Friday, September 4, 2015

the spiral

I wanted to sort something by color. This is most of my embroidery floss, but not all. Next time I'm in a sorting-by-color mood, it'll be books. 

The garden is going full-speed trying to make up for lost time. Japanese beetles have been traveling westward since 1916 and they've finally arrived safe and sound and in great numbers from what I hear. I've only found about 15-20 so consider myself lucky -- they're beautiful beetles which doesn't help matters any.

These are Chinese 5-Color Peppers from a plant I bought last May. I'm going to ask the hot-pepper-lover around here to taste test them.

A dandelion puff on a shelf in the kitchen.

The prompt was Q & A for my Journal52 Week25 art journal page -- I have the question but no answer, sorry.

The kale chip recipe suggested by Michelle in comments last week -- they were all gone 24 hours later -- actions speak louder than words.

Still loving this little vase I made with the bright spirits. It's almost always filled with flowers from the garden.

I scoured 12 ounces of cotton fiber yesterday -- simmered it in water/washing soda/dishwashing soap for two hours. I've never had great results with cotton in the dye-pot (other than in the indigo vat) but this extra step in the process may change all that.

And here we are at the beginning again. Summer is flying by and sometimes I feel sad that it's all happening too fast. But then I remember life is like traveling a spiral and a year from now we'll be back at this same place on the spiral. Only better -- and wilder -- and hopefully wiser too. xo

Monday, August 24, 2015

lovers and dreamers

I love the lap desk from Goodwill ($1.99) -- it's my best find in a very long time. The possibilities for using it seem endless but for now it houses the pathways moon cloth, my moon sewing ritual for this year. Pathways are to be stitched for each of 13 moons along the length of the linen runner -- teal-threaded spirals begin the current moon cycle. I'm liking this cloth more and more.

Just harvested a big bouquet of kale from the garden to make kale chips. Now that I've tasted an assortment of kale chips from various places, I think the simpler the ingredients, the better they taste. Looking for that perfect simple recipe so if you have one.....

Juniper berries are more beautiful in real life than any photo, plus their fragrance is heavenly. Juniper reminds me that all things are possible, even self-love.

Journal52 Week24 was silly animals. I went along with the animal part but not the silly -- the simpler the better worked well here, too.

The Pink Quill, Tillandsia cyarea, frond has sprung a flower. It's a complete surprise because I thought the pink quill was the bloom. I check on it all day long to see if anything else has happened and am purposely not researching it -- because surprises like this are so rare and so sweet.

Have you heard of the giant stinky corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum, which takes 8-20 years for its first bloom, requires another 7-10 years for its second, and smells like its name? One was in bloom at The Denver Botanic Gardens last week for about 48 hours. I live nearby and popped in to see it but there was a four-hour wait so I didn't see it after all. The newspaper reported that some people were disappointed because the odor wasn't strong enough.

Today is a waxing moonday in Capricorn. Capricorn energy is ambitious, structured and disciplined making these next days suitable for planning and taking care of details that require patience. Something that correlates with Capricorn work is the "power hour" concept -- as presented on Gretchen Rubin's podcast series, Happier. The power hour is a time to deal with lingering business, those items on our to-do lists that don't really have deadlines so we just keep putting them off -- like making appointments, balancing the checkbook or packing away stuff from last Yule. Things like that.

I wish all the lovers and dreamers a beautiful week. xo

Friday, August 14, 2015

flower drying

Communicating with the plant spirits has been and will probably always be something I want to be able to do and do well. Over time I've learned that a nice way to approach a plant is to explain my needs, make an offering, and ask if I may proceed. Usually, things are a "go" but not always -- sometimes it just isn't the right time. If I need to trim or remove a tree/shrub/plant, I try to visit it with a heads-up warning a day or two beforehand. And I try not to bring death to a plant when it's blooming. Things like that, that I've read in books or heard from people who do this kind of thing. It all sort of goes on in my head, you wouldn't know from looking at me what I'm doing or trying to do. A lot of times I'm just talking to myself (in my head) but there are also times when I know there is very real communication going on between plants and people.

Today I collected elder flowers, Sambucus sp., but I forgot all of this.

I was so excited to see so many flower heads that I went ahead and just clipped whatever I wanted. When I realized how rude I'd been, I went back outside to settle up and things seemed to be okay. Plus I finally learned what was going on with this particular elder that has been suckering like crazy for several years now. It is trying to make a hedge but I keep interfering. And I realized that Elder is right, it is the perfect place for a hedgerow.

These elder flower heads will be dried to make soothing infusions for cold and flu. And there are plenty of flower heads left to form berries which can then be made into a powerful immunity syrup --  to ward off cold and flu in the first place.

Dyer's coreopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria, tops are also drying -- I just read that you can use the stems, leaves, flowers, buds, and seed heads fresh or dried or frozen and it all has color for the dye-pot! I've only used the fresh flowers before so this is an experiment.

Journal52 Week23 is small successes. Some regular life things have changed recently, I guess they fall into that category. Conjuring up these art journal pages still feels new to me.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending to you!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

peace and calm

Under the Earth flag hanging on our front porch there is a planter that I converted into some rocky mossy fairy-grounds. I probably play with it more than anyone. The August calendar moon cloth was part of my monthly sewing ritual two years ago, it's nice to bring these old pieces out to the light of day again.

The plant with the feathery bloom is a Pink Quill, Tillandsia cyarea. (Above it is a pot of houseplants delivered from the florist, what you get nowadays from an oral surgeon if you have need to go.) The Pink Quill shouldn't be watered like most plants -- it is to be misted enough for the water to run off the leaves into the soil or deep watered and then drained well. I hope it knows it's in Colorado and not in Ecuador. The two big pots are impatiens and patchouli. A friend gave me the patchouli, Pogostemon sp., I hope she knows she's taking a gamble with its life. As lots of us remember, patchouli is associated with peace and calm -- today many calming essential oil blends still contain patchouli.

Every week I get a friendly reminder email from the leader of the Women in Black peace group I sometimes vigil with. Today's email was more than a reminder though -- she included two historical events: 70 years ago today the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima...50 years ago, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law.

I haven't stood with Women in Black in a while. I'm going to try to make it today. If you're interested in finding a group, go here.

Peace and calm on Earth.

Friday, July 31, 2015


Today is a blue moon -- the second full moon of the moonth -- not sure that all time zones in all hemispheres consider it so, I think not.

A blue threaded moon pathway is in the works on my stitch ritual cloth. Each moon, becoming more itself.

Things have heated up here. At night the bees sit on their front porch to enjoy lower temperatures just like people do. Inside they are fluttering their wings to ventilate and cool the house down, no small feat for this large of a home. You can hear them, sounds like a fan is running inside. I envision them working in shifts, taking turns sitting on the front porch to cool off.

Last night I made a jar of lemon balm water that kept company with Buddha under the full moon. This moon water is easy to make -- fill a jar at least half full with lemon balm that you have talked or sung to. Then fill with water you have thanked. Infuse under a full moon all night long. Drink. I won't say how you're supposed to feel from this, it's your own fruit to pick, as a certain Bee Teacher says. The white flowers are feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium -- it glows at night.

I'm finally reading The Shamanic Way of the Bee, the first book I bought after the bees came to us four years ago. We were at the bee store frantically picking out a bee house, a bee suit and all the bells & whistles that we would need for them. And I picked this book. I soon learned that what we really needed was a good how-to book, of which we now have several. The Shamanic Way of the Bee by Simon Buxton enchants me -- I'm using my also-four-year-old bee moon as a bookcloth. Staying in character. Will probably have to finally do some stitching on it now too. Everything in its time.

Journal52 Week22's prompt is wings. My take on it was remember your roots, trust your wings...because the blue moon is also the trust moon; I had already drawn a trust oracle card; I like that trust is what comes before knowing; I like wings. I've been finding myself in situations that I want to react and respond to, my work now is to notice these events as they arise and before I react. Each time, becoming more myself.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

in the middle of summer

In the middle of summer:

::The Buddha garden has been in recovery mode all season long due to hail damage -- there are no vegetables or tomatoes ripening or even forming yet. However, because it's a cherished labor of love, I am willing to go the extra mile by 1) waiting longer and 2) planting more seeds. The waxing moon in watery Scorpio makes the next few days beneficial for seed sowing and I want to tap into those unseen forces. 

::A ballband dishcloth from Mason Dixon Knitting in the works -- the Peaches & Creme pattern is a favorite, just enough stitch variation to keep you on your toes. The soft and lofty Bernat Gloucester cotton yarns were a gift and are a pleasure to work with. 

::I didn't know an asparagus fern would bloom in our climate. But she did, and magnificently so. Hundreds of tiny blossoms, I feel like I should make a flower essence.

::The prompt for Journal52 Week21 was top 10 lists. Painting and wiping the page with layers of tan and brown resulted in a wood grain look. I love the way this journal is starting to feel with its pages all thick and wrinkled and warped.

::The girl with moon paintings above the little vase was my first full-moon art ritual -- painted itty canvasses, one for each of 13 moons.

::We decorated little jars with scrap papers and washi tape and then filled them with flowers. Our fourth grandchild was born just this week so these three bright spirits have a new baby-boy-cousin. 

::There are and will be miracles. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

swallowtails love larkspur

The swallowtails love larkspur and there's a ton of it. I didn't realize swallowtails have blue and red markings -- there is a way to distinguish male and female but when I looked it up, it hurt my brain to follow the directions. Whatever gender they are, they are very welcome.

The bouquet of fragrant sage can be added to bathwater, too. Week 20 of Journal52 is good advice -- the watercolor background is for Week 22, wings. The little box, origami butterflies and pretty papers are all from Daphne's Diary magazine, a splurge. Similar to FLOW magazine, maybe a little lighter in subject matter which is nice sometimes. And there's a good amount of paper/coloring pages/punchouts, etc. for future projects.

With the swallowtails visiting every day and the dark moon upon us, I've been dreaming and thinking about metamorphosis. How a caterpillar hardens into a chrysalis which in turn begins to produce imaginal cells. Imaginal cells are of a completely new and different vibration from the caterpillar and they reproduce until there are so many that they literally take over . . . and begin to grow into a butterfly. All the while, the caterpillar melts and liquifies to feed the new life.

I wonder if when people have meltdowns, there are imaginal cells being produced to create a future self that is strong and free. Gain from pain. I know I always feel so much better afterward.

I meant to pull up most of the larkspur last spring but never got around to it. So glad I didn't.