Friday, January 23, 2015

cloth & yarn, comfrey & plantain



A small cloth collage came together from bits and pieces collecting on the sewing table. I foresee much pleasure in my immediate future because sewing with linen is one of my own personal seven wonders.

I've been making a few healing salves with herb-infused oils I made up last fall. The golden one is comfrey root salve and the green is plantain leaf salve. Some people mix the two together but I usually follow the tradition of making and using simples for medicinal purposes -- that just means using one single herb at a time. This way I can tell which plant works best for a particular condition.

Comfrey contains allantoin, a constituent that stimulates cell proliferation and augments wound-healing both inside and out. It's fast-acting -- so much so that it shouldn't be used on a deep wound until it has begun to heal infection-free on its own. A plus is that it guards against excessive scar tissue from forming. Applied to the skin, a comfrey salve, compress, or poultice can also help relieve pain from bone fractures or muscle strain.

Among its many uses, plantain is a healing, soothing skin herb. In the form of poultice, compress or salve, it can be used on burns, cuts, and rashes, including eczema and psoriasis. And if you get a bee or wasp sting, pick the nearest plantain leaf, chew it up and apply your spit poultice to the sting for immediate relief. Or just use some plantain salve.

Plantain leaves produce a gorgeous green so it looks like I'll be making a dye-bath with them next summer.

I'm still knitting the Hitchhiker. Also, going deeper with fresh turmeric root and fresh ginger root and I'll write about that next time.

Here is a little bit more detail about salve-making. It's the strangest thing that I wrote about turmeric at the end of this post too! Ha.

Happy weekending and may delightful synchronicities abound!




Saturday, January 17, 2015

just beeing


It warmed up here today and as the temperature rose, I kept stepping outside to check for bee activity since I had just placed the syrup feeder on our beehive for the first time this winter. Not a bee in sight. Over and over I went out, but nothing. My heart sank and I feared the worst. I tried to remember when I'd last seen them -- four days, six days....? There were some tears as I talked myself into being okay with whatever had happened. Around 2 PM I had to take one last look (like looking at a car accident) and there they were -- out and about enjoying the sunny day! Not very many, but enough to have already cleaned off their front porch spic and span. Bees do this as part of their housekeeping -- they push out the (normal amount of) dead bodies and debris that can build up and block the hive entrance. My guess is that even though the temperatures were above 43 degrees most of the day, the windchill just made it too cold.

I've been stitching words and art journaling (Journal52 Week 2 is "just being") and playing around with the mandalas. My heartfelt thanks for your comments/suggestions on bringing the mandala project to completion, they are all so great. Maybe I'll have a clearer vision for 13 moondalas by the time of the next new moon.

That last line on the human beeing stitchery was one that Nancy left in a comment a while back. Thank you, Nancy, it's perfect.

I still need to write her name on the journal page, but the quote is by Susan Sontag:

Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration's shove or society's kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It's all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.

Thanks for visiting -- we do all matter. 


Monday, January 12, 2015

moonday origami envelopes



It's really dark out today, I've been following the light from inside the house as it moves across the sky -- for a while the kitchen was a good spot, then a bedroom, but now it's dark everywhere at 3 in the afternoon. We're not used to this here in Denver, Colorado where it's claimed to be sunny 300 days a year. In a smidgen of a way, I can better empathize with people and plants deprived of light.

The most recent issue of Flow magazine (from The Netherlands) has an article on making origami envelopes so I gave it a whirl. (A video is here.) I used some of the paper that came in the magazine (Flow always has extras tucked inside), some of my own paper scraps, and then some inside out privacy envelopes. Privacy envelopes are so worth saving -- they come in all different patterns in such lovely shades of blue. Who would've thought.

I haven't decided what to do with the moondalas yet but their edges need finishing so I'll be playing around with stitch and color for a while. Thus far, my ideas included making a little booklet, mounting them onto thick paper and framing, cutting them into hexagons for a honeycomb, and lastly piecing in a checkerboard pattern with other solids in between -- but none of these feel right -- either too busy or too plain. For now all 12 are pinned onto the front of a deconstructed white wool skirt -- if they stay on the skirt, I'd sort of like to use the waistband as a hanger. Suggestions are most welcome.

Today is a waning moonday in the sign of Libra. Libra energy helps us to appreciate beauty, benefits all types of creative work, and is a good time to form partnerships and make agreements.

To beauty and peace on Earth. Sounds just right for a Libra moon day, doesn't it?

Friday, January 9, 2015

carrot greens



Miso soup was made -- the basic ingredients of the recipe I use are carrots, turnips and onions with greens added at the end. I've been reading about using carrot greens lately so I added the tops to the soup. I don't think I'd ever even tasted carrot tops before -- raw they're a little bitter but that wasn't a surprise because many greens are bitter. Added to the soup, we didn't notice them and they're full of potassium, calcium, Vitamin C and more. It felt really good to make and eat this soup after the sugar train we've been on.

I searched for carrot green recipes and there are many out there. I like that I can buy intact carrots at the healthy food store now and use our own homegrown carrot tops in the summer -- in France the tops are sold in the markets even without the carrot root, wouldn't that be something? It's all new to me and if it is to you too, a good starter article on carrot greens is here.

That up there is my first-ever attempt at art journaling -- collage glued down, painted over, dabbed and scraped, painted some more, outlined and a Rumi quote on flow written in-- it felt extremely awkward for me to make this but it was so much fun. I feel very brave for even showing it. When and if I continue on this new pathway, it will be with the prompts given at Journal52, a workshop that you can join in at any time and participants share and ask questions. The videos are fun to watch -- the weeks that I'm not participating, I'll surely be watching.

And thanks for visiting here. xo

P.S. The carrot dish towel is from Williams Sonoma.



Monday, January 5, 2015

moonday sequin constellation



It's so fun and easy to think up resolutions for a new year, I could have dozens just like that, but it's just as easy for me to get sidetracked. Finding that a slower process works better for the way I'm wired, I'm going to continue forming intentions moonwise -- that is, on the new moon of each month.

I still wanted to join in with the new year vibe though so I chose a word for 2015 and it is "flow" -- both a tarot card and an oracle card I drew on January 1 had to do with flow. So I get it, flow it is. I've been thinking about what flow means and what qualities might access or impede flow energy -- what came up was decision-making. Without going into detail, let me just say decisions do not come easy for me and then things can either lose their momentum or stall completely. It's probably why I try to incorporate rituals into my life so much.

My dye & stitch full moon ritual, 13 moondalas, comes to an end with the January full moon. I like the balance of the 12 sections, so the 13th mandala will be stitched onto one of the existing squares, but which one is still to be determined. It will need to be small.

I'm making a sequin constellation on a moon phase card -- these points of light are the birth dates of women in my women's circle. I will stitch the connecting lines either by hand or machine but first have to choose how they connect. I'm thinking that each point connects to its nearest point. And then I want to make more constellations -- my family, my first women's circle, herb friends, and on and on. It will be interesting to see what the constellations look like, how and where they overlap. I expect this to evolve throughout the year or as long as my interest holds. Not making it a resolution or ritual or anything.

Today is a waning moonday in the sign of Cancer and our first 2015 Monday. It's a time of letting go, clearing out, tidying up and making soup -- I'll be putting away Yule decorations, working on the moondala project, organizing and maybe making miso soup for tonight.

Wishing you love and light this day, this week, this year.


Monday, December 29, 2014

ice cold moonday


I drew from the light of the moon and the stars and the sun while stitching December's moondala -- #12 of my monthly dye & stitch ritual, named 13 moondalas. Each mandala is made with eco-dyed wool -- this one's black background is from a garden mint/iron water dye-bath but I don't remember the source of color for the beige moon. Anything having to do with plants needs to be written down, I really do know better.

It's been snowing on and off the past few days. I went outside to look for a glimpse of green but the only bit to be seen was in the strand of cloth chickens. After a minute or so, I decided to settle for the green inside the house instead. I'm loving this rhipsalis plant rooting in the bottle -- strange-looking, isn't it?

I just finished reading The Signature of All Things -- the plant descriptions, especially of moss, were fascinating and the characters eccentric, but hey aren't we all when you get down to it, so those parts I liked. I'm not quite sure what else to say about the book yet -- it's too soon -- it always grieves or maddens me when a good story ends before I'm ready. So that probably means a thumb's up.

Today is a waxing moonday in Aries. As the moon continues growing into fullness over this next week, we carry on, too -- developing and bringing things to fruition. I'm making lists and thinking about what my next full moon art ritual might be. Savoring this time.  

I wish you a happy week, wherever you are and however you welcome the New Year. It is ice cold here. xo


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

december patterns


Every December I take photos of at least one sunrise -- I just realized that. Like a moth in darkness, I know I'm not the only one fluttering around the precious light. More strings of lights have been hung in this house this year than in a long time and thank goodness for the kind that come with timers now.

Every December I start craving fresh greens to eat and green threads to stitch. I would be a very good candidate to have a little greenhouse -- just big enough to grow lettuces in. I realized the easiest way to wash and dry lettuce is to trim off the bottom but still keep the bunch together while holding it under the faucet -- then pop into a container where the water just runs off, the same as it does when lettuce grows in soil.

And every December, the snowflake curtains are hung, to remain until winter is over. This is their fifth year, the best paper thing I've ever made.

I'm recognizing patterns, both intrinsic and extrinsic, in my life. It might be a good way to simplify and do what's truly meaningful in the future.

Thanks for visiting -- I wish you Peace in the changing Light! xo