Tuesday, April 30, 2019

may cloth and mycelium

I recently did an exercise which called for recognizing what fulfills you, waking up to your real needs and then creating a new life design around them. So I made lists for each of those categories. Long lists. Then, over a period of time, I trimmed and purged the lists. And trimmed and purged some more. Mostly what I learned is that long lists can be reduced to very short lists, but I also learned that I really don't need or want that much.


Bringing in the May once again with my May cloth -- the words are from the Cambridge May Song....I love this song so much. This piece of cloth is to be my only stitching focus for the next few days.



I planted the forsythia with forsythia syrup in mind.



Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of forsythia blossoms, cover and let steep for several hours, then strain. Add 1/2 cup of honey and refrigerate up to 3-4 weeks. I used this recipe.



The whole time I was collecting these juniper berries, I could hear the squirrels in the upper branches chewing and eating them. I have a few cooking/baking adventures in mind for these in addition to juniper's place in my herbal pharmacy.


A Venus of Willendorf in the making -- the basic pattern idea was from Marie at Ancient Threads (her blog is no longer online). Easy to make, I just folded a legal-size piece of paper in half and drew it freehand.


Back and front.

 

Her yoni is a small triangular piece of millinery flowers.

 
Her head-wear is another cluster of millinery flowers. She has wings.


Every spring I enact a new moon egg spell for myself, writing my deepest desires for the coming season on an egg. Some things have changed over the years, but I usually place it on my little altar to serve as a reminder throughout the month -- then on the day of the dark moon, the egg is buried and a pansy planted over it. This kind of moon work can be done anytime of year but it's nice to be able to bury it in the ground and plant something atop.


Revisiting and revamping an older cloth using new eyes. 
 

Dinner party favors made with little pots of pansies loosely wrapped in old book pages and string. 

 

'Tis herself.


Spring clean-up is well underway in my garden. I walk our little bit of land here in the city everyday. I try to notice the growth of plants from day to day and make future plans for planting food crops in and around established perennials, trees and bushes. The old saying "the best fertilizer is the farmer's footsteps" makes sense to me. For the last 10 or more years, I have not disturbed the soil except for planting. Each year I put a layer of compost on the soil along with other natural amendments. No more digging and churning and turning eliminates quite a bit wear and tear on my body and gives me more time for other things. The main reason being that I want to protect the mycelium from being damaged. A mycelium is a thread-like fungal network that unlocks nutrients for plants, helps plants resist pathogens, assists decomposition, releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, serves as a food source for earthworms and much more beyond my lay-person understanding. A mycelium network can be microscopic or it can be miles long.

And we need it.

Blessed be you. xo


Thursday, February 14, 2019

make yourself yours

We each have our own paths, dreams, visions, creations, experiences and lessons as we live our lives. These are the things I journal about here on this web log, sometimes with long pauses in between. Lately I've been listening and dreaming about the coming year. What seeds to sow, projects to begin, commitments to make, books to read...and on and on it goes. And I find great pleasure in figuring out the best way for me to live a happy, authentic existence. It's a job we've all been assigned -- to make ourselves real.


I've begun stitching a little, on paper instead of cloth -- this image was part of a promotional postcard and the frame is just a cardboard box decoupaged with bits of book pages. She's very Brigid-like to me with her fiery hair.


When I looked for signs of life in the snowy garden the other day, I found a few new motherwort leaves that were perfect on my avocado toast. Motherwort isn't exactly a culinary herb but fresh anything has value. Only a month ago, there were still dandelions in the grass, but they've all disappeared now. This coming fall I vow to pot up and shelter a few dandelion and chive plants for winter use. 


Blanket stitching on another old postcard-turned-button-card.


I am intrigued by the Fire Goddess Brigid, forerunner of St. Brigid. Every year on her name-day, also known as Candlemas or Imbolc, I begin setting up a little tabletop Brigid altar. This year I included a Brigid image -- a little corn husk doll -- and instead of using plant material for my Brigid's cross, I wove a torn calendar page and inscribed it with various meditations (idea from here). The blue altar cloths were dyed with home-grown Japanese indigo. I still want to place a few more items on this altar -- some beeswax or a teeny-tiny jar of honey to represent all the activity about to resume in Nature, a little sun image for warmer days, and a lamb figurine for birth/rebirth. I am only touching on the surface of the Imbolc season here -- if you are so inclined to delve into the meaning or to explore the old ways and practices of Imbolc, there is still plenty of time. In the Celtic tradition Imbolc is three months long -- it begins now in late winter, goes through Spring Equinox and ends in late spring.


Homemade elderberry syrup poured over a waffle is possibly the best way I've found to take an immunity-boosting herbal medicine. 


As Imbolc is also the time to bless and potentize our seeds for spring planting, the basket of seeds serves as a symbol of good crops to come.


Pillows taken from other parts of the house over the holidays ended up all together on this bed -- a nice show of homemade and store bought. I have pretty good memories of the song You Are My Sunshine -- my mom sang it to us kids and my dad whistled it as he drove. It may or may not have been "their" song. As I always saw myself as being "the sunshine," the part about being taken away was concerning though -- please don't take my sunshine away. In my mind it was please don't take my Peggy away.


Nothing simpler or more wintry than glass cylinder candle holders slip-covered with white sweater sleeves.


Green.
 

The last of the Echinacea angustifolia tincture has been decanted and more must be made.


Little propagation vases filled with slips of plants brighten up dark spaces around the house -- sweet bay leaf, Laurus nobilis, and pink nerve plant, Fittonia albivenis here. I seem to have lost my knitting mojo, I knit the little candle mat over a year ago just as it was slipping away. I don't know where it has gone.

I'm enjoying walking our dog Talula on snowy days because we usually have the park to ourselves. Looking down, concentrating on being sure-footed on multi-layers of ice and snow -- my entire field of vision is such that I can imagine for just a moment that I live in another time and place. Maybe Finland or Sweden or even a mountaintop.

You need only to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.  ~Florida Scott-Maxwell
                                                                                                                       
Wishing you sunny days and blue snow blessings. xo