Monday, February 8, 2016

our daily moons

Daily Moons: Some of my daily moons to date, as part of the Quilty 365 project -- all are plant-dyed fabrics, the bright yellows are turmeric-dyed pieces, the rest are indigo or various other plant materials. Visit here to see some amazing hand-stitched circle squares made by fellow fun and you can join in at any time...go see.

Collage: I'm creating simple inspirational collages on some old cards, leaving the back patterned side alone to keep that nice smooth feeling if you know what I mean. Flourish is my word of the year and these cards will be supportive reminders for me to flourish throughout the coming year.

More Collage: This is another collage/art project I've been working on using an Anthropologie foldout that came in the mail as the base -- I like the weight of the card stock and the way it folds up -- it's also a nice size for larger images.

When I started this project a few weeks ago I didn't really have a definite theme in mind but one seems to be emerging all by itself.

You never know, it could still change, but I think the theme is early spring -- the images reflect Nature's new growth, saturated colors and flowing water. Also a sense of stepping out of the darkness into the light.

This is the cover of the booklet -- there's embellishing, outlining, quotes and journaling to be done yet. I love it and can see making similar booklets for summer, autumn and winter.

Today is a new moon in Aquarius so I will be moon stitching tonight. Thanks for coming by -- I wish you a beautiful week. xo

Monday, February 1, 2016

brigid's day household ritual

Today is Brigid's Day (or Imbolc), that familiar place on the wheel of the year where we begin to feel the first stirrings of spring. I am fortunate to celebrate this holy day within a circle of women but also have my own household tradition. I began this morning by burning some evergreen branches (from Yule) in a cauldron to symbolize letting go of the old to make way for the new. I lit a candle from the cauldron fire as I stood and watched it rise and fall and finally die out.

I carried the candle into the house and lit the candles on the Brigid altar to represent the new light of longer days as well as new beginnings. I'm trying to keep the original flame going all day long by lighting fresh candles as needed. Brigid is most well known for the following aspects: Craft, Inspiration and Poetry; Magic and Transformation; and Childbirth and Healing. This means that she may be invoked for help and guidance in those areas -- the same as we energetically connect with spiritual teachers, saints, biblical figures, plant spirits, or even archetypes. Brigid seems to be patroness of the things that interest me the most, so I feel a sense of devotion to her.

The green hand long cloth reminds me of Brigid who is both a Sun Goddess and a Moon Goddess. I see this round as a moon but that can change.

A gathering of sacred objects along with plants, seeds, sticks and feathers. This is also the time of year when seeds for future crops are blessed by Brigid so I put representative packets of my garden seeds in a clay pot.

A Brigid's Day lunch of miso soup was had -- carrots, turnips, onions, greens.

Miso Soup: In a little olive oil, saute a small turnip, a medium onion, and 2 carrots, sliced however you wish. Add 2 1/2 cups water and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups chopped greens (napa cabbage, bok choy, spinach, etc.) and remove from heat. Take out 1/2 cup of the broth and mix in a tablespoon of miso. Add this mixture back to the pot and you are done. Never boil miso. I always double this recipe but only use 3 vegetable bouillon cubes. (This is good for clearing out residual radiation and medicines from the body, and always beneficial for anyone in recovery.)

It's dark and snowy here, perfect for playing the Imbolc channel on Pandora, having a fire going in the fireplace, and finishing up one tiny nine-patch.

Blessed Be YOU, as Michelle says....and visit her site for more on Brigid's Day.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

winter sewing and winter sowing

I'm craving spicy arugula greens drizzled with olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of coarse sea salt. Doesn't that sound so good? I never think about or even use arugula that much during the spring, summer or fall, I only want it when it's not growing in my garden. Probably a winter-related nutritional deficiency. Sewing with green and yellow on the January moon helps.

My calendar designates Thursdays as when to practice the Law of Intention and Desire by making a list of desires. It says that inherent in every intention and desire are the mechanics for their fulfillment. I think of a seed or bulb containing everything it needs to germinate, grow and flourish.

Be discerning when making a list or choosing seeds to plant. These tiny seedlings are from this dandelion puff I planted. But in my case, I'm hoping for dandelion greens. In salads.

An altar table where I keep crystals, candles, feathers and other sacred objects -- since the light streams through the window above it during the winter, it becomes a green altar. This is not a place I want to be seeing too much yellow because that would mean something is off.

I have come upon a most interesting method of growing seedlings for the garden -- winter sowing. The basic premise is that seeds planted in small self-styled greenhouses and placed outside in the elements will germinate and grow in their own perfect time. I used plastic quart water jugs and a plastic liter bottle. I first drilled holes all over the bottom for drainage, drilled a few more holes around the top opening for ventilation and finally cut the jug in half leaving a section under the handle to act as a hinge. 

After I filled the bottom section with about 3" of soil, I moistened the soil and sowed the seeds, the same depth as when planting in the garden.


The slice around the center of the container needs to be taped back up for these cold months. I used strapping tape but plan to find some clear duct tape for the next batch. The screw top should be left off.

Labeled with a waterproof pen, these will be placed together in a plastic bin (with more drainage holes) for protection and stability. I'll put the bin on a back-yard table top out of reach of the four-leggeds. In a few months when tiny seedlings begin to emerge, they'll need a closer eye. At the point when temperatures rise or when the soil dries out, the tape can be removed and the top half flipped open for sun/baths. Winter sowing is to be done in January, February and March, depending on your zone. And lastly, I mostly followed the directions from herehere and here.

The Law of Intention and Desire ends with trusting that when things don't seem to go your way, there is a reason. 

And I would add that things have their own perfect time. xx

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

full circle

I used my biggest mixing bowl as a template for the January moon and then basted it onto a well-worn white quilt. The quilt is the canvas for full circle, my 2016 moon stitch ritual. I am repairing the quilt here and there as well -- by the time all 13 moons have been sewn on, it will have been transformed into something totally different. It's still on the bed so when I work on it, I literally have to go back to bed. Sort of awkward but it's so big that leaving it there might be the best option.

One little Quilty 365 moon square from plant-dyed cotton each day is good medicine -- a small accomplishment that also calms and grounds me.

 It definitely looks like the year of the full circle.

I have been consumed with devising a new food plan for our two pups. Over the years, I've gone back and forth with various natural foods for them -- always ending up with what I had time for, which was high-quality dry kibble with a little fresh here and there. But with one turning 12 soon, I decided to venture back into a natural, mostly raw, diet for them. A calcium supplement is advised for the days without raw meaty bones and wouldn't you know, eggshells can be made into a good source of calcium (not just for dogs -- for the soil and people, too, although I have never taken it). Here's how.

Rinse out the inside of the eggshell, let dry and save in a jar until you have enough to make it worth turning the oven on. Bake the eggshells for 10 minutes at 300 degrees. When cool enough to handle, grind in a coffee/spice grinder until fine. One teaspoon is about 1800 milligrams of calcium.

I used this book as my guide.

Our two dogs can and do eat entire raw eggs, shells and all...just not every day. 

The grocery store had a deal on bouquets of eucalyptus and I immediately thought of Nat and India Flint and their success with using eucalyptus for dyeing and eco-printing. My experience has been the opposite, failure after failure. It must be our water. But this cotton has also been scoured, hope that makes a difference.

Eucalyptus is one of Earth's oldest healers. I wish I knew more about its many healing qualities, but not being native to my location I know very little about it aside from its antiseptic value and its ability to clear congestion. Even so, the ancient fragrance of eucalyptus awakens something deep within me. And I can almost remember...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


The past year wasn't the easiest for me but changes needed to be made. And I'm here to say many things are, in fact, different...I tried to listen to my inner voice and act more from the heart and a shift has occurred. Like maybe down-shifting into a slower, more powerful gear.

Feeling more free along with the spirit of a new year so full of promise and potential, I really wanted to join in on the focus-word-for-the-year concept. Didn't have much luck on my own though, everything I hit on seemed related to self-care and I really didn't like the feeling of being my own baby for a year. Not this year anyway.

So I turned to Susannah Conway's website and used her materials to go deeper with this idea. She has created a free downloadable program to help zero in on a focus word (or several words) and another free downloadable program to incorporate that focus into everyday life. 

I realized what I really wanted was to create a favorable environment for myself that allows me to thrive and do my thing. 

Flourish. A good word. 

And those are our good dogs, Talula and Daisy.

I'm not here to improve the house or other people or groups of people, I'm here to be myself. 

So, hopefully, no big house-or-otherwise projects in the year ahead. But rather abundant time and space to flourish.


Monday, January 4, 2016

sewing rituals

I like to create new rituals for myself around the beginning of the year. Mainly for the structure to work within but also for the magic -- because repetition creates a well-worn pathway and good things can happen there. Some years ideas for rituals come fast and furious and it's hard to choose and then sometimes not.

I've used a store-bought white quilt for many years -- in summer it is the only blanket on the bed and in winter a feather comforter goes on top of it. I wash and dry it often and it is literally coming apart, mostly around the edges, and the binding is wearing through too. Fingers and toes get caught in the loose threads. But it's so soft. The last few nights before sleep I've been mending it by stitching along the threadways. Now I'm thinking about using it as a canvas for my 13-moon monthly stitch ritual but a plan hasn't emerged quite yet.*

A daily sewing ritual is in its early stages as well. The idea is to make one circle/square daily and assemble the squares to make a quilt top. I learned about this project from Lyn and the originator of the Quilty 365 year-long project is Audrey of the Quilty Folk blog found here . I'm hoping to use mostly plant-dyed cotton cloth for both the 4 1/2" squares and the 3" moons. Audrey suggests choosing the fabric each day and not ahead of time -- even if you aren't able to do the actual sewing on it, the color choice will be unique for that day. This will be a good use for some of the home-dyed cloth that has accumulated and also a good reason to continue dyeing. I'm not letting the 365 intimidate me too much, just planning to work at my own pace.

I guess I feel like sewing this year. Wishing you the happiest, most magical New Year ever. xx

*Possibly some smaller woven moons like this one that I made a few years ago in a Spiritcloth class.

Monday, December 28, 2015

pompom therapy

Yesterday I made a pillow for the front porch bench as part of my recovery from the first round of celebrating. I can't think of anything more cheerful than white pompom trim on red gingham. Unless it's light blue gingham. Or green. Actually, I can't think of a gingham color I don't like. I just wish it was 100% cotton instead of a cotton/polyester blend. But it's still good.

Rewind a week or so here...I was hanging strands of faux sugared berries, tinsel and pompoms to build up the SHINE banner but the white pompom garland just wasn't right. No bueno.

Tea-dyed pompoms. Bueno.

I like the scrunchy vintage look.

It's going to hang up there for a while, maybe until Spring Equinox. I need to be reminded to shine instead of -- well, not shining.

The cushions on the bench are covered with a furry throw, a cozy place to sit in the morning sun to watch the birds visit the feeders. And to just "be" outside which is one of my hopes for the new year -- to spend more time outdoors regardless of weather -- hell hot, wicked cold or in between.

Peanuts, bread, and seeds under the suet feeder -- the birds need energy to get through this cold snap we're having.

The back opening of the pillow with the selvage left as is because of that cool fraying.

Thank you for visiting me here. May the New Year be one of transformation with more love and peace on Planet Earth.

And now we welcome the New Year, full of things that have never been. --Rainer Maria Rilke