciousness within the body where the spirit and physical worlds meet. 

There are seven major energy centers or chakras, with five aligned vertically along the spine and two residing in the head area.  The base, or survial chakra, resides at the base of the spine and connects or grounds you to the earth.  The crown chakra, at the top of the head, is partly not within the body but in the spiritual essence serving more as a gateway to everything that is Divinity or God.  The other major chakras are the sexual-creativity chakra in the naval area, the emotional chakra in the solar plexus area, the heart chakra in the heart area, the throat chakra in the throat area, and the third-eye chakra in the middle of the forehead.  Each of these major chakras uniquely influences various physical and spiritual aspects of your life.
You place perceptions upon your experiences.  The perceptions of all your experiences from all your lifetimes are stored in your chakras, which in turn shape your reality of how the world works, how you create, and the boundaries of your existence in the world. Learning what the chakras are, how they affect your life and methods to work with your chakras to transform and clear the effects of your perceptions can have a big impact on your life, enhancing your spiritual growth and your ability to handle the concerns of daily life.  

Originally, the chakras were created for the sole purpose of defining experience and allowing expression within the physical dimension. As humanity became concerned with its ability to exist whithin the physical, fear raised its head and means were created in an attempt to insure safety.  The consciousness of humanity began to live and process experiences within time: forming perceptions of experiences to be used as a basis for evaluating how one's safety may be affected by present or future experiences.  For this process of evaluation of experiences based on perceptions to work, a place was required for storing the perceptions and making them readily available for evaluation.  The chakras were adapted to serve as containers for storing the perceptions of your life's experiences.
As you can see by this diagram, the colors are similar, if not identical, to the major colors of the rainbow.   Each color has a different vibration, just like the stones and crystals.  For example, if a person has a blockage of the blue-colored fifth chakra, blue stones would be most beneficial for working in that area.

The chakras serve the purpose of allowing the spiritual essence, or Divine Mind, to flow through your being while in the physical.  Blockages in the chakras can prevent or distort this flow.  There are two effects to having blockages within the chakras: one prevents or distorts the flow of Divine energy through your being (more predominant in the upper three chakras); the other is a source of distorted information, through the perceptions stored within the chakras (more predominant in the lower three chakras); limiting the possibilities in your life.

First: Root Chakra - base of spine - red
Relates to survival instincts and our sense of grounding and connecting our bodies to the physical plane. Issues include strength, survival needs, self-preservation, material and monetary concerns, physical health, beauty, stability. 

Second: Spleen Chakra - below belly button - orange
Relates to emotions and sexuality. It connects us to others through feeling, desire, sensation and movement.  Issues include creativity, obsessive/compulsive behavior, indulgence, sensuality, reproductive drive and romantic issues.  We store our emotions here.

Third: Solar Plexus Chakra - mid-abdominal below the sternum - yellow
Called the power chakra; rules our personal power, will and autonomy as well as our metabolism.  Issues include willpower, confidence, sense of reasoning, sense of identity or self-image, self-trust, trust of intuition, shyness, exaggeration, egotism, clear thinking, temper and decision making.  A block in this chakra can cause digestive problems and ulcers.

Fourth: Heart Chakra (gateway to the soul) - located over the heart and thymus gland - green
Relates to love and is the integrator of opposites: mind and body, male and female, persona and shadow, ego and unity.  Issues are growth and balance, peace of mind, compassion, self-control, sharing and adaptability.  All life energy is processed through the breath of this chakra.  A block causes the immune system to be suppressed, heart problems, high blood pressure.

Fifth: Throat Chakra - in the neck at the Adam's apple - sky blue
 Controls the person's ability to express himself fully and creatively.  Issues include taking responsibility for personal needs and integrity, bridging the mind and emotions, speech, self-expression and communications, as well as how we perceive others.

Sixth: Third Eye Chakra - located in forehead between eyebrows - indigo
Relates to the act of seeing both physically and intuitively; psychic powers rest here.  Issues are intuition, perception, devotion, inspiration and the door within.

Seventh: Crown Chakra - top of the head - purple
Relates to consciousness as pure awareness.  It is our connection with the greater world beyond; associated with highest level of spiritual perfection. 

When any of the Chakras are blocked or damaged, the result is the root cause of mental, emotional and physical disease.  Take time each day to allow your soul to heal and be refreshed.  Love yourself and feel the chi flow through your meridians, breathing perfect love throughout your being.  Embrace the goodness and feel the release of all unwanted energies leaving out the tips of your fingers and toes.  Thank the universe for all its blessings.  Take responsibility to be the best you deserve to be.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Namaste. xo

Sunday, October 24, 2010

indian prayer

Indian Prayer

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glint on snow

I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain
when you awake in the morning hush

I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet
birds in circling starlight at night

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep

Remember Me
To the living, I am gone
To the sorrowful, I will never return
To the angry, I was cheated
But to the happy, I am at peace
and to the faithful I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard
So as you stand upon a shore
gazing at a beautiful sea
remember me
So as you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty
remember me
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity
remember me
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts,
and your memories of the times we fought,
the times we laughed, for if you always think of me
I will have never gone.
I found this on a card and was compelled to share as a reminder that those we love are always with us.  It is that time of the year and must be in my mind after viewing Hereafter.

Take a look around,
they're the sunlight in our hair;
the shadows on the ground;
the whisper in the wind.

They are already there. xo

Saturday, October 23, 2010

not a baker

lemon cheese pie

I was not blessed with the baking gene.  I continue to dabble in new sweet endeavors but at first do not succeed, so I try again.  I made lime squares that turned out just right, but the lemon squares ended up as lemon mush, so I put my creative cap on and enhanced a new dish using pie shells and adding a cream cheese enhancement and made a pie.  Now it is edible.  I am not kidding.  Who else do you know that makes oatmeal raisin cookies and forgets the oats?  Yep.  That would be me.  Sigh. 

another pasta dish

I am good with the carb meals, probably because I like them so much.  Today I tossed together a spinach, red pepper, parmesan pasta dish with spicy cashews.  Steve's friends and Darcy are vegetarians so I dabble in meatless meals to provide something for everyone.  I played all my new tunes by Kings of Leon and Bryan Ferry while cooking today.  Music inspires me. Wayne and Dan are raving about my mush mosh soup as I write this.  I just put together beef broth, red pepper, onion, broccoli and cheese tortellini.  Nothing to it.
My Boo had to pose by our gorgeous burning bush.  It started out with five bushes 25 years ago and only one is left, but that's all we need.  I love this look on him - he wears it well.
Danny took the pups for a walk in the field.  I love when he does this, for they are free to roam in the vast open space without their leashes, as dogs should be able to do.  Mama Thumper always finds something to roll in; this time it was ca ca and she smelled awful afterwards.  Dan found this so hard to understand why she does this, but I explained most dogs, especially hounds, like to smell like sh**, and they do not like baths at all.  Go figure.
I must share some of the classics from the Sawyer home.  Today I clicked a pic of the old sewing machine.  It makes me want to relearn how to sew just to use this fine item.  Again, I did not inherit the sewing gene.  The last time I attempted to make something, I did it for Girl Scouts to obtain a badge.  I made this cute yellow dress with daisies all down the front.  I wore it to school for show and tell and lo and behold the zipper broke.  Yep, that's me. 
Inside is the sewing machine.
This is another classic piece that Wayne's dad, George, aka Bombhead, played all the time.  We still have the old albums he loved to listen to all the time; Inglebert Humperdink and Bing Crosby, over and over, every weekend.  This is one of the best memories I have of him.  Cherishable.
Everything still works.
Last but not least, I found this old fashioned shoe shining kit.  It tickles my fancy everytime I see it.  The attic and basement are filled with treasures of days gone by and I cherish the memories attached to them.  I have an old fashioned washboard and mop roller bucket that I'll click next time.  Wait until you see the original man cave.  Some things we will sell and some we will pass onto our kids to keep the spirit alive as long as possible.  That's what life is all about. 
Enjoy the last days of October.  The full moon offers us the opportunity to affirm goodness in our lives.  Breathe in and exhale all the negativity you want released from your life.  The universe will take care of it.  Bless all to their higher good.  The love you take is equal to the love you make.  Thank God for this lovely season and lovingly put away the summer items and the memories attached to them, knowing they will return to offer us more joy.  Now we must get ready to nest and rest for awhile.  God gave us colder days and nights so we have an excuse to snuggle with the ones we love (and enjoy our fireplaces.)  Now we have time to rest from all the labors of gardening, but know in our hearts the seasons change, and once again we will embrace the warm weather. 
Boo's bonfire last night


Autumn, the wind blows colder than summer
Autumn, my love's gone with another
I can't demand anything of myself now
I'll stay here in New England
For autumn

Buldings look tall and gray
Birds flying, haven't much to say
They all know that it's coming again
So I guess they'll stay here in New England
For autumn, autumn

Did you ever lose something
That you thought you knew?
Did you ever lose someone
That was close to you?
Well I lost my lover
And my summer, too

To autumn, the wind blows
Colder than summer
Autumn, my love's gone with another
I can't demand anything of myself now
So I guess I'll stay here in New England
For autumn, autumn, autumn

Edgar Winter

ps - isn't the word autumn weird?  keep typing it and you shall see xo

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

RIP Tasha

We are rapidly approaching November and the sun is still shining brightly and our temperature hovers 70 degrees.  My garden still graces us with her beauty and I had to share these three little blooms that are growing in the ground.  I have three tomato plants growing from fallen seeds as well.  Simply delightful.
Margarita ~ Kristina ~ Melanie

I had a glorious weekend with my future daughter, Margarita, and her family.  Friday I indulged in a long overdue massage and facial after completing our project in the city. Yahoo! Saturday we spent the day at Priscilla of Boston, where she found her wedding gown, then we had lunch at the Norstrom Cafe and browsed through Oakbrook Mall.  It was fun spending time with so much female energy; thanks Anna, Kristina and Melanie. Afterwards Margarita and Mike spent the evening with us -  each browsing through websites on two computers - one viewing guitars; the other wedding gowns.  It was so cute.  Sunday we continued our shopping tour at House of Brides and David's, just to make certain she made the perfect choice.  We all knew once she tried on the one.  I enjoyed a delicious Lithuanian dish at their home in Naperville and browsed through old photographs of their country and Margarita's childhood. 

My mom and dad's dog, Tasha, passed away this week.  She was such a cute Australian shepherd, all black with tiny white markings, but very neurotic.  She disliked the kitchen floor and had to have throw rugs all over.  Tasha enjoyed being in the backyard and a few weeks ago I got a kick out of watching her roll around in the grass as I planted mums.  I wish I knew that was to be one of the last times I would see her.  My Dad and Bo are really missing her and the house is so quiet without her.  Mom let them have her for three years; now they are reunited.  Rest in peace, Tashie.  I will miss petting your head - I know you really liked that. xo

Saturday, October 16, 2010

more feng shui L - Z

Library of Congress

Library - Use closed bookcases to keep the negative energy caused by the edges of the shelves from being directed at anyone in the room.  Don't use glass shelves in the North area.  Don't place wooden shelves in SW and NE areas, or in the center of a room.  Place inspirational literature, biographies about successful people, and personal growth and self-help books in the North area of a room or your home, which represents business and career success.  Put reference and motivational books, cards and posters in the NE area, which represents wisdom.  Put college handbooks from a school of choice in the NE area to ensure academic success.  Keep literature about starting or developing new ventures, businesses or beginnings in the East, which represents spring and new growth.  Put books about building wealth, making investments and increasing your assets in the SE, which represents wealth, material growth and fortune.  Store gifts, books, pictures and other items about and from celebrities in the South, which represents fame and fortune.  Keep literature about international relations, trade, travel, leadership, organization and planning in the NW. 

Place your library or study in the NE of your home, the area that governs knowledge, wisdom, self-improvement and enlightenment.  If you are fortunate enough to have walls with shelves, arrange your books according to the subject.  Encourage your children to study in the library.  Put an aquarium or fish tank in your library. Use your library for enriching, cultural activities such as listening to music, meditation, reading or practicing an instrument.  Store your books with their spines flush with the edges of the bookshelf in order to eliminate sha energy. A better solution is to use cabinets that have doors on them.  Display fresh or silk peonies in your library, but not elsewhere in the house if you are a married couple. 
Lions - Position Chinese lions correctly.  The male with the ball under his paw should be on the left side as you face out of the building.  The female with her lion cub under her paw should be on the right. The male lion represents the domain of the world at large; the female lion represents offspring and home.  Place lions in pairs outside your home for protection.  They should flank the door and face away from the building. Choose pairs that are in proportion to the size of the building they grace.  Use lions with great caution, as they will cause harm to the persons or businesses that they face. Safer substitutes include a pair of unicorns, elephants, horses or fu dogs, which resemble the Pekinese dogs favored by emporers and represent good fortune.  Use doorknockers with lion heads if the lion is part of your family's seal or coat of arms.  These offer protection to your household.  Don't place lions anywhere but on the ground.  They are animals of the earth and are not meant to be on roofs, gateposts or pedestals.  A good rule is to never place a lion's image higher than a lion would naturally climb.
Love - Place hearts in the SW to enhance love, romance and relationships.  Add a gold, red or pink crystal heart to your romance corner.  Place heart-shaped candles and accessories crafted in earth materials, such as stone, tile, terra cotta and clay in the SW to activate love, romance, relationships and marriage.  Use yellow, pink, red and white objects.  Hang a crystal chandelier in the SW area of your home, especially if this area contains your living room, to attract love.  Create a romance corner in the SW area of your bedroom.  Include pictures or figures of happy couples and surround them with hearts, flowers, doves and lovebirds.  Collect heart-shaped containers made of terra cotta, china and porcelain, or take stones from the beach that are shaped like hearts.  Place them in groups of two in your romance corner.  Keep a representation of a bat in a SW area to encourage marital contentment.  In China, bats symbolize happiness, good fortune, long life and protection.
Pets - Keep a bird or fish as a pet;   both represent wealth.   Don't keep the ashes of a pet (or a person) inside your home or on your property.  This represents death.  Match the color of your pet to the color of the season you were born. Keep a red bird or fish if you were born in the summer.   Select a green one if you were born in spring.  White pets are for those born in the autumn and black for winter. Keep your pets in the rear of the house. Reserve the front for visitors and positive chi to enter your home.

Plants - Use a jade plant in the wood areas of East and South. It makes a welcome addition to the interior or exterior of a home or business, as jade symbolizes wealth and good fortune.  Don't keep plants in your home that have sharp, spikey leaves, thorns, barbs or needles such as cacti.  All of those are a source of tiny "poison" arrows directed at the occupants of a room. Don't place spikey or thorny plants close to your front entrance or flanking the path leading up to your house.  Put these "hostile" plants on the perimeter of your property, some distance away from your house, to create a natural deterrent from intruders.  Do plant roses.  Although they have thorns, they also have a pleasant scent that neutralizes the sha energy.

Snakes - Don't keep a snake as a pet or bring an image of a snake into your home.  In feng shui, the snake is considered a noxious, treacherous and wicked creature. Don't injure, harm or kill a snake that takes up residence in or around your house or property.  Do keep a shed snakeskin.  This is believed to bring you riches.
Toads - Place a statue of a three-legged toad on the floor inside your house, facing into the room as if just entering. You can also put it in a cabinet, under chairs and furniture, or diagonally across from your front entrance.  This toad symbolizes that money is on its way to you and is considered lucky.  Don't put a toad statue directly facing your front door or on an altar; this means that your money is on its way out your door. Keep a coin in the mouth of a toad statue. Don't place toad statues in a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen.  They are thought to bring bad luck and negative energy when located in those rooms.

Turtles - Keep a live turtle, especially if it is black, in North areas.  Turtles are symbols of longevity, good luck, strength, fortune and endurance. As one of the celestial animals, they are believed to possess great protective powers. Save a turtle by purchasing it from a market where it is being sold as food. This is especially of merit because the turtle is considered sacred in China. Place crystal turtles facing North.  Metal turtles should face West, wooden turtles should face East or SE. Turtles made of earth materials should face SW or NE. Use turtles, which represent long life, to rid your home of illness.

Wolves - Don't place a statue of a wolf inside your home.  The wolf symbolizes cruelty, greed, mistrust and fear.  Do place a statue of a wolf as a guardian outside your home, perhaps in the garage.

Zodiac - Use the animals of the Chinese zodiac as decoration in your home.

Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love.  Then, for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

My sincere gratitude to Angi Ma Wong for his enlightening feng shui. xo

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

more feng shui D - H

Deer - Display a figure of a deer in the proper direction.  Place it in W or NW areas if it is metal, in E or SE locations if it is carved from wood, and in the NE or SW if it is crafted from an earth material, such as clay, porcelain or terra cotta.  The deer represents long life, speed, prosperity, endurance and wealth.

Desks - Examine the view that you have while sitting at your desk.  You should not directly face a "killing" arrow, such as a head-on road, the curve of a highway, a lamppost, a fire hydrant, the space between two buildings, a steeple, a rooftop, a tree trunk, power lines and transformers, the edges of signs and billboards or the corner of a building.  Use a desk that has the dimensions of 35" xo 60" xo 33" (89 x 152 x 84 cm.)  Use a wooden or glass desk in the East and a metal or stone desk in the West.  Try to have more space in front of your desk than behind it.  You need the support of a wall behind you and space in front of you to allow good chi to beat a clear path to you and your business.  Don't position your desk directly in line with the door or under a beam.  If you do, you will be receiving negative sha energy or will be located under oppressive sha, which causes illness, accidents and misfortune.  Buy a new desk or use one whose previous owner prospered.  Don't put bizarre or strange objects on your desk, as these attract negative energy.  Place any of the following on your desk to attract good luck and prosperity: a wish-fulfilling cow, deer, dragon, tortoise, unicorn, money tree, prosperity plant, table-top fountain, crystal paperweight or candy jar.

Dogs - Put a figure of a dog in the direction that matches the element from which the figure is made.  Put a metal dog in a West or NW area, a wooden dog in the East or SE, and a dog made of an earth material in the NE or SW.  The dog symbolizes faithfulness and is valued as both a protector and a scavenger. Place statues of dogs at your door for protection and to guard your prosperity.  Do adopt a stray dog if one comes to your home.  A dog that comes on its own is a very lucky omen that sustenance, fortune or wealth will arrive on your doorstep.

Doors - Make sure you have a clear view from the front entrance of your home, in order to facilitate a clear view of the world.  Use a small round or octagonal mirror or a shiny, flat metal doorknocker to deflect "poison" arrows, such as tree trunks, lampposts, fire hydrants, corners of neighboring buildings, church steeples or other objects projecting sha energy toward your home or obstructing your view.  Don't use an all-glass front door; choose a solid door instead.  A small, beveled window on the door is acceptable.  Too much glass does not offer protection for the home and allows prosperity to leak out.

Dragons - Place a dragon in the East area of a living room, family room, library, office or study or on the East corner of a desk.  The dragon is the traditional Chinese symbol of growth, protection, vitality, spring, prosperity, health and new beginnings. Don't put a dragon, an animal with a lot of yang energy, in your bedroom, which should always be restful, peaceful and serene.  Don't face your dragon toward the North, as this is considered unlucky.  Do use dragons as decorations if you were born in the Year of the Dragon.  Choose dragons or pictures of dragons that resemble the qualities of water: slick, shiny, translucent and the color of the sea.  This is more helpful that a dragon made of wood, china or porcelain, though all materials are acceptable.  Have your dragon face a source of clean water, such as a lake, river, beach, ocean, waterfall or fountain.  Use arrangements of just one dragon which represents power, two dragons symbolizing unity, or a group of nine dragons promoting longevity.  Choose a turquoise dragon.  Red is the second best and gold is third.  Place your dragon at eyelevel so you can see it easily.  It will then provide you with strength and vitality.  Don't put your dragon in, facing, or near the bathroom or laundry room.  These rooms represent dirty water.  Combine your dragon with a phoenix.  This represents a happy, harmonious pairing of partners and is a popular traditional wedding symbol in China.  Don't buy or use a carpet that has dragon designs on it.  Dragons must be able to fly free and are unable to do so if they are being stepped on.

Family Room - Balance quiet activities, such as board games, card games, reading and puzzles, with active pursuits, including table tennis, television billiards and video games, in a family room.  Use muted but warm colors, such as yellow or green, the color of harmony, in a family room to foster creativity, teamwork and relationships.  Use round tables to represent family harmony and equality.
pearly gates

Gates - Use an iron gate with an open design in the South area to allow beneficial energy to move freely.  Triangles and pyramid designs are great, but do not select designs that have spikes or points at the top of the gate as they will create sha energy.  Use a gate in the SW only if it is about as high as your waist or chest.  Choose one with a design of squares to match the earth element.  Use full-height metal gates in the West to slow down and obstruct the extreme yang energy of the afternoon sun.  Use circular, semi-circular and arch designs in this direction. Use arches, semi-circles and circles in blue or black metal for your NW gate.  Use a square gate in the NE, since this shape represents the earth.  Take your inspiration from water and the sea as you select your North gate; one embellished with waves and curves is ideal.  Use rectangles, cylinders, columns and poles in the design of your gate in the East, where the element that reigns is wood.

Gifts -  Give a Chinese unicorn, or chi ling, as a present to bestow good wishes upon someon.  This unicorn, which bears almost no resemblance to its European counterpart, is the symbol of goodness, long life, peace, harmony, protection, many children and an unending family line.  Give bird feathers as a thoughtful gift to your family and friends, as they represent protection.  Give a lion as a gift for a new home to provide protection to the family.  Don't give a bell, a clock, or anything with a clock's face as a gift.  These are akin to gifts of scissors, knives or swords and symbolize the severing of a relationship or a life.  Do attach a penny to each blade if you give a gift of a pair of scissors or a set of knives or swords.  This neutralizes the severence effect.  The pennies must be returned to the giver.  Give a gift of a jade dove or pigeon, a symbol of long life, to bestow best wishes for health and longevity.  Give potted tangerine or orange plants laden with fruit to new business owners, or to friends and family during the Chinese New Year.  These gifts symbolize prosperity, wealth and abundance in the months to come.  Give lucky red money envelopes generously and freely as gifts; they are traditional and appropriate for happy events, including birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, housewarmings, engagements, graduations, new businesses, births and visiting family members after an absence.  It is customary to put paper currency or a check inside.  Make a homemade jade plant by threading and twisting gold wire into semiprecious stone leaves on an artificial, potted bonsai tree.  Give the plant as a gift to express wishes for prosperity and abundance.  Make a homemade money tree by hanging fan-folded, new currency with red thread on a silk tree.  Don't give a regular bonsai plant as a gift, since it symbolizes limited growth and is therefore unlucky.  Give a sack of rice as a housewarming gift to bestow blessings of abundance.  Rice represents survival, prosperity, sustenance and fertility. Donate books that you no longer use to schools, churches, hospitals, halfway homes, libraries, prisons or other institutions.
Horses - Use a group of eight horses, which represents the fabled eight horses that a Chinese emporer used to win a war.  Don't use groupings of five horses, as five is a very powerful yin number.  Do place your horse so that it faces South, the most yang direction.  Don't place a horse from a tomb in your home, especially in the wealth, health or marriage areas.  These are funeral pieces that connote death and are therefore considered unlucky.   Choose a stately horse that is standing or posing calmly with its head level or lifted.  Select a galloping horse that symbolizes vigor and strength.  Don't use a horse that is bucking or rearing up as if in fear, especially in your bedroom. 

Be open.  Don't close off the possibility of a new truth because you have been comfortable with an old one.  Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Donald Neale Walsch

still more to come xo