Thursday, April 17, 2014

black magic dye-pot

This makes six in a row for my monthly dyeing ritual using a fresh flower bouquet gone past its prime. I've loved having an excuse to buy flowers.

The rusty dye-pot has been outside since last summer and there was a delightful surprise in the bottom. 

I've been thinking about this month's moondala stitching and what colors feel right. I thought about a blood moon -- no. A green moon -- no. How about a total eclipse, totally black moon? -- yes. A pysanky moon? -- yes, yes.

Since one of the guidelines of this little mandala-making ritual I invented is to use eco-dyed wool, I wondered how I was going to pull off a black wool moon in just a few days. Then I remembered the egg-dyeing using silk neckties for color and pattern that I did a few years ago. I'm going for it. Even though it's technically not using plant material, recycling/reusing the dye in the silks seems almost as good. Several scraps of the darkest silk I have and one little scrap of white wool went into that rusty iron pot. It cooked for a little while and I turned the heat off. Added some iron water, cooked, heat off. Added alum. More iron water. Some acorn brew from last fall, cooked, heat off. 

Black! Magic!

Thanks for visiting and may there be magic in your dye-pot, too. xo

Monday, April 14, 2014

beauty way moonday

It snowed here yesterday and on into the night. Today is absolutely sparkling though and I saw that mama crow is brooding on her nest waayy up high where I'm hoping the squirrels won't bother her too much. Papa crow makes a racket for peanuts in our front yard but oh-so quietly loops and swoops around the back area where the nest is. Unlike last week, when things were just getting going, it was rocking around here -- cawing and clicking and even sounds reminiscent of baby calves -- it was wild. I wondered if that meant eggs were being laid. It appears so.

We're enjoying the April flower bouquet for a few more days before it becomes one big fat rolled-up dye bundle. In keeping with the orange vibe, the Clivia is blooming -- isn't that red ball the epitome of a "seed ball"? -- I just want to squeeze it. It's been there for months, the first one in all the years I've had this plant. Speaking of plants, the orchid in the sink has some aerial roots that look ready to bud? Another thing to look up, I'm new at the orchid business.

I used some Swedish tracing paper to trace a pattern yesterday, I love this stuff. It makes me cringe a little to think of all the patterns I've butchered when I could've used this. Like when I hopefully cut out a smaller size than I really need and then the original pattern is basically useless because it's all too small. Or when my daughters and I could've used the same pattern instead of buying individual patterns.

Today is a nearly-full moonday in Libra. Libra is the sign that makes us love and seek beauty, some call this Libra characteristic the beauty way. And with Libra also being the peacemaker of the zodiac, we'll be wanting things to feel just and right and balanced -- just-right balance. The full moon comes late tonight (where I live, MDT) and five minutes later, a total lunar eclipse. These energies beckon us to acknowledge accomplishments and our place in the world -- and to examine subconscious desires as we together embrace the future.

To the beauty way then.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


The bees like these spring flowers -- I'm not sure of their name but they're pretty little things. A colony of bees is a sisterhood and sisterhood is also the card I drew today from my mom's angel cards -- synchronicity is everywhere if I only look.

Thought I'd try to grow a rosemary tree! Not really, it's just a baby topiary made by potting, snipping and tying a seedling to a skewer, but if everything works out between us, it'll eventually be twice the height of the pot, about 12 inches. I won't think beyond that size for now. I seem to do okay with rosemary, it overwinters well in our house for some reason, maybe because of the humidity levels we maintain, I don't know for sure.

A week or so ago Michelle posted a smiling/mindfulness exercise by Thich Nhat Hanh to be done first thing upon awakening in the morning. It resonated so I'm stitching a reminder on this pillow cover (from Pier 1 a few years ago). Such an easy, gentle way to begin the day -- and there's something about the simplicity of stitching one lovely word at a time.

:) :) :) :) :)

Friday, April 4, 2014

out of the dye-pot: a light blue morning glory

Some little pieces of blue cloth came out of the turmeric dye-pot today looking much different from when they went in. Nanette and I were going for green in our dye-along (blue + yellow = green), but nonetheless I'm loving these golden results. There's a light blue morning glory in there -- a good omen, yes?

I'm not starting a huge number of plants in the house this spring but what seeds I do plant will be tended patiently and carefully. I'm trying to grow a few unusual, for me, plants, too. Henna, Lawsonia inermis, seed is in my refrigerator right now -- wrapped in damp paper towel, to be brought back to room temperature in four days until it sprouts, and then placed in pots. And Greater Celandine, Chelidonium majus -- an herb Maurice Messegue refers to in Of People & Plants (a wonderful book, by the way). If you've grown either of these before, I'd love to hear how it went.

Lately I've been hearing and reading reports about Gaia's ill-health and that makes me want to do my best for her. These warnings seem like wake-up calls that we collectively hit the snooze button on, don't they? There's something different going on now though -- it feels like a kind of stirring to reclaim hidden parts of ourselves. At this point on the spiral, I'm remembering and re-experiencing how hopeful April and spring can feel -- trying to take back tasks that I've unwittingly given away, and I hope cooperating more. Growing food, for example -- being a better farmer in the spirit of the footsteps of the farmer are her best fertilizer.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, March 31, 2014

moonday rituals

Today is a waxing moonday in Taurus. This week begins the phases of the moon so it's a good time for us to begin new things, too. What is begun under a Taurus moon tends to take hold and be strong and long-lasting -- that makes it a be-careful-what-you-wish-for kind of thing.

One more little moondala is finished -- this is #3 for my March full moon sewing ritual. It's made with a bindweed-dyed moon on an indigo-dyed background and stitched 'round and 'round until it was time to stop. Even though all three mandalas have a similar design, in my mind each is unique for its respective moon time. Now that the stack is growing, I'm starting to think about the bigger picture -- next up will be finding a background cloth for them.

My monthly flower bouquet dyeing ritual was also completed -- a March bouquet of tulips made a dye-bath that most certainly looked magenta but then produced both pink and green. And green was exactly what I wanted but was positive wouldn't/couldn't happen. What a happy surprise -- two pieces of lovely green wool and even the silk that looked so pink when wet turned out to have green in its folds and edges when it dried. A person couldn't ask for more now could they? Even if these colors were to wash out, I'd still be happy for how they look right now.

And to tell the truth, I probably am not going to wash them.

Friday, March 28, 2014

nature therapy

It's true, the month of March is a time of balance. It's equal dark and light. It's equally stormy and sunny. Snowy and rainy. And cold and warm. But when it comes to wind, it's windy, windy, windy. It's because March is such a transition month with both warm and cold temperatures that we have two different pressures running into each other to make these oh-so-familiar gusty, blustery days.

Our Nanking cherry bush is blooming and the bees are working it -- I feel greatly relieved that they have an outside food source other than me making sugar syrup. Talula, our younger pup, got stung yesterday right in front of me -- she was puzzled and so was I because she wasn't bothering them -- wrong time, wrong place, I guess.    

I'm still stitching on the little blue sky moondala. And just unrolled the February flower bouquet bundle -- the results are nice, very subtle, as wool often is. 

Last fall I stuck a huge dead branch into a pot right outside the sewing room window. I meant to hang a bird feeder on it and maybe string some lights -- but I never did. About a week ago, I looked out that window and thought to myself how wonderful it was that the aspen suckers had grown so much over the winter and I was thrilled that they would finally begin to cover the neighbors' garage wall. Well, silly me, it was simply that big branch I stuck into a pot last fall. That I've been looking at all winter long. And darn, those aspen are still quite a ways off from blocking any view. I decided some of these toilet paper roll/peanut butter/safflower seed feeders would be good for both the birds and me.

Nature therapy.

And thanks for visiting and happy weekending wishes from me to you! xo

Monday, March 24, 2014

blues in the dye-pot

Today is a waning March moonday in the sign of Capricorn. All indicators point toward the important work of letting go and wrapping up loose ends. I'm keeping this in mind as I go about my business -- adjusting to the ideas of loosening attachments and letting go of preconceived ideas.

As Nanette mentioned on her blog, Stitch and Sow, we are doing a dye-along together -- striving for the color green using different types of blue cloth in a turmeric dye-bath. She has had a cotton piece soaking for a few days and already shows some green, but mine was just begun. Fingers crossed. Here is my last encounter with turmeric.

When I was looking for blues to dye with, I found a half-basted fairy cloth rolled up in some light blue linen -- I'd complete forgotten about it but now I remember that it is one of my favorite pieces, if that makes sense.

The little primitive dollies are from long-ago when my kids were reading the Little House on the Prairie books -- I made them for the tree at Yule. They are so very sweet. I'm going to do something with them but it may not happen until closer to Dias de los Muertos. Now you know what I'm thinking, right?

Looking for guidance last week, I drew from my mom's angel deck five days in a row. I liked most of the cards I got, especially clarity because that one came right after I posted last Monday about clearing winds. Obedience ruffled my feathers though -- I don't like to obey. Thought about it for a while and decided it would be okay if I related to it in the context of obeying the law and also obeying Mother Nature. Realized then that I'm actually very obedient. The things you learn about yourself.

Wishing you a beautiful spring/autumn week!