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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

delicata squash

There's nine inches of snow on Buddha there and more to come. I measured. For some reason I've recently formed a weather habit -- I check the forecast several times a day and the temperature much more often than that. I've decided to break this pattern. It's going to be a New Year's intention for me to not check the weather or the temperature unless circumstances require doing so. I want to look out the window and see if the chickadees are plumped up, then I'll know it's cold out and I need to wear a heavier jacket to walk the dogs. Or if there's more activity than usual at the feeders, then I'll know snow is likely on the way. Like that. It'll be more of a challenge in the spring, of course -- a new plan may be needed at that time.

For my moonthly stitch ritual, Pathways, I chose a white sashiko stitch. The idea of the sashiko stitch is to make the thread on the top of the cloth larger than the thread that passes underneath -- the underneath thread is about one-third the length of the top stitch. This is moon #12 on a natural linen runner. Next month all 13 moons will have been represented, each a different color and variation of stitch. The project has been an easy way for me to ritualize the passage of time over this past year. At each new moon I choose the thread color, number of strands, and stitch; by the full moon I am usually in the middle; and by or during the dark moon, that pathway is finished.

Carmelized delicata squash doesn't need peeling -- that's the main reason I tried out this recipe, I avoid peeling squash whenever however I can. Definitely a thumbs up, delicata squash will be included on my 2016 garden planting list. The recipe is here -- basically it's baking it whole beforehand, cutting into slices and tossing them with avocado oil, then roasting on a sheet pan until carmelized. The delicious sweetness might actually tamper the desire for sweets in case you have a craving. And these convenient-sized slices can be eaten as a snack, added to salad, or warm as a side dish.

A new use for all the leftover leaves we used for autumn decorating -- leaf mulch in the houseplant pots! Binoculars are always at the ready lately as more birds come to the feeders with snowy weather. A suet feeder is especially popular with northern flickers, downy woodpeckers, and small birds that have not been identified yet. Thus the binoculars. Yesterday there was a hawk sitting on the back fence looking for her lunch, I hope it was a mouse and not a bird she wanted.

Bee is her name. She had been used quite forcefully in her previous life (before I found her), you can tell by all the pin marks. I'm thinking her next wig should be of flowers and bees.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

a knitted pear

It was unexpected, this little bit of knitting. Right in the middle of oh so many projects, a simple green pear in an ad excited and compelled me to knit up its likeness....immediately. The pear pattern by Linda Dawkins is free on Ravelry here, I used bits of leftover green and brown wool stuffed with more wool. There's just something about a pear.

Thanks to Homespun magazine for including my boro patched blue jeans in their modern mending feature. I'm Patch Project #10 up there. Homespun is a lovely Australian craft magazine full of unique projects, the paper is heavy enough that just paging through feels nice, like you've really got your hands on something. I found several things to put on my to-make list -- first up will be those woven patches under Patch Project #14.

I've been thinking about this season of Yule that both energizes and depletes me. Reflecting on gift-giving and gift-receiving. Asking myself if I continue to do the real work of so many family traditions out of love -- or for love. That is a question that can be put to good use any time in any situation, I think.

There will soon be a new moon full of possibilities (on Friday)....but join me now in the quiet darkness and let us take time to rest and restore ourselves.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

december 1


Quite a lot has happened. Our Thanksgiving crafting could be, depending on who you talk to, a more beloved tradition than the celebratory dinner. This year it was wintry dioramas in tiny tin boxes. Some left the lids on the boxes, others used the boxes alone. So much fun. 

Just saw the pin/magnet idea over on the Colette blog -- perfect for the little hand-painted plate and I'm always needing a place to park pins and needles. Pinned up on the board is some of the herbal cloth Kathy, the Woodland Quilter, (thank you, thank you) so generously sent -- I am crazy over the colors. 

I am on an avocado-on-sourdough-toast kick. It was still dark this morning so I fired up the angel chimes. Ting, ting, ting. I love me a candlelit breakfast. 

I plan to post one photo each day this month on Instagram. You can click here or on the sidebar. If you're already on Instagram, come visit me and I'll be able to visit you back. You don't need the phone app to view Instagram photos, it can be accessed with any internet-connected computer or other device.

The 4 Sprites!

Have a wonderful week. xo

P.S. The leaves up there are pressed/dried, then decorated with a white paint pen.

Monday, November 23, 2015

hitchhiker moonday


Today is a waxing moonday in earthy Taurus. Some common-sense Taurus aspects are strength, balance, patience and perseverance. Another big positive about Taurus energy under a waxing moon is that projects begun at this time will likely take hold, take off and be long-lasting -- anything temporary goes against the Taurus grain. Making changes can be harder under the sign of Taurus as well so it's best to just hold off a few days until Gemini. 

A little leaf punch was put to work. The art journal prompt for Journal52 Week30 is the road less traveled. Journal 52 will definitely be extended into 2016. The Hitchhiker (scarf) had a long rest but I'm back at it again -- 25 of the 42 total "points" are completed. I haven't read the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy but am curious about those 42 points so might need to do that some time. 

I love the idea of printing images on old book pages -- just playing with it until something good enough to frame emerges from the printer. I've been drinking eggnog coffee the last few mornings. I love plain eggnog too, it's a good thing for my butt that it's seasonal. 

I'm wishing you a beautiful week -- thanks for coming by. 


Saturday, November 14, 2015


One little leathery-looking leaf guided my color choice for November's moon stitching. A simple chainstitch, this is #11 of this year's sewing ritual named pathways. I collected more leaves to press the other day -- when I opened the big phone book to put them in, it was still filled with last year's leaves.

Our bees were attacked by wasps and it was awful. For days, yellow jackets flew in and out like they owned the place.  According to what I've read, wasps try to do this in the fall when there is a shortage of nectar but they still haven't died yet -- only the queen wasp survives the winter here. They tear up the honeycomb and eat everything in sight including the bees. There's not much a person can do except reduce the entrance opening, set up wasp traps or try to prevent the wasps from re-entering. I just pray to the bee goddess that they didn't kill our queen bee before a balance was regained. I think there is some symbolism here with what's going on in the world.

The taproot tunic top (a misnomer because it's not as long as a tunic) is finished but it is bigger than I would like. Next time I'm going down a size and using linen and making it long like a real tunic. Maybe black linen, I can't wait.

I found two dye-bundles from last summer in a box in the garage. One cloth has decent pattern and can be re-dyed while the other disintegrates when touched. The November calendar cloth is from 2013's moon stitch ritual -- nice to revisit pieces from the past.

Our Thanksgiving cactus with all its buds in various stages -- "A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms." 

Image result for coexist

Thursday, November 5, 2015

homemade bias tape


The other day I suddenly remembered the Taproot Tunic cut out so long ago, before my sewing machine went on the blink and gardens needed planting and replanting and whatever else happened to make me forget about it. And I love it. Mostly because it fits perfectly but also because it was so easy and fun to make. The pattern called for making double-folded bias tape, which only increased the job satisfaction level. I couldn't decide which print to use so decided to piece together both and that is the one I'll use. More later when it's all finished (and ironed). 

I'm thinking up ways to use homemade bias tape now. I can definitely see myself in the sewing room some night very soon listening to podcasts and using up all my leftover fabrics to make yards and yards of bias tape. I need bias tape makers in every size, I do. And more sticks.

Fall hasn't really kicked in completely here yet -- the milk thistle, Silybum marianum, shows no sign of decline and the same goes for ornamental kale in a big clay pot. Serviceberry leaves are taking their time as well.  If anything, some things look better now than ever in spite of their much slower pace. I hope to adopt this same kind of attitude particularly the part about looking better than ever.

There's absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the rush. Everybody should be free to go very slow...~Robert Frost