Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I had a terrible craving for green. Planting up a terrarium and then another followed by one more took care of it. Here's how it went. I'd gone to a garden center only to get a green fix and some seeds but left with gravel, charcoal, and some tiny plants. I swear I was high when I walked out (the natural kind). I hear some people feel that way when they buy clothes or shoes or anything, but in this case it was plants.

I used glass containers from the basement -- an old jar, a ginger jar vase, and a bowl for floating flowers in. Then a silver horse from when I was little, an metal bell, and a goddess figure. Stones and moss. That's it.

One for the living room, one for the kitchen, one for the sewing room.

Monday, February 27, 2012

it's-just-thread moonday

The way people always say it's just paint, I've been telling myself it's just thread. A good thing it's just thread, as I have stitched-and-unstitched on the green hand cloth more than I've ever done before on anything ever. The hand has been embellished twice, the leaves have had both roots and stars. All torn out. A shift seems to have occurred, inspired by the magic diaries class -- some leaves have become eyes -- I'm thinking of them as possible symbols of the life force/wisdom of plants. Plant spirits. The leaves also remind me of buds; old botanicals refer to buds as eyes. Nowadays, we usually only think of the sunken buds of potatoes as eyes. But when you see a bud, you know something is alive and growing.

Today is a growing moonday in Taurus. Taurus is a patient time, thank goodness, that helps us to stabilize and focus on practical matters. There is a tendency to be stubborn  but I don't see that as necessarily a negative thing, the line between strong and stubborn is so blurred. Here's how I gauge it -- if I feel myself uncomfortably shutting down from change, I'm probably being stubborn.

Although it may not be the absolute best planting time, a waxing moon in Taurus is also considered highly ideal. Maybe even especially so for early spring or fall plantings when hardiness is so important as seeds sown or projects begun under a Taurus moon are usually long-lasting and dependable.

Taurus rules the jaws and neck including the voice, throat, teeth, ears, and thyroid gland. Now is a good time to focus on healing those parts and avoid causing them additional stress. Have you noticed that a sore throat is sometimes simply a warning to "watch it" and take better care of yourself? I can go to bed with a sore throat but after a good night's sleep, it's gone. Amazing how easy it can be if I only listen to my body. 

Wishing you a patient and earthy moonday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

heart space


Seeds were planted in 4-packs -- tomatoes, basil, jalapeno peppers, lettuce and kale -- the plan is for them to go into the cold-frame after they germinate. An experiment to test their cold-tolerance. Peppers like it warmish so I'll keep them in the house a little longer than the others, but it is a test, after all.

A few nights ago we had a windy snowfall and one of the tops to the cold-frame was flung open -- the result was a 3" blanket of snow that I frantically scooped out yesterday morning with bare hands, half-asleep in my pajamas and snowboots. I keep a rock on it, but evidently it wasn't heavy enough. The other side is weighted with the solar automatic ventilator. With the sun's intensity increasing, yesterday felt like the brightest, whitest day yet.

This is the best baked acorn squash -- it's filled with a mixture of 2 T. butter, 2 T. honey, 1 T. Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 c. walnuts and 1/4 c. dried cranberries during the last 15 minutes of baking. I ate three out of the four in the photo! They were little though.

I tried to hold out until Jude's next boro class begins, but I need to wear these jeans asap so they were temporarily mended. I sort of don't want to buy new jeans when there's really only a few more months of even wearing jeans. And if I buy some now, I'll probably be a whole different size by next fall. I won't say which way but a person can hope.

It's been a good week to re-center, I guess you could call it being in heart space. Lighting candles, winding floss, reading, getting dirt under my fingernails again. It had been a while.

Thanks for visiting. And happy weekending! xo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

more onion-skin dyeing

Computer problems so I'm posting on my ipad. I'm not sure how to get the photos right, it shows up as code on my screen and that's scary, for sure.

These are the results of a little more onion-skin dyeing -- only one of the baskets fit into the dye-pot and that was unfortunate because I love the color of this little heart basket now. Also, some strips of cotton, wooden beads, and a clothespin. I thought the yarn called for a shot of ginger liqueur, color wise -- then a little knitting play. Lastly, I'm trying to overdye this coffee-dyed cotton knit top that really didn't take the coffee color very well. We'll see.

Any tips on blogging with an ipad?

Monday, February 20, 2012

empty basket moonday

I had this great idea to empty every basket in the house and sort through the contents before refilling it. Sort of like cleaning out the kitchen drawers, only baskets. When I walked into the not-even-completely-moved-in-yet sewing room, I counted 13 baskets. We probably have baskets in every room -- I'm rethinking my plan. Maybe I'll get a few baskets in the sewing room done. Maybe.

I loved this idea when I saw it on an organizing website, sorry I don't remember where and I didn't save it. If it's your idea, you are a genius. It's so neat and tidy plus the color code can be written on the clothespin with a sharpie. The vintage floss from my mother's stash won't be wound because the labels are just too cool. And that Nun's Boilproof Flochelle is fabulous to work with, by the way.

Today is a dark moonday in Aquarius and I'm focused on the dark moon aspect more than the ruling planet this week. The dark (or balsamic) moon is the one-to-two day period before the new moon. It is a time to release and empty and rest. Hanging on to stuff leads to stagnation and heaviness with no space for either change or new possibilities. Over and over throughout each month, we go through this cycle of inspiration, planting, growing, celebrating, analyzing, reflecting and emptying.  Our emptying process can be viewed as preparation for what's to come and that makes it an exciting moontime, one I really like.

Aquarius rules our lower legs and their circulation making it a probable time for both aggravating and resolving problems with those parts. The color for Aquarius is blue which calms inflammation while red increases it. I wouldn't wear any red socks, slacks, or pajamas today if I had aching legs. Just saying.

I want to spend today emptying and preparing for the new moon tomorrow -- on both an inner and an outer level. On an inner level, Davidji of the Chopra Institute has a guided "agni (fire of transformation) meditation" with a breathing exercise to exhale letting go of who you are, and inhale becoming who you might be. I have this particular one on CD but some of his meditations can be accessed online. He has the perfect voice to take a person inward.

On an outer level -- our new moon tomorrow will be in Pisces, a water sign, and a new moon in a water sign is the best time ever to sow seeds in or for the garden. A new moon in a water sign during planting time only happens once a year, the next one (in Cancer) will be in hot (or cold) July, and then again in November (in Scorpio). This is not to say there aren't other auspicious planting days, there are -- but they are not on new moondays. Some other projects for today besides baskets in the sewing room are to wash and fill with soil lots of 4-pack pots to be planted up tomorrow, to empty and dye some blah baskets, and strain some herbal tinctures.

Do you find yourself wanting to clear out space today?

Friday, February 17, 2012

wool & silk onion skin yarns

The wool yarn up there is for more hexies for the beekeeper's quilt project. I'm hoping to use all bee and honey colors with a touch of light blue for the sky. And our bee hive is painted light blue, too. The plain mini-hank has already been washed and rinsed. I hope so badly that the others keep their variations, am scared to wash them!

Okay, technically I don't think I can call this silk yarn but it sort of is. The onion skin silk organza curtain made almost 20 yards of yarn. You just snip and tear, side to side, making sure not to tear all the way through.  Happily there's another whole curtain panel to do yet, that'll make about 40 yards!

I'm waiting for the cable man as we're consolidating our phone, cable and internet today. That means being able to get rid of the phone line hanging across the middle of our back yard so I'm willing to risk it. Keeping my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly. 

Happy weekending! xo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

it is what it is

The stitching is for flying dreams, I'm trying to let loose a little. While I was doing that, somebody was having herself a knitted hexie, intended for the beekeeper's quilt. Then she took a little nap. And I just noticed the other dog threw up by the back door. I won't show you a photo of that. Maybe I should count my hexies.

Monday, February 13, 2012

crystal clear moonday

Thinking today about corners, sharp edges and feeling sticky and one thing led to another, as it always does. In feng shui, remedies are placed for protection against such things. But I think even sharp-edges have their smooth sides -- in the case of, say, a glass shard, an icicle, a person, or a crystal, to name just a few. Well, right there within arm's reach, still unopened, was this book (learned about it at Trish's) from Mr. Amazon (as Nat says). The pages on giving crystals a rest by laying them on a bed of amethyst or quartz crystals caught my eye. Here are three of my crystals having nap-time -- yes, sharp-edged, but oh so smooth and clear.

Today is a waning moonday in Scorpio. Watery Scorpio magnifies our emotions like a magnifying glass enlarges newsprint and the intensity can cause great joy or deep discomfort. Scorpio moon times, like clockwork, are when I say and do dumb things and then obsess about them. On the bright side, clear focus and intuition are greatly enhanced right now.

Scorpio's body influence is on the function and health of the urinary tract and sexual organs including fertility and menstrual problems. A great remedy for menstrual cramps is a big spoonful of chocolate syrup with a dropperful of cramp bark, viburnum opulus, tincture. Hey, remember -- chocolate has minerals! And it's so smooth.

I'm going to have a little chocolate, just because, and see if I can find my focus today. How about you?

Friday, February 10, 2012

stitching on my sleeve

This heart is the same one the girl was holding when she drew down the snowy full moon the other day. Yesterday I stitched it onto the first sleeve -- my winter coat. To remind me to live more from the heart and not so much from the head. Lots more sleeves could use a heart. I'll let you know if it helps!

Hearts are everywhere now. I know many people have gone beyond their common associations, but I pretty much still categorized hearts with folk art, love and the valentine business, and even religion. I'm happy to realize that the heart seems to be transforming into a personal symbol of sorts, beyond the mundane. It started with this tarot card not that long ago, after years and years of using this deck, mind you.

I'm thinking heart symbolism is energetically expansive, and who knows where it could lead. I'd love to know what you associate the heart with on a deeper level?

Happy weekending! xo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

more full moon art

Some thoughtful, beautiful moon-inspired posts . . . just click on the links. And if you'd like to be listed here, leave a comment!

Nanette stitched a Leo full moon lion-hearted piece.

And Pat made a snowy full moon with geese on cloth.

Go see both sides of "she moon" stitched by Marie!

There's a lovely moon photo and a thoughtful video over at Nancy's.

Ms. has a lovely Moon Muse photo and Moonlight Sonata is playing.

Deanna showed the Far Side of the Moon not long ago and also took some magic moon pictures -- for real, go see!

Deb posted "moon stories" with a moon photo/cloth overlay.

And Jacky included a moonday moon in her cloth magic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

snowy full moon art

Everytime I stepped outside to look for the full moon last night, all I could see was a vast stretch of white. So I came in and painted myself a full moon. Again on a mini canvas, about 2" x 3". I know it's primitive at best but it was fun.

The full moon is the time when we recognize and honor accomplishments, realizations, decisions made, and all the other many good things in our lives. For me, it's the realization that as long as I act from the heart, I'm okay. So my girl up there is holding the heart she's about to sew on her sleeve.

The skylight in the kitchen looks like the middle photo after most snowstorms -- you can see how blue the Colorado sky is. But this photo is from a previous snow because the sky here is still whitewhitewhite today.

I normally don't look at comics but for some reason I saw this one last fall. I'm thinking about stitching a similar sentiment sometime. It made me do a little research on the whole howling at the full moon business and sadly, animal research has proven it to be not true.  The howling is simply a method of communication by nocturnal creatures with heads tilted up for good acoustics -- and even more crushing -- with no variation during different moon phases. More here.

Sorry to tell you, it's like learning the tooth fairy isn't real. But scientists have yet to prove why people want to howl at the full moon, now don't they?

If you have full moon art! to share, and I hope you do, leave a link in the comments. If you don't have a blog, email me your art and a little about it and I'll post it on the drawing down the moon page on the sidebar! xo

Monday, February 6, 2012

lion-hearted moonday

I am so slow. Finally, after six months. Four pieces came together out of the pile I've been stitching for flying dreams, my magic diaries cloth. Well, really only two stitched pieces, but a lot of thought, too much, went into those blank linens on each side. Now I find myself wanting to hang it on the wall and just look for a while -- maybe stitch something totally different -- like some hearts.

Today is a waxing moonday in the fire sign of Leo, the lion. A Leo moon pulls us outward to be with people -- we are personable, generous, and energetically strong -- but not necessarily drawn toward a work mode. Think of the qualities of a lion, how its very presence is a force enough.

Leo rules the heart and circulation. Both low and high blood pressure fall into this realm and can often be lessened by mindful living in addition to necessary medication. With high blood pressure, that might mean avoiding situations that undoubtably bring stress, walking instead of driving, cooking with medicinal foods like garlic and dandelion greens, or drinking hawthorn berry tea. Hawthorn berries are all about heart health -- they strengthen and enhance heart function, lower blood pressure, and lessen heart palpitations, among other things. In fact, hawthorn works so well, medication may need to be adjusted to a lower dose. And I just read, I think it was Dr. Oz's column, that if there's a family history of heart disease, a daily glass of wine (5 oz.) as a heart tonic may still be a good idea.

Tomorrow is the full moon -- I'll be creating some Full Moon Art and hope you'll join in with your painting, stitching, drawing, photos, etc. We'll meet up here on Wednesday and share photos and links. Last moonth's are here.


the pile

Friday, February 3, 2012

brigid's flame

These first days of February are cause for celebration! Brigid's Day, Candlemas, Imbolc, and the groundhog business all occur in this little window. By lighting a candle and being still for a moment, we can take symbolic action to connect with and enliven the Nature energies of this time. Where I live, the light is growing and with its return come the first stirrings of plant life deep in the Earth. Fires are lit in honor of the light's life-giving power and many people invoke Brigid as the guardian of healing, protection, purification, and creativity.

Traditionally, Brigid's crosses for protection are woven now, but I decided to unroll some dye bundles instead.  By candlelight I really couldn't see how they turned out so my first good look was this morning. The red silk had been rolled with a spent amaryllis bloom and the brown wool and cotton rolled with bits of pinecones. Nothing's been ironed or rinsed or anything yet but that amaryllis, wow!

I'm glad I lit my Brigid candle yesterday! A nice blanket of fresh snow feels very purifying though and it really does insulate and protect what lies beneath.

The coming full moon is on February 6 (where I live) so the next Full Moon Art posting will be Wednesday, February 7.  Join me in making Full Moon Art and link in the comments to share your makings or send me your photos! Last month's links are here -- and the drawing down the moon page on the sidebar has a few more photos.

Happy weekending! Stay warm. Or cool! xo

buddha garden

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

soup & stitch & why the dishwasher wasn't working

Last night I made a favorite spicy, sort of Indian-tasting recipe called Gypsy Soup (recipe below). For some reason I was organized enough to serve it before we sat down so it could cool down. Although my husband's trick of adding ice cubes works, too. For some other reason I remembered that I'd been wanting to try out the candlelight mode on the camera. Looks sort of like peasant food, doesn't it, but without the rustic bread -- which would've been really good with this by the way.

This morning, waiting for the dishwasher repairman to arrive, I practiced some frankenstitch. Love this stitch, it could make the most fabulous patches. I can think of two places to use it right off the top of my head.

I may as well pass on what the dishwasher repairman told me, in case anyone else has the same problem. There was nothing wrong with the dishwasher even though a film has been coating our glasses & dishes and even the inside of the dishwasher for many months now. The deal is, companies have eliminated phosphates from their formulas because phosphates are being banned state-by-state. Wonderful for the environment but not that great for cleaning dishes. He said nowadays the dishwasher soap is basically baking soda and enzymes. And he gave me a few tips on how to have a better outcome. I have to write them down before I forget. Heck, I'll do it right here. 1) clean the build-up on the inside of the dishwasher by running empty through a cleaning cycle with a cup of vinegar poured on the bottom, do this twice. 2) Use purchased product to remove film. 3) Use citric acid. 4) Buy commercial dishwasher soap because it still has phosphates 5) Try Finish. The type of water may also affect how cloudy the outcome is. He said that dishwasher sales had risen because so many people thought their dishwashers weren't cleaning. We still had to pay for the service call but now we know. Anyone else noticing this happening?

Gypsy Soup
(Eat, Drink, and Be Chinaberry Cookbook & The Moosewood Cookbook)

Before beginning, you will need 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (3/4 cup raw, soaked and boiled)

In soup pan or large saucepan, saute for 5 minutes:
3-4 T. olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups, peeled, chopped sweet potato/winter squash
1/2 cup chopped celery

Add and simmer, covered for 15 minutes:
2 t. paprika
1 t. turmeric
1 t. basil
1 t. salt
1 bay leaf
dash of cinnamon
dash of cayenne 

Add and simmer for another 10-20 minutes:
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (I used canned last night)
3/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
3 cups stock or water
1 T. tamari