Thursday, November 26, 2015

Preserving & Framing Autumn Leaf Tutorial

I adore Autumn. This year, I created my own Autumn Leaf Tutorial that preserves the leaves as well as turns them into elegant works of art. This was easy, fun, relaxing, and cost me a total of five dollars. I already had supplies at home, total cost might be $5-20 depending on the frames you use & where you buy supplies. I went to the dollar store.

Below is a finished 11 x 14. 

  • - Small wide paint brush 
  • - Modge Podge [clear drying craft gloss lustre, $4 for 4oz, or $1 at the dollar store, 4oz. is more than enough.]
  • - Cardboard [or a disposable work-space to on.
  • - Dried Leaves
  • - Frames [I made 4. Any size. Style of frame matters. They must have a frame back similar to the photo below so the glass from another frame can fit as a clear backing instead of a colored backing.] 

You will need 2 frames to make one complete frame. Buy double the frames you plan to make. Discard the frame/backing from one, keep the backing hangers and glass depending upon how many frames you make.]
Small nails to hang frames. 

The instructions are outlined below with photos from start to finish:

Collect leaves early morning still wet, not wet is fine too. Leaves keep their brighter colors when still wet. Pick leaves from various trees for shape/color.

After collecting, press them flat when home. Paper towels and/or tissue folded in half works good. Place leaves between one fold making sure no leaves overlap, stick out or are bent on edges. Place them between pages of heavy books. Let them dry. 


Take cardboard, lie flat. Get modge podge and paint brush. Take each dried leaf separate and coat back and front of each leaf generously. You will have to dab off with brush extra coating so it does not leave marks when dry. All you want is a glossy finish that also preserves the leaf. Be careful, you can easily crack a nice leaf. Stems are fine to break or break off.

Use different techniques with the brush to make sure the leaf is fully coated front and back. 

After the leaf is coated, let it dry, about 20 minutes, away from other leaves and off the edge as below. 

When the leaves dry, they will look like below. Slightly glossy and preserved. Notice how the dry leaves you started with are different.

Important: When buying a frame, make sure the backing is like below. When you frame, take apart one frame, discard the cardboard backing, save the clip holders. 

Use superglue to glue one clip from discarded frame onto the frame you will use to hang. Let that dry. Remove glass from discarded frame, recycle the other frame or use it for another project. Take the glass from discarded frame and use that as the new backing for the frame that will have leaves in it.


When ready to add leaves to one frame, place glass face down in the frame and creatively place the leaves wherever you see fit. Make it diverse, coorful, interesting. When pleased, put the glass from discarded frame on top of the upturned leaves and clamp down the hooks to secure the leaves in place. This glass is now the backing of one frame so you are able to see through to the wall instead of seeing a cardboard or colored backing. 

Below are examples of up close finished frames, different sizes and designs. 

Below is how I chose to design one wall with 4 finished frames. 

This is another example.

This project is easy, fun, and inexpensive and looks beautiful. The glass backing works well against lighter colored walls and up close, you are able to see the veins in the leaves and the changing colors. 

Now you have not only an artistic display, but preserved Autumn leaves. Experiment. There are many ways to do this. 

Have fun and enjoy!

The artwork in the middle [Love Yourself First in Arabic and English calligraphy] was gifted to me by my sister, artist, writer in Kashmir, Amreen Naqash.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

SUNY ECC Students and Modern Poetry [Visiting Speaker on Poetry]

Published on Mogul

Jennifer Campbell --> educator, editor, poet and writer, invited me to speak to her SUNY ECC students on Modern Poetry, Writing and Spoken Word. The students had such enlightening questions to ask me during and after. This is a short audio excerpt of that visit.

This can be listened to on Think Twice Radio and Soundcloud and below, embedded.

We often do not realize what we project out to the world and feedback is important. After we talked, laughed and learned from one another, a few students had mind blowing things to say to me.

One student told me she enjoyed my talk because I was simply real. Another stated that she adored my reading of the poem "I Am' because it empowered her. One student told me that "I pulled a Stephen King" and I will take that compliment with a great big smile. Several students told me that I did a good job and my writing is different and for me, such words are important and essential and tell me I am on track at getting my own messages across regarding all forms of writing.

This audio is funny, upfront and well, it is me, simply as I am. I hope you enjoy. I am most honored to have been able to speak to students on writing. 

Thank you Jennifer and thank you to all the students of her Modern Poetry course. 

Get writing! 



How does one say


such words seem
hollow even

echo like


dropped for



         well(ing) within


Monday, November 23, 2015

Being No-thing-ness

We meet people for the purpose of elevation of the soul, sometimes elevation for one person, hopefully, for both.

On existence:

From Being and Nothingness: "Sartre contends that human existence is a conundrum whereby each of us exists, for as long as we live, within an overall condition of nothingness (no-thing-ness)—that ultimately allows for free consciousness. But simultaneously, within our being (in the physical world), we are constrained to make continuous, conscious choices." 

I agree. This is a difficult way to exist at times.
People enter our paths for reasons. It is up to us to understand what the purpose is. Sometimes you may not know right away. No matter what occurred before, during and after, our mission for betterment and evolution of consciousness is to realize that everything is eventually positive. There are no negatives. Only lessons on both ends. It is not your mission to make the other person realize this; it is only your own understanding and purpose that matters. 

This is growth.

Giving of yourself allows openness, acceptance, and vulnerability. Without being free in the sense of an accepting soul, there simply cannot be divine love. Giving of self can be both beautiful and painful. Do not fear this, accept it, allow yourself to feel and move past all human condition to a place where you are grateful for every experience and encounter.

I have discovered that a lot of people are afraid of a pure unconditional outpouring of love. There is fear attached to love because we are taught by society to be on guard. This is not a natural way to exist.

Terms such as "soul-mate" and "one and only" keep us from experiencing numerous spiritual bonds in various fashions and such bonds must be honored and respected. The only time you must walk away from a situation is when there is pain and hurt. It is unhealthy to stay in a place of negativity.

Think: Purpose met, time to leave.

Humanity is in dire need of healing. 
It is so easy to love and
there is so much love to give. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Your Most Holy Mouth

On Audio HERE

The wind screeches thunder
like my
a doe
in headlights

Your eyes
deep as night,
the velvet silken touch of eve -
your skin,
olive, tanned,
muscled arms,
around me
ever so loving

My legs
slender, tight
gripping your
for the sun to rise
and rise
and shine
like Valhalla

I hear the Valkyries
scrying wondrous wishes
upon the backs
of great golden eagles
flying across heaven
as kamikazes
bringing us
golden majestic
cirrus dreams
of reams and streams
of years
of walking barefoot
hand in hand
mouth to
neck to thighs
to the middle of my
third eye

The birds sing sweetly
for us,
the grass grows tender
as roses in November,
and the seasons bestow upon us
burnt sienna skied sunrises

And the sand in our eyes
is glitter on New Years Eve,
when the clock strikes midnight
and a new year births itself
between my legs -
your most holy mouth,


© Susan Marie

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Seeds of Violence

Published on: 

Peshawar, Paris, Beirut- these are not one-off, isolated, contained pockets of dysfunction. They mirror something very fundamental about the human condition as a whole.

Violence is not merely the use of force. It is not the child of the battlefield, or the killing of innocents; it is not the use of firearms or fists. Violence is the seed planted in our drawing rooms and over our dining tables, in our classrooms and our marketplaces, in our sermons and our TV studios.

Every single time we glorify the 'self' and dehumanize the 'other'- by virtue, by race, by ethnicity, by nationality, by caste, by religion, by sex, by income group- the seed of violence is planted:

I am better than you, I am more than you, my worth is higher, because I am Muslim, and you are not OR, because I am NOT Muslim, and you ARE. I am more than you, my house is such, my family is such, my face is such, my degrees, my job, my, my, my, my . . .

Every time I make the choice that my primary relationship with you is by any of these things, rather than by the life that flows through your veins and mine, I have planted the seed of violence. I have set myself up for manipulation by those who understand this, those who know that the terms between you and me are material, not human. And in that moment I have glorified myself, and dehumanized your worth. And in that moment I have planted the seed for another Peshawar, another Paris, another Beirut.

We are each one responsible for the reverence we give to human life and human dignity.

And unless we respond to these wake-up calls - they will keep coming.

*Haneen Khalid, representative for Global Zero and founder of Progressive Youth Alliance, is a humanitarian focused on global solidarity, peace and nuclear disarmament. Recently, Miss Khalid spoke to hundreds of people on behalf of Global Zero in Karachi, Pakistan in a related CNN iReport.


On Audio HERE 

© Susan Marie 

My kiss
may never meet
your lips

and our eyes
may never be
in ultimate ecstatic
of one another.

My hands
may never grasp
your own,
as they work their way
along my
marking lines
eons ago
brought to life
for you,
for you,
for us.

only -

This does not
cause me grief,
my sweet surrender.

Our souls
have met
and yet again,
here and now.

My love,
we share lifetimes
that others
standing side by side
may never discover.

Our most holy union
between the thin line
that hides
between the sunset
and the ocean,


© Susan Marie

Friday, November 13, 2015

Three Line Poetry Published in Prolific Press

Prolific Press published a poem of mine in Three Line Poetry:

Book in print HERE

Prolific Press is more than a book publisher. Prolific oversees the creation and publication of eight established and respected literary journals. Prolific Press has published works by thousands of authors, making Prolific one of the most desirable targets for writers in today's market. 

Prolific Press currently publishes:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Most Holy Call To Bliss

© Susan Marie 

Throughout life we consistently deny who we are and what we are truly supposed to be doing mainly due to familial and societal pressure. 

We are given time-frames in life that are completely unrealistic to gauge where and how we should be living. We live denying our own selves. This is the polar opposite of divine bliss. Bliss is not man-made, bliss is what speaks to the soul.

In my own life, I have set aside writing novels, writing my own story, due to things I thought were essential for me to be doing and they were essential and necessary and correct for growth. However, there is no reason to deny one's own bliss within certain time-frames. 

Our mistake as humans is never realizing that we can do whatever we want at any given moment, we are powerful, not powerless. 

The "ideal" of not having power is ingrained in our minds from birth. Time to talk, time to walk, time for school, time for . . . time frames. Clocks. Calendars. 

Our existence has been molded for us and it is our job as whole beings to deny what we have been ingrained with and heed the call of the universe when it pulls and yanks at our ears and hair. When one denies self, illness sets in, identity crisis, a breakdown of the soul. This is okay, this is normal and healthy. We are taught it is abnormal.

A breakdown of self and overcoming that is a genuine call from the universe to wake up and fly like the most holy beautiful souls that we are.

* * * 

Suggestions for furthering quest for self: 

Finding Joe: [Joseph Campbell - The Hero's Journey Movie]
  • Downloadable for free above, a dedication to the brilliance of Campbell through the mouths of those who have proven his insight through their experience, uplifting and necessary.

Søren Kierkegaard: The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin  

  • This book will blow your entire self wide open. The man was a mad genius.

The Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell 

  • If you read it, read it again and again throughout your life. Gift it to someone. We all need it.

Most of all, love yourself enough to keep searching . . . 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Conversations With Myself

© Volti

Negative Sue:  You know what? I don't know what to think of people anymore . . .

Positive Sue:  What do you mean? People treat you well.

Negative Sue: No, they don't. I never really feel like people care.

Positive Sue: That is UTTERLY ridiculous, of course they care. You have people that love you.

N: Well this is true, I don't mean all people. I mean some people.

P: Susan Marie, you cannot include "some" people when you state "all" people. That's being conditional.

N: Is it? I think of it as being human. I don't feel conditional. As a matter of fact, I feel severely unconditional. I think I am doing good things and have a good heart. I don't think that's an egotistical thing to say. I am being truthful. If they feel that way, loving, I don't know it or see it.

P: Well, you cannot expect that the whole world is to think and feel as you do!

N: I know, but I mean shouldn't people think good things? I guess to me it is the right way to think - helping people and doing good things and trying to let go of stuff and not be mad and grow and progress. A perfect example of that sentence is this conversation right now. I am talking to you so I can let go of what I am feeling. I don't know even know what I am feeling . . .

P: Yes, you do. Just ask yourself "why am I feeling this way?" You will answer yourself. Being good is the right thing to do. You are not doing anything bad. By the way, you completely bypassed a word I just used:  expect.

N:  I guess so, it's just tiring you know? I mean there are like 10 whole people in the world that I know who are right in the head.

P: Are you always right in the head, Sue?

N: Well . . . no . . . alright, fine, whatever. I see where you are going with this . . . you're not going to start telling me the black and white wolf story are you? Or the shadow side?  Please do not go on about the mirror, please . . . I know these things . . .

P: Then why are you talking to me if you know EVERYTHING? You did not ask yourself that question up there?

N: What question?

P: Sue . . .


I feel helpless sometimes because I can't do everything and I want to and sometimes I have to depend on people. When people do not come through, then I get angry at myself because if I could do it, I would. When asking others for help, then comes that whole "let down" feeling because if I could do it myself I would not have to be let down by others not doing or thinking as I do.

P: You just nailed it!

N: What?

P: You said:  "not doing or thinking as I do."

N: Well, I don't mean it like that. I sound like a pompous ass, don't I? I mean in a loving, natural spiritual way, you know?

P: I understand, but you are putting expectations on certain people and that is not reality, that is your perception.

N: Ohhh . . . here we go back to that" it is all your own perception" thing with you. Please stop with the psychobabble . . .

P: Well, it's true. If you feel or perceive that you are not being treated as you want and need to be treated and people let you down, then that is your perception, correct?

N: Yes, but sometimes people are plain mean . . .

P: Well, think of the other person. They may believe or perceive they are doing good. Others may be utilizing their power and maybe even more to help you and talk to you and do whatever it is they are supposed to be doing in your life.

N: I guess you are right. I mean people are not mind readers.

P: No, they most certainly are not.

N: Well, I communicate extremely well. I mean I do not hide. I know what people want and feel and sometimes when I ask for simple things, some people do not come through. I mean come on, man! That is just plain sad.

P: Do you communicate well to those that you feel are not by your side as you perceive them to be? Okay, but what of all the people that DO come through for you? Do they not matter? You are only going to focus on those that never come through for you? You have to ask yourself why you give energy to such thoughts. You must think of where others are mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Maybe they are not where you are right now.

N: This is true, but geeeez, it's getting ridiculous. It's a lonely feeling sometimes to think and feel this way.

P: What way?

N: Super ultra sensitive to everything, that the world is good and kind, that nature matters, that people have extreme power and have no idea that they do, that loving people regardless of their actions towards me is a divine act and not one of want or need.

P: Okay, well, ask to have the sensitivity calmed down. You know how to do this. Again, you are responsible for your own behavior and actions. Think positive. You have much to be grateful for. Love IS a divine act. Love is never wasted. Nature does matter, as do people, as does the world.

N: I know I do, I truly do and I am happy and grateful for every single thing. I just wish I did not have to keep letting go of people in my life. You know, I observe people completely lose their minds a lot. I have become used to this. It's truly disturbing.

P: Ah . . . maybe they changed or you changed. It does not mean one has lost their mind. This is the way of life and growth. This is existence and nature. Loving people and places and things and learning to let them go and doing the best you can with what you have and being the best YOU is what truly matters. You are doing fine.

N: Yeah, well, sometimes I do not feel fine. Sometimes I feel real angry at the world for everything that goes on.

P: You are not responsible for everything that goes on. You are only responsible for you. Nobody said being human was easy and nobody is perfect. This world will always be full of light and dark. The universe cannot operate without both. All you need to be concerned with is yourself and those that ARE WITH YOU on THIS wavelength RIGHT NOW.

N: I know and I do. I have a question.

P: Yes?

N: What is the difference between operating as a loving human being and simply being a turning point in the life of another? Sometimes it feels like the same thing.

P: Have you been reading Kierkegaard again? 

That question is for you to address. If you feel like a turning point, then you are. If you feel loved and cared for, then you are. If you feel something rising up within you like anger or sadness due to the actions of another, you must address that within yourself and not blame or project that onto another individual. I do not mean in an abusive fashion either. One must always stick up for self but try to do that as loving as possible. In all relations, especially with self, one must be happy. Be gentle with yourself. Everything has a purpose and time.

N:  I know. I do address it. I address these things all day. I just wish that people saw like I do because you know the world is really quite a beautiful place through my eyes . . .