Monday, April 30, 2012

monarch moonday

Yesterday we had a flutter of monarch butterflies in the lunaria garden. I tried to take a count and came up with 5 to 15. It's hard to count fluttering butterflies. They just made my day though and I wondered how I would be changed from seeing them -- you know, the butterfly effect, only on a personal level. 

This morning I started stitching little blue circles on a piece of onion-skin dyed cotton. The  cloud cloth happened to be nearby and I liked the two together -- then a moon cloth from way-back-when joined up with them. I am trying to be discriminating though.

Today is a waxing moonday moving into the sign of Virgo in a few hours. As the moon grows into fullness, it is natural for us to reach outward, expand, seek, and create. I marvel at this. And I marvel that the moon herself was likely once a part of the earth, torn off by sun gravity and flung into space, creating craters, ocean basins and continents. It actually makes sense that we feel a connection and it's really only natural that the moon and the ocean still stretch toward each other. Marvelous is what it is.

Earthy Virgo is a good time to analyze, make determinations and carry out decisions related to the physical realm. I make lots of lists during Virgo moons and this would also be a great time to comparison shop if you're about to make a big purchase. 

While this isn't a great time to sow seeds in the garden, it's a good time to plan, cultivate, and weed the garden. And tend the livestock, in my case, the dogs and the bees. And the butterflies! 

Our digestion is influenced by Virgo and a focus on healing this function may be more effective now. Dandelion is a good herbal digestive herb that strengthens, stimulates, and heals. I plan to collect dandelion leaves and flowers today for a medicinal vinegar tincture rich in minerals. And, as always, if there's a tendency toward digestive problems, vigilantly avoid their triggers. 

I wish you a marvelous beginning to the week!

Talula on a new bed under the sewing table licking and sighing and circling and pawing and generally putting me into a trance -- the sounds of animals do that. You too?

Friday, April 27, 2012

corty's tulips

Today is a good day (waxing moon in the sign of moist, fertile Cancer) to sow more seeds. I've been waiting for the right moon-time to get these dye plant seeds started. I also ordered some actual dye plants but they won't be shipped until sometime next month when the weather is more stable. Fingers crossed that everything grows.

The African violets are settled in under the skylight in the living room. I'm hoping this is the right amount of light for them as it's on the north side of the house and shouldn't be too harsh. It seems like I have trays all over the house, this one is an old chalkboard. I need to pick up some chalk so we can doodle on it. Maybe write messages, too. Like use a coaster for your glass -- that would be a good one for here.

Some of the bees swarmed. The thing I worried about the most happened. And you know what, our original beehive is still full. So I guess it needed to happen. When we saw this swarm, we immediately made plans to go to the beekeeping store for another hive. The swarm was there when we left the house, and when we came back an hour or so later with the new set-up, they had moved on. I felt sort of bad, but it's Nature and who are we to say they shouldn't expand their horizons?

The red tulips were planted 27 years ago by our little boy, Corty, and me. He was nearly three and as we planted -- me digging, him planting -- we talked about how the tulips would come up and bloom for the new baby due to arrive the following spring. And they did. Four years later Corty left this Earth when leukemia made its home in his body -- but still the tulips come up  -- and we always call them Corty's tulips. Every spring. And I am always so happy to see them.

Thanks for coming by here and happy weekending. xo

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the purple option in food & cloth

I've been cooking with frozen grape juice made last fall from our grape harvest. We have both a seedless St. Theresa grapevine and an old-fashioned Concord with seeds. St. Theresa is sweeter than Concord which is surprising because usually varieties of anything are sweeter when they have seeds. I've discovered that St. Theresa is good for drinking and Concord is great in recipes because it's more robust. I think that adequately describes the difference, anyway. 

I thought the Welch's website would be a sure thing so I tried some of their recipes substituting with our grape juice. The grape sauce over chicken was nice but the grapey salad dressing was fabulous in a spinach salad with salty feta cheese. Chopped fresh mint took it where it went and we literally drank from the bowl what was left when the greens were gone. So unmannerly.

After that, a color trail started forming . . . there's not quite enough dark blue linen for the Japanese knot bag so I'm wondering about using purple silk for all or part, maybe just the base for a surprise.

Every few years African violets work their way back into my heart and home. My grandmother grew them in her kitchen window and it's a nice memory. She also had oilcloth on her kitchen table and I've a yearning for that now, too.  Does anyone else love it? I saw some light blue with white polka dots in a magazine somewhere, that would be perfect. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

knot bag moonday

One Japanese knot bag down, one to go. It's made from this leftover organic cotton and gray linen stash. After I figured out the correct seam allowance, it was pretty easy. You never know how much the cloth should be stretched or if it's just best to start over. I started over -- that's to be expected with me, my modus operandi. The dark linen on the outside is my favorite, but there will be days when I'll use the sunny-side out, too. Both sides have contrasting bottoms.

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of airy Gemini. Gemini makes us feel less emotional and more intellectual -- also, curious, energetic and outgoing to the point of possibly spreading ourselves too thin.

Besides being a great day to plan and run errands, it's a good people day in general -- we are "on" -- we feel chatty and quick-witted. I love getting together with friends on Gemini days, this was one of the first planetary influences I noticed when I begin this moonwatching journey. In the garden, it's best to weed rather than plant. Gemini is also a mutable sign like Pisces, Virgo and Sagittarius, helping us to shift gears without too much discomfort.

Gemini rules the shoulders, arms, hands, and lungs making now an ideal time to use healing treatments from applying heat to strengthening exercises to receiving acupuncture. We should also remember not to stress or overdo if those parts are problematic.

I am heading to the garden for a weeding session and in keeping with Gemini's influence, I'll wear gloves and remember to occasionally stand and stretch my arms and shoulders and breathe in this gorgeous spring day. 

Are you feeling Gemini energy?

Friday, April 20, 2012

sewing and dyeing golden yellow

The golden yellow continues. The weekend plan is to make two Japanese knot bags, one with the bottom two fabrics, the other with the top two. I need easy-to-carry bags for an herbal conference next month and hope these will be just right. If anyone has made this pattern, I welcome suggestions and tips.

Just started this dye bundle with the golden yellow of dandelion on a silk blouse remnant and a piece of wool felted tree skirt. By picking these flower heads, I prevented thousands of seeds from self-sowing. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing as dandelion is such a useful plant. But we already have enough in our backyard to make medicine for a small village so I guess it's okay.

Also made up this dye bundle with the golden yellow of mahonia stems and her leaves on another silk blouse remnant. Lyn had great success with mahonia last April so I thought I'd give it a try, too. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for visiting here and happy new moon weekending! Tomorrow is the new moon in the sign of Taurus, ideal for planting in the garden. And projects begun now are especially long-lasting so seemingly a great day for more dyeing, as well.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

color of the week

Yesterday, I planted a replacement tree for one we lost this past winter. It just so happened that a volunteer Oregon grape, Mahonia spp., was growing exactly where the new tree needed to go and it had to come out. It was more work but also a blessing and a boon because I was able to make up a medicinal tincture with the Mahonia roots (rhizomes). That golden yellow of its bloom in the top photo is a clue to the color of the inner bark of the stems and rhizome/roots which contain the alkaloid berberine. When you notice this yellow in bark or root, that's what it is, berberine. It's even more beautiful when wet, as you can see. Oregon grape is sometimes used as a substitute for goldenseal, an endangered plant, but it also has its own unique uses. It is a strong overall antimicrobial against viruses, fungi and bacteria; and a cholagogue to stimulate the gallbladder and digestion -- not to be used during pregnancy.

If you have this plant species growing wild in your garden, it would be worth your time to research it -- and if you feel you could use it medicinally, then make up a tincture. Interesting that I didn't even think of dyeing with it, but I'm going to make up a bundle today. I'll need a saw to cut the big chunks that are left, these rhizomes are rock hard.

Still on a pompom kick -- this pompom cloth is old, pretty sure I remember seeing it at my grandmother's house. It definitely hasn't been used much. 

I'm thinking yellow-gold is my color for the week. In case you're wondering like I was -- there are 544 pompoms in the cloth -- now isn't that some serious pompom action?

Monday, April 16, 2012

pompom pisces moonday

It's done and I like it. This will be the last I write about the new pillow cover. Either my camera has something askew or my eyeglasses are too scratched up, but the photos aren't looking clear and crisp to me today. 

Today is a waning moonday in Pisces. If you're feeling ultra-sensitive, you may be subject to the influence of watery Pisces. If you're feeling compassionate, same. If you're able to see a different point of view or change your mind about something, same. Boundaries can be fuzzy -- might my camera (my fourth eye) be influenced by Pisces?

Pisces is considered a mutable sign -- that is, it helps us to adapt to and better tolerate change -- and we may feel like retreating into private space as part of this process.

In the garden, Pisces affects root growth. In the human body, it affects our feet, from which I always envision invisible roots sinking into the Earth. Foot problems may be more easily aggravated now while at the same time, steps toward healing might be more effective. 

I've been wanting to stitch a foot to go with the green hand. Maybe a blue foot. With roots. 

Are you feeling Pisces?

Friday, April 13, 2012

calendar squares

Last week it was silk, this week it's linen. Is there anything in the world more luxurious than stitching straight little stitches into nice little calendar squares on creamy linen? I think not. At least not this week.

I found the twig in the garden and thought it would make a perfect hook. I don't know if I should scrub off the dark bark or leave it as is.

The aspen view out one of the sewing room windows makes you feel sort of like being in a tree house when really it's the main level of a ranch house. When the windows are open,  you can both see and hear the leaves rustling at the slightest breeze which is why I really love aspen.

This weekend we have a waning moon in the sign of Aquarius, a great time to make improvements. All kinds. Thanks for visiting and happy weekending! xo

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

pompoms, etc.

When it snowed last week, I brought in a bouquet of apple blossoms. Their fragrance was so heavenly, I don't know why I don't do that all the time, even when it doesn't snow. I saw in the photo that my next pillow project was in the background draped on the sofa. It's time to replace that Currier & Ives snow scene pillow cover with something new.

This project needs trim. The green cotton pompom is vintage taken off an old tree skirt and the white fringe is from an old bedspread -- I have a huge bag of it, I think it was a queen-sized bedspread. Does anyone have any ideas for re-using this kind of longish fringe?

Red pompoms win. So does some calendar cloth.

Monday, April 9, 2012

full moonday art

Using tarot cards is one way to send messages from yourself to yourself. I draw a single card on every new moon, sometimes I'll do a more elaborate layout but simple is usually better for me. When I need guidance on specific issues throughout the month, I might use the cards then, too, and the type of layout will vary.

I drew the 9 of cups on the last new moon. To acknowledge and hopefully strengthen this tool, I wanted to act on that card in some way and was thinking of sewing a nine-patch of circles, but it just didn't come together. So I painted my woman scattering 9 moonseeds in her garden circle under the rising full moon. I don't mean to repeat myself, but until this last year of moon paintings, I'd never painted anything -- you can probably tell. But I'm having a lot of fun with these 3" square itty canvases and simple shapes.

Today is a waning moonday in the fiery sign of Sagittarius. We feel imaginative, adventurous, and confident now. This is when we have an opinion or something on our mind that needs to be expressed. And it may or may not be beneficial that we aren't too concerned about diplomacy when we speak out. I think it's good to get beyond our inner censors and not worry so much about what others think, don't you? Like me with my primitive little moon painting up there.

Sagittarius rules the lower spine and the thighs. That means problems in those areas are more easily treated and healed, while at the same time they are susceptible to flare-ups.

According to one of my planting guides, a third-quarter Sagittarius moon is ideal for planting onions, seeding hay, and cultivating. Onions look a little like moonseeds, don't they?

Today is also a celebration of full moon art! If you've stitched, photographed, painted, knitted, written, or otherwise celebrated the full moon, please share by leaving a link in the comments -- or email me and I'll post your art over on drawing down the moon (on the sidebar).

Today's sightings:

Michelle's beautiful blue egg moon here and her Full Moon Friday post including a music video, Son of the Moon, here.

Marie's recent encounters with Fox and a photo of her handmade rattle here.

Trish's moon poem and moon photo, both so lovely.

Friday, April 6, 2012

nesting full moon

Ostara is both a holiday and a goddess. The holiday is Vernal or Spring Equinox and the Goddess Ostara is she who brings powerful change to Nature. You can pretty much figure that the celebration of Easter has some roots in Ostara. Interesting that Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after Ostara.

Since suet isn't the food of choice for the birds right now anyway, it makes sense to fill the suet feeder with nesting materials. Here is a list of good things that help the birds cozy up their nests. I used yarn, wool roving, hair from the last haircut I gave my husband, sticks, pine needles and feathers. It will be fun to see which things the birds gather, if any. I've put out materials before and the squirrels got it all. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Today is the full moon in Libra, I almost forgot to mention -- and I will be making full moon art once again. If you do, too, please share your stitching, photos, knitting, painting, drawing, writing, etc. -- email me or share a link in comments next moonday.

Thanks for coming by and happy full moon weekending! xo

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

silk-dyed eggs

Egg symbolism for me is based purely on Nature and this season of emergence, rebirth, and wholeness. For a few years now, I've been wanting to try out this technique of using silk ties to dye eggs. Last night the planets must have been perfectly aligned, because I had everything needed to finally get going.

I might have done a few things differently than the link up there. I used raw white eggs, wrapped them snugly like a gift with pieces of wet silk -- right side in, wound them with thread to create contact everywhere, then more winding with the interfacing from the ties like a mummy, simmered for 25 minutes in water to cover plus a quarter cup of white vinegar. I let them cool before unwrapping and coated with olive oil for shine. That's it. No cracks in the eggs so they'll keep indefinitely. They're not edible though as I'm sure none of this silk was eco-dyed. The silk itself doesn't seem to have lost much, if any, color so my silk stash was upgraded overnight.

It was pretty fun. Oh, and I also experimented with making a bundle of cotton and silk rolled together. The pattern transferred well but there's no reason, really, to do any more.

Have a lovely colorful day, no matter what season you're in!

Monday, April 2, 2012

----- moonday

One of my sewing rituals is to go into the sewing room and sit at the table. It's usually covered with cloth projects, pin cushions, and floss-wrapped clothespins. So I just sit there. Sometimes for quite a while. Then I pick up a cloth and ask what it would like and one thing leads to another and soon we're off and running. Probably everyone has a process like this.

One day a cloth asked for three red lines ----- and then the next day another one wanted red lines ----- and yesterday the green hand wanted a red spiral and ----- some red lines. It seems to me that all three have been enlivened just a smidgen.

It's believed that if you listen to "the voices", follow your intuition, and act on your hunches they'll all get stronger. Okay then.

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of Leo. Ruled by the sun, Leo helps us to be more assertive and less afraid of attention, yet still playful. With Leo, we can face the sun and face the future whether that means giving a presentation or entertaining guests or stitching red lines all over everything.

Leo rules the heart and circulation, the back and the diaphragm. We have a tendency to go-go-go now resulting in disrupted sleep from so much going on. I experienced exactly that the other night, it didn't dawn on me that it was likely intensified by Leo energy. Sometimes things really do make sense, don't they?

Wishing you a sunny moonday. Where I live in Colorado, we probably won't even get a glimpse of the sun -- we're expecting rain-turning-to-snow and I had to put the cozy right back on the beehive this morning. But I really do wish you a sunny day!