Tuesday, November 29, 2011


We snowglobed our version of Anthro's last week in between cooking and snacking and catching up. It was a good time, and doable for all ages, three and up.

Plus a few more the next day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

shake a leg moonday

Last week we again crafted and cooked and watched football. We talked and ate and toasted our blessings with heartfelt emotion.

Here is some of what still remains with a new season nearly upon us . . . 

Today is a waxing moonday in Aquarius. Airy Aquarius is associated with community, open conversation, imagination, movement, and control. That control part is something to observe -- even though we may be drawn toward the warmth and connection of community, we might not be in a place of wanting to give up control simply to do so. Like a breeze of wind, we may blow in and out, here and there, soft and hard.

Aquarius rules the legs -- conditions of the legs, as well as healing them, are at the forefront now. One of my first childhood memories is of my legs aching at night. To a lesser degree, this has continued throughout my life. I realize now that I probably needed more minerals, magnesium in particular. Drinking strong medicinal herbal infusions and using herbal vinegars help to raise my mineral intake making those leg aches less of an issue these days. Taking a magnesium supplement would help, too, I have no doubt. Interesting that varicose veins can be caused by lack of movement, both of the circulatory/digestive systems and actual physical movement -- more Aquarian aspects in play.

Yet even as the old still falls away, the buds of new life appear.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the last dark moon

Today is the last dark moon before Winter Solstice. Tomorrow on the new moon MST (where I live), new plans, projects, and ideas will be set into motion. On this dark moon though, I'm still letting go with my whole being -- of everything I can. I even wrote myself a pep talk this morning because it's crystal clear that the enjoyment of life is affected by what a person carries around day in and day out. And some serious shedding seems to be in order.

We will be eleven at the table tomorrow -- twelve if I count the new soul due to arrive any minute. We'll gather for a meal made by all of us and shared with love, in deepest gratitude. 

Happy weekending. xo

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

skeleton leaf

We're fast approaching that bare-bones time of year. I look outside and see beautiful skeletons everywhere -- vines, shrubs and trees -- trellises and fences -- even the patio furniture without cushions. 

Instead of making real skeleton leaves, I thought I'd stitch some. Linen on eco-dyed silk.

Monday, November 21, 2011

a year and a day moonday

They had an egg again this morning. A year and a day ago, I sat down in this exact spot and wrote about feeding the crows an egg for breakfast.  A year and a day is considered to be a significant amount of time, both legally and otherwise. After that length of time, something has been learned or established.  Now, after a year and a day has passed, is a fine time to reflect on this blogging journey so far and then think ahead.  So, we'll see what comes up.

Today is a waning moonday in airy Libra, the sign of balance, connection, creativity and beauty. You may find yourself wanting to join a group of friends for coffee, lunch or dinner -- although deciding when and where to meet is another thing, being Libra causes indecision as well! Around Libra's key aspects, what rises to the surface for me is that while I've learned quite a bit about allowing my creativity to emerge in the past year, even more so I've learned to allow more open connections with people. And maybe that's really about creating a kind of balance, the ebb and flow, giving and receiving.

Libra rules the hips, kidneys and bladder. The hips help us to balance and stabilize so that we can move forward. There are many approaches to strengthening the hips and this is a good time to pursue a healing pathway for them. I knew as soon as we'd entered the sign of Libra -- I still have an occasional aching from an old injury that flared up. And I woke up this morning thinking about seeing an acupuncturist for it and, heck, maybe I will.

The crows and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming by. xo

Friday, November 18, 2011

out of the dye-pot: reconstructed deconstructed avocado

After nearly three months in the compost pile, the reconstructed deconstructed avocado was once again deconstructed to reveal a gorgeous new silk organza scarf (the scarf photo is unedited).  It's been heat set with the iron, but not washed -- I don't know that it even needs to be. The only problem is it measures just 41" long and that's a touch short for a scarf. At least the way I'd want to tie it. Lesson learned. I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas to extend the length? Short of making another avocado bundle, that is.

Happy weekending! xo

And here's the last of it...

Additional Note:  Lest you think I'm a total slacker --  for a minute there, I forgot this had been in the compost because it didn't look or even smell bad -- I washed it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

herbal ritual: echinacea tincture

Making echinacea tincture to ward off colds and flu is another one of my herbal rituals. I don't need to make it every year, only when our stock runs low. The last batch was made in 2008 and we're down to a few drops in the last jar of that batch. (A tincture will last indefinitely as long as it contains at least 25% alcohol.)

My method has evolved over the years. At this point, I tincture the whole plant of homegrown fresh echinacea purpurea and purchased dried echinacea angustifolia root separately and combine them later to make a super-potent echinacea tincture. The flowers, leaves, seeds and roots of fresh echinacea purpurea are all used, each tinctured at their own best time, and added to the mix. I use 100 proof, or 50% alcohol, vodka as my menstruum.

The healing energy of echinacea sinks into the roots in the fall so the beginning of the next batch has been made. The roots of several plants 2-3 years old have been dug up and brushed off, swished briefly in cool water, dried, and chopped. A jar was filled with the roots and then filled again with vodka, to be infused for at least six weeks. In the next few days, I'll also be starting a brew with dried echinacea angustifolia roots in a separate jar. In six weeks, the two will be combined and we'll be able to use the tincture as medicine. Next year, I'll tincture fresh flowers and leaves, seeds, etc. adding them to the mix as I go.

I find it's better to make as much as I can so that we're free to use it as generously as is needed. Say you pay $10 for a bottle of tincture -- first of all that's a lot of money, and second of all that's not very much tincture. Depending on the specific herb and dosage, the bottle could be used up in a few days. When people say that herbs don't help them, I often wonder if the problem was they simply didn't take enough because of the cost.

If you use echinacea tincture even once in a while, it is worth every penny and every minute to grow and make your own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

a mysterious murmuration

A murmuration is a group of starlings. They fly in amazing patterns and you may have seen similar videos before. Their basic choreography seems to be when your neighbor moves, you move too. But from what I've read, just exactly how a large murmuration -- like this one in the thousands -- synchronizes itself instantly is yet to be discovered -- possibly something about proteins and neurons. I'm thinking "universal intelligence" would be good words here.

I love that it's a mystery for now. And can you even imagine being in that canoe?

Monday, November 14, 2011

red root moonday

Starting to stitch red roots . . . thinking about sinking into my own roots and wondering how deep I can go.

Today is a waning moonday in Cancer. I'm definitely feeling the Cancer vibe of wanting to stay home and nest and cook -- right here is where I'm rooted. In the same way that a perennial plant's energy sinks from its aerial parts into its roots in the fall, we too get the urge to sink deep into our roots. Especially under a Cancer moon. And like the plants, we need strong deep roots for survival, stability, and future growth.

Cancer is a watery sign that sometimes carries hidden emotions up to the surface, surprising even ourselves, they've been so well-hidden. We come clean whether we plan on it or not! The body parts affected by the sign of Cancer are the stomach, liver and gall bladder, chest and lungs. I'm envisioning these organs that assimilate nourishment as components of the main root system within our bodies, deserving the same care and attention we give to our aerial parts -- our outer appearance. It's interesting that many medicinal herbs used for conditions of these same body organs are roots -- angelica, dandelion, yellow dock, burdock, gentian, elecampane, ginger, and valerian.

Roots. I guess you could say there's a lot going on beneath the surface.

Friday, November 11, 2011

fur and moss

I dreamt of fur and moss. It was so beautiful that I just had to make the dream come true. And doing that led me to revisit an old dilemma.

My mother-in-law gave me this mink fur coat that's been hanging in a special, breathable garment bag in the basement for quite a long time now. I've worn it maybe once, it just doesn't feel right, although I realize it's from a time when it was acceptable. I've thought about deconstructing it and making something like pillows or a bag. It would be interesting to see how it was made, the lining was hand sewn, but then I'd see how many pelts were sewn together and it's probably too many to bear knowing.

When I tried it on, the dogs gave me a concerned look. I don't know if it was the fur, itself, or the fact that I was wearing it.

I've listened to NPR's The Ethicist with Randy Cohen on the subject. I need to think about it some more, but I tend to agree with his view that, in this day and age, wearing any kind of fur, old or new, coarsens our sensibilities as people. And I very much like the Humane Society's fur collection project that distributes fur to wildlife rehabilitators. Fur warms and comforts injured and orphaned animals -- cut into the right size for the animal, it can be a surrogate mother, a playmate, or a sleeve can even be a nesting place for a burrower. A collection drive is scheduled to begin on Black Friday, 11/25/11. Isn't that timely?

I'm wondering if you have any thoughts on this or have also inherited a fur coat and if you've repurposed it and how so?

And happy weekending, too. xo

Thursday, November 10, 2011

full moon making/doing/feasting

Today is a Full Moon in Taurus. Any planet's influence is strongest in conjunction with a full moon so today I'm noticing how Taurus affects me personally on an energetic level. Since I started being more observant about all this, I've realized there's a difference in the "feel" of some of the planets. I figure knowing what to expect can only be helpful when planning ahead. Taurus, being an earth sign, generally affects the areas of strength and stability, willpower, materialistic concerns, and practicality. We'll see.

full moon name :: white moon. It is so white.

full moon knitting :: the first hexagon of my beekeeper's quilt made in creamy white for the moon, ready to be stuffed with a bit of wool. Oh dear, this is going to take more than a few years. But there's just something about it that I really love. My only tip after completing one hexagon is to use the marker. Notice I didn't say how many attempts it took to figure that out.

full moon reading :: books from the library. The Alice Hoffman book up there is The Dovekeepers.

full moon blooming :: cactus plant propagated from a couple of 2-segment sections. When my mom passed a few years ago, I couldn't carry a plant on the plane because I had so much other stuff to carry, so I put the pieces in a plastic bag. I know that this is still pitiful in size but it is blooming nicely. My mom is probably willing it to live from the middle of the air.

full moon feasting :: salmon for non-salmon lovers tonight. This is the best recipe from a local cookbook, The Best of Company at 8.

Salmon for Non-Salmon Lovers

Preheat the broiler. Put 1 fillet of whole fresh salmon, skin down, on a foil-lined broiler pan. (Use heavy-duty foil.) Pat the salmon dry and cover with a quarter inch of mayonnaise. Then sprinkle generously with lemon pepper and garlic salt. Put the salmon in the oven close to the broiler element/flame and broil until the mayonnaise turns dark brown and looks almost burnt, about 3-5 minutes -- keep an eye on it. Turn off the broiler and set the oven to 325 degrees. Bake for another 20 minutes. When serving, just slide a spatula between the flesh and the skin.

Happy full moon making, doing, and feasting to you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

take it further: green hand

I took the green hand a little further with:

:: a leafy area
:: magic threads around the moon
:: grape-dyed patches over some kantha-stitched squares

I'm liking this piece more and more -- henna-ing the hand next.

Monday, November 7, 2011

map candle moonday

This time of year, many of us in the Northern Hemisphere have to use most herbs in forms other than fresh. Dried, infused, tinctured, frozen, pickled, or distilled into essential oil. One easy, but energetically powerful, way to experience essential oils is to scent candles. This morning I lit a few candles until little pools of wax appeared. Then I blew them out and dribbled about 5-15 drops of cassia bark (cinnamon) essential oil onto the pools, avoiding the wicks. After the wax hardened, the candles were ready to be lit again.

I've discovered that Ikea 2" tealight candles (the big ones) release the fragrance better than a more expensive pillar candle. I don't know why exactly. I've also discovered that any candle burns more beautifully when wrapped with old Atlas map paper.

Today is a waxing moonday in Aries. Until the moon grows into total fullness on Thursday, this is a great time for us to make progress and grow things, too -- to take things further once again. Adding touches to nearly-finished projects, reading (or writing) a few more pages, knitting another section, outline stitching one more little cloth moon...

Fiery Aries feeds the flame and energizes all aspects of life -- most useful for taking things further. Aries rules the top of the head to the nose including the eyes, the sinuses, and the adenoids. This means that conditions of those parts are more easily healed or harmed. Water seems to always be key on fiery days -- drinking more water can ward off headaches, salt water in a neti pot helps clear sinus and nasal congestion, and warm compresses soothe some eye conditions.

A school friend's parents used to answer back soak it for nearly every physical problem there was -- my leg hurts, soak it -- I stubbed my toe, soak it -- I have a headache, soak it. I thought that was hilarious. Maybe they were right on Aries days.

Two-sided map paper wrapped around a tall glass cylinder holding a little tea light.

Friday, November 4, 2011

lowly worm

A Lowly Worm was made this morning by a little girl and her nana. Her mama helped a little, too. Unfortunately, the pattern for Lowly had been torn out of the book so we had to wing it. But he turned out just right.

Happy weekending! xo

Thursday, November 3, 2011

herbal ritual: fire cider

Making Fire Cider in the fall is one of my favorite herbal rituals. Fire Cider helps ward off cold or flu, decongests head colds or sinus problems, and can be used as a daily warming tonic for bouts of sluggishness. There are many versions, but, as near as I can tell, it originated with Dr. John R. Christopher years ago. You can deduce from its ingredients that the name is right on.

Fire Cider

Into a pint jar, put 1/4 cup grated or finely-chopped horseradish root, 1/4 cup grated or finely-chopped ginger root, 1/8 cup finely-chopped garlic, 1/2 cup finely-chopped onion and a pinch of cayenne. Fill the jar with ACV (apple cider vinegar), steep for 6-8 weeks, strain and bottle. Store in a cool, dark place.

Be sure to use a plastic lid or place a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper between the jar and lid if using metal -- vinegar corrodes. Fire Cider can be used in recipes or just add a spoonful to a glass of water and drink it down.  I've even heard of people taking shots of this! Honey can be added, too.

Some years I've been able to use garden horseradish, garlic and onion but this year the only ingredient from the garden was horseradish. It's true -- once you plant horseradish, you have it forever.

Also posted over at Food Renegade and Sunday School at Butter Believer. Check them out!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

out of the dye-pot: oak leaves

The results of the first batch of oak leaf dyeing. I say first batch because I'm just sure it can go a few more rounds if I pour the liquid back into the jar of oak leaves to steep some more -- maybe adding some new leaves as insurance. I adore the color. And I love those gorgeous leaves in the jar up there.

I need to get myself to a yarn shop asap for some white wool sock yarn...a project in the conception stage...too early to talk about, don't want to jinx it, ya' know.

P.S. I'm experimenting with larger photos, is it a pain for them to load?