9 Questions with Gabriela Emma Olivera

1. When did you discover jewelry design?
I always liked this kind of jewelry and the mysticism that goes around them.

2. What made you decide to design purses as well as jewelry? (Or was it the other way around and you did bags first and then decided to do jewelry?)
The bag goes after for a women it’s a must and complements the style.

3. What inspired the Khalama collection?
The unknown of the different cultures, the different stones, metal, seeds, that they have to be together in a perfect and unique way.

4. Can you take my readers through the process of how a piece of jewelry goes from being a design to a piece for sale?
One day when I start to make the first necklaces I explain to a friend of mine that I have to be inspired, and she told me yes… because it’s like a paint or a sculpture it’s a unique combination, it take me some times minutes, sometimes hours and may be days. It’s incredible that in one day I could make four five complete. The women who wear it have to feel that it’s a beautiful combination of the beads, stones, some times wool, everything, cultures, religions. Every women has a color to match not just with the cloth, it has to match her… When I finish them there’s some very good people who cooperate on this journey. They take the pictures then uploaded them to the web, make the social media and all the work to sell them.

5. Do you feel the stones and materials you use provide a particular energy to the jewelry?
I feel that the combination of the materials, specially the stones and the person who wear it make a combination and creates an energy around them on all the paths that can be.

Bracelet from Khalama Collection

6. What is one of your favorite pieces and why?
I love the Amethysts because my country Uruguay is one of the majors origins of them. They have a spectacular color and for who believe the energy of the stones protect you and give a positive energy.

7. When not wearing your jewelry, what is some of your favorite jewelry to wear?
I like the silver a lot and the pre-Columbian gold.

8. When you’re not working on the Khalama collection, what else do you like to do?
I have another two companies so I have a lot of work to do, one of logistics and the restaurant so I love to cook!! I read and I have to boys that are my life. I have to take care of them and I spend time with them.

Bag from Khalama Collection

9. What else can my readers look forward to from you and/or Khalama?
Look for a combination of nature with, seeds, wool, stones, and much color.

About Gabriela Emma Olivera & Khalama:
When Miami-based designer Gabriela Emma Olivera envisioned her handbag and hi-end accessories line Khalama, she planned on a brand high in spiritual wealth and abundant with cultural richness: beautiful and boundless with beads imported from such countries as Morocco, Colombia, Peru, Tibet, Uruguay, and India, the extensive Khalama line lends itself to a unique cross-continental interconnectedness rarely found in fashion.

Clinging most closely to it’s Tibetan meaning of “Sky Path”, Khalama’s spiritual energies echo lotus flowers, koi fish, Buddha, and Lord Ganesh while drawing energy from natural stones and organic materials including turquoise stones, lapis lazuli, amber, and coral. The Khalama Collection expresses the natural and spiritual.

Favorite Things 2014

Here it is, actually past due for me to get all Oprah on you and give you my 10 favorite things from 2014. This year was really hard to pick just 10 things, and immediately after I did the list more things came my way. So next year you may see some things that were featured on the site late this year. Enough about that, let’s get to the favoriting! (In no particular order of favorite-ness.)

1. “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” by Varla Ventura. As someone who has always loved myths and stories about sirens and mermaids, “Among the Mermaids” was a definite stand out for the year. Not only did Ventura fill the book with lore and legends of merrows, mermaids, and sirens, but the resources section in the back lists books, movies, and shopping. Shopping! Want your mermaid tail?

2. “The Encyclopedia of Crystals” by Judy Hall. I love gemstones, rocks, and minerals. The end. Okay, not the end. This book makes learning more about crystals super easy. The stones are divided up by color, but also listed in alphabetical order in the crystal index in the front of the book, and of course there is a thorough index at the back of the book. Each entry has a fantastic image or two to help with identification and then they list: crystal system, chemistry, hardness, source, chakra, number, zodiac sign, planet, and what it’s beneficial for. After that there is a paragraph with historical and folkloric detail.

3. “The Daemon Tarot” by Ariana Osborne. Based on Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy’s “Dictionnaire Infernal”, this 69 card deck isn’t just a divinatory tool, but a piece of occult reference. Obviously it cannot be used exactly as a tarot deck, but thanks to a researched and well thought out companion book, you’ll be doing a single card draw or a six card spread in no time.

4. “The Witch’s Broom: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks” by Deborah Blake. As one would suspect, there are oodles of nifty, witchy, bits of broom magic to be found in “The Witch’s Broom”. However, it’s the tons of stuff that you can appreciate whether you’re a witch or not that makes this book a favorite. You can learn how to make your own broom, how to decorate store bought brooms, there are get great gift ideas, and there is fun broom folklore and history.

5. “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines” by Patricia Monaghan. Monaghan published the first encyclopedia of divine females in 1979, and that book has stayed in print in one form or another right up to today. The latest is newly expanded and features more than 1,000 heroines and goddesses from folklore, literature, and religion from around the world. It. Kicks. Ass.

6. “365 Tarot Spreads” by Sasha Graham. A different tarot spread for each day of the year. They’re unique and thought out. If you want a tarot workout in the New Year, get this book now!

7. “The Yoga of Cleaning” by Jennifer Carter Avgerinos. Weird, right? Nope. Avgerinos background as both a certified yoga instructor and having worked in the consumer packaged cleaning tools industry for the past several years indeed gives her a unique perspective on these two seemingly divergent topics. She brings them together in a way that, I swear, makes you want to clean.

8. “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for the Modern-Day Witch” by Dayna Winters, Patricia Gardner, and Angela Kaufman. These are the ladies that wrote “Wicca: What’s the Real Deal?”, and just like with their first book they did a fantastic job a packing an incredible amount of information into an easily digestible amount of book. This trio discuss just about any object you can imagine being used in magic, along with the appropriate care and ways to craft your own or personalize it. They also cover every space in which magic can be worked. This is a must own.

9. “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully” by Dr. Penny Satori. There have dozens of books written about near-death experiences, however in my opinion this is the one we’ve been waiting for. Dr. Satori’s book is based off of the UK’s first long term prospective study of near-death experiences and she was awarded a PhD for her research in 2005. That’s right, it’s science. Although the research is grounded in science, Satori also includes many of her experiences from her 17 years as an intensive care nurse. This makes “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences” a compelling read.

10. Helderberg Mead. 2014 gets to be the year that I fell in love with Helderberg Mead. As Peter Voelker said when I interviewed him about Helderberg Meadworks, “Most mead that you can buy in the wine stores around here either tastes like a low alcohol honey syrup or a nice soft white wine. While there’s nothing wrong with that (I love a nice Vidal Blanc), HMW takes a different approach. We use techniques that would have been used many moons ago and produce a mead that has big, bold and feral qualities to it. We’ve adapted old world methods to modern day sanitation and palettes without catering to any particular group of consumers. This is mead as we think it should be. With that said, there are 2 major differences between HMWs mead and others. The first is our alcohol content, which has a range on the label of 15% to 16%. Our current “Burgundy Wax” batch is at the high side of that range. Most others are from 8% to 11%. The second difference is our use of oak aging. Back in the days before metals were commonly available, oak would have been the preferred storage vessel for nearly all drinks. We have taken this concept and applied it to our mead. The result is a powerful mead (shouldn’t all traditional mead be POWERFUL?) with a whiskey-like nose and great honey flavor without being overly sweet.”

The Inner Wizard

Many decks I’ve featured on The Magical Buffet are designed to tap into your intuition more than using a divinatory system. The cards I’m writing about today are touted as “Message cards from your higher self” and I couldn’t agree more. However, what at first may appear to be merely random notes on cards begin to reveal far more thought and design than one might have originally thought.

The Inner Wizard contains 84 cards with messages on them. The notes are from you, God, Venus, the Soul, etc. These personal notes will hopefully offer insight into your situation. The reverse side of the card has what they call a “renewed choice proclamation”. I might almost call them affirmations. Now if things stopped here, I would call this a wordy oracle deck, but it doesn’t.

Front with Message
Reverse Side

Did you notice the little Aries symbols in all four corners of the card up there? That’s right, each card is given an astrological designation and the enclosed instructions discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each sign. So you have your message, and then you apply this extra layer of information in the form of astrological data on top of it. But wait! There is still more.

Once you know the astrological designator for your card, and you have the informational sheet out, you’ll see that the four elements (earth, air, water, fire) are listed on it. Each astrological sign is listed with an element, and each element reveals a bit more information. It’s one last layer of information to that original card draw.

Due to the nature of The Inner Wizard the writers only suggest the single card draw reading and the three card past, present, future reading. I would have to agree with them, although honestly I only ever tried single card draws and that was enough for me.

The Inner Wizard is a truly unique divinatory experience. As far as I know, you won’t find anything like it, anywhere else.

You can find Inner Wizard at http://www.kabbalahinsights.com/en/products/the-inner-wizard.

The Tormenting TeeFury

I am a possessed, obsessed. I’m being tortured, haunted. When I close my eyes, it’s there. My friends, I’ve discovered TeeFury.

Each day they offer a t-shirt for 24 hours. Not just any t-shirt. No! T-shirts with amazing, creative artwork that more often than not takes on some geek favorites. There are SO many “Firefly” themed t-shirts that have rolled through there, and “Doctor Who”, tons of “Who”. Of course “Star Wars” has been there and even some “Monty Python”.

I want this shirt!
No, this one!

There’s the 24 hour shirt, then there is a small gallery of t-shirts available that have been brought back by votes. However, in order for that to be available, you have to see all the shirts you missed. Oh the stabbing pain as t-shirt after gorgeous t-shirt scrolls past. What could have been. And then there is the matter of not being able to afford to buy a shirt every day, let alone play catch up in the gallery!

How cruel the fates have been! Can’t the universe show me any mercy? Alas no. Once you have seen TeeFury you are trapped in its vicious, addictive, 100% cotton web.

Here’s how TeeFury makes their daily tees.

To learn more, to love, to shop; visit TeeFury!

What about this one?

Magical Times with Magical Times Empowerment Cards

“Magical Times: Empowerment Cards” by Jody Bergsma are simply magical. First I admired the box. It’s beautiful, made out of sturdy cardboard, and it has a hinged top that makes getting the cards in and out a breeze. Then there are the cards themselves. Bergsma’s art is fantastic. Her art is fantasy oriented and whimsical. It reminds me of one of my favorites, NeNe Thomas. Of course there is the empowerment part. The messages Bergsma imparts through her “Magical Times” cards are wonderful. They inspire but many of them also make you consider the future.

Change - By Jody Bergsma

The book that comes with the deck includes a few spreads you can try with the cards. I keep the deck next to my lighted make up mirror. Each morning when I sit down to put on my lotion I shuffle and pull a card off of the deck. I try to keep its message in mind throughout the day. I would highly recommend the deck and this method of using it.

Manifestation - By Jody Bergsma

The “Magical Times: Empowerment Cards” by Jody Bergsma are a wonderful tool. A fun and beautiful deck that can easily be incorporated into your daily life.

Goddess Guide Me

A couple of friends of mine took me on a birthday field trip to Northshire Books in Manchester, VT. While there I found a hidden gem; a used copy of “Goddess Guide Me: The Oracle That Answers Questions of the Heart” by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber. It was published in 1992 by Fireside Books, a subsidiary of Simon and Schuster.

This is a truly unique oracle compared to others I’ve seen. It’s a cardboard book and each page is divided into three parts; a top, middle, and bottom. When the pages are together, they form beautiful images of goddesses from around the globe. That’s thanks to Amy Zerner who is known for her fabric paintings.

The divided page represents Head, Heart, and Home. There’s text on each section. The head is about mental qualities attributed to each goddess. The heart focuses on purely emotional qualities attributed to each goddess. The home section focuses on the type of physical actions associated with each goddess and reminds you that emulating those actions can help you attain your goal.

So here’s what you do. “Goddess Guide Me” comes with three 12 sided dice. A purple one for head, a blue for heart, and a black one for home. You roll them and the number tells you how many pages to flip in the book. If you roll a 5 on the purple (head) die, you turn five head pages. In this case, it gets the goddess Freyja. A 9 on the blue (heart) die gets Lakshmi. An 11 on the black (home) die gets Atlantia. That’s totally neat, right?

There is a companion book that comes with it that gives you instructions on using the oracle, insight into the goddesses, and rituals.

“Goddess Guide Me” is an amazing tool that seems as relevant today as I’m sure it was when it was published in 1992. What publisher is going to step up and help make this fantastic oracle set available again?

The Alphabet for Lovers

Some of you may remember that back in December 2011 I reviewed the unique divinatory set Tokens of Light by Orna Ben-Shoshan. I’m happy to say she’s back with “The AlphaBet for Lovers: Insights, Advice & Prophecies about Love and Relationships According to the Hebrew Alphabet”. If you were intrigued by “Tokens of Light”, you’re going to LOVE “The AlphaBet for Lovers”.

“The AlphaBet for Lovers” is a set of 72 small (when compared to tarot) heart-shaped cards. Each card has a letter of the Hebrew alphabet on it and according to Ben-Shoshan the Kabbalah attributes more meaning to these letters. A heart will have a beautiful piece of Orna Ben-Shoshan’s art on one side along with a number and the other side will have a short phrase that is associated with the Hebrew letter that is on the back. The set comes in a box designed to look like a book and with a pretty bag to carry the heart cards in.

Although the name says “Lovers”, “The AlphaBet for Lovers” is designed for examining relationships in general. Relationships between co-workers, parent and child, etc. are all fair game for examination. Readings are relatively straight forward. You reach your hand into the bag and mix the hearts while focusing on your question. Once you feel your hand is drawn to a heart, you select it, and by using the number on the front of the heart you can easily look it up in the companion book and learn its meaning.

And not too sound like an infomercial, but wait! There’s still more! If you go to her site you can also check out “The 9 Blessings: For Love, Health, and Success”. These are 9 Kabbilistic amulets on cards conveniently sized to carry in your wallet or purse. You could easily carry them in your pocket as long as you think you could remember to take it out before washing your clothes!

Once again Orna Ben-Shoshan has created an enchanting and unique divinatory set. To learn more, you can visit her site.

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

Since I just got done reviewing “The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses: From Pagan Folklore to Modern Manifestations” by Claude Lecouteux I thought now would be the perfect time to take a look at “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt. I know I seem to be near pants wetting excited over every tarot deck I review, but seriously you guys, “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is incredibly impressive. How impressive? Incredibly.

I have to say, I think the masterful Mr. Claude Lecouteux himself would be impressed with the amount of work Lisa Hunt put into “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” because what you have here is a tarot deck where each card depicts a different spirit, ghost, or liaison between the earthly and spiritual realms from folklore and legend. So yes Lecouteux fans, all the subjects of his books that have been reviewed here on The Buffet are represented in this deck: The Wild Hunt (The Chariot), Vampire (The Hanged Man), Revenants (Six of Cups), and yes party people, even the Poltergeists from the last review (Ace of Swords).

Ace of Swords - Poltergeist

I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I tell you that I would gasp with surprise and glee with each page turn of the booklet as a treasure trove of creatures and characters were revealed. La Llorona! The Flying Dutchman! Headless Horseman! White Ladies! Each entry has a brief description and bit of context along with a divinatory meaning.

The artwork is perfectly suited to the subject matter and despite the obvious darkness implied, Hunt brings beauty to most of the cards despite the specter of death the hangs around ghosts and spirits. I’m a fan of the Day of the Dead and I became quite smitten with Hunt’s rendering of it for the Ten of Cups.

Ten of Cups - Day of the Dead

And I was swept up by The High Priestess, who in the “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” is an Enchantress/Sibyl. Hunt’s text brings perfect understanding to what we see in the card.

The most famous oracle of Greek/Roman legend, the Sibyl of Cumae (Italy) guided Aeneus through the land of the dead and enabled him to return to the living. The Sibyl interweaves the energies of past lives and future events. She illuminates the scene where dream-like specters mingle with relics of the past. A pathway provides a passage to clarity and higher understanding. The sparkles indicate a divine presence.

The High Priestess - Enchantress/Sibyl

What else can I say to convince you that “Ghosts & Spirits Tarot” by Lisa Hunt is 100% amazing? How about even though I received a free copy to review I went ahead and bought a second copy so I could get it signed by the artist? Did I mention I found this deck incredibly impressive?

Geek Month in Review: May 2012

By JB Sanders

April showers bring …

Forgotten Bookmarks
So this guy works in his family’s used book store, and comes across the strangest things people have stuck in between the pages of the books. As the site puts it: “It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover.” Fun and weird site.

Underground Park
With sunlight! They pipe it in.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Still the Man
There’s a new exhibition of Leonardo’s anatomy drawings going up this week, and it led to discussions of how accurate those drawings are, 500 years later. The answer? Pretty damned accurate. As one professor of clinical anatomy put it: “Leonardo’s image is as accurate as anything that can be produced by scientific artists working today.” See comparisons of Leonardo’s drawings vs computer renderings of 3D CAT scans.

Cool Things to do With Sand
And a Kinect 3D camera and a projector. The setup uses the Kinect camera to detect the height of the sand, and then calculates and projects a topographic map right on the landscape. Plus you can add in virtual water features, as well. Worth the watch.

Testing Mars in an Ice Cave
An Austrian ice cave, to be specific. Scientists tested a variety of things, including walk-about suits, robots and 3D cameras.

Now That’s a Ring
So this guy, a man who should be inducted into the Geek Hall of Fame, forges his own wedding ring. Sure, that’s fine, you say, nice craft skills. The guy has a forge in his own garage, cool. Now, for the Hall of Fame part: he forges his own wedding ring — out of a meteorite.

Bionic Eye Powered by Light
Who needs those nuclear-powered bionic eyes? This one is powered by light! Extra-clever bit: natural light isn’t powerful enough to drive the eye, so they use “eyeglasses” as light-concentrators to boost the power.

Wi-Fi Blocking Wallpaper
So French researchers have come up with a wallpaper that, with conductive ink using silver crystals, blocks wi-fi and only wi-fi signals — cell phones and other radio waves are fine.

More info on the tech here:

2D Printed Loudspeakers
That’s right — not 3D, but 2D. Speakers which are printed using special inks onto paper. The uses are cool and terrifying (as with all good new scifi innovations): newspapers that shout at you, or wallpaper that plays soothing symphonic tunes. You want surround sound? How about the wallpaper IS your speakers?

Moon Throw
You have to be a real astronomy nut to blow $400 on a moonscape-themed throw blanket, but man, it does look really cool. (Tip o’the Hat to the Bad Astronomer for posting this link & photo.)

Monolithic LEGO iPhone Charger
Fan-made 2001: A Space Oddyssey diorama and iPhone charger. Yes.

What Friction?
Kid in Germany solves centuries-old problem posed by Isaac Newton, the one about figuring out the path of a projectile under the effects of gravity — including air resistance. Yup! No frictionless void for this kid.

Zombie-Proof Condos Sell Out
Yes, that’s the exact headline of this article. Isn’t that just exactly the headline you want to read? These former nuclear missile silos have been converted into luxury condos, with a pool, movie theater, library, fitness room and their own independent power (solar and wind!). For only $2M, they were a steal, too.

Be sure to poke around their website and see conceptual drawings, debris-cleaning photos and some of the amenities planned.

Ice Berg Flips
Not a sight you see every day, unless you live in the right places, I guess.

About John:
John’s a geek from way back. He’s been floating between various computer-related jobs for years, until he settled into doing tech support in higher ed. Now he rules the Macs on campus with an iron hand (really, it’s on his desk).

Geek Credentials:
RPG: Blue box D&D, lead minis, been to GenCon in Milwaukee.
Computer: TRS-80 Color Computer, Amiga 1000, UNIX system w/reel-to-reel backup tape
Card games: bought Magic cards at GenCon in 1993
Science: Met Phil Plait, got time on a mainframe for astronomy project in 1983
His Blog: http://glenandtyler.blogspot.com