Friday, June 29, 2012

knitting at breakfast

Before and after breakfast this morning. Just-picked raspberries over yogurt with a sprinkle of chocolate granola and a drizzle of bee honey goodness. And a little nest of yarn odds and ends for a new knitting project over at knitted minestronebegun by Kaite.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xo

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

out of the dye-pot: blue larkspur

Unrolling a dye bundle is such a pleasure, especially when you can tell from the outside that something has indeed happened. I started this project a few weeks ago -- the first photo shows the bundle that had been soaked with vinegar and placed an air-tight container the whole time.

The other bundle (below) was frozen, then immersed in warm water. Well, nothing happened, like in regular ice-flower dyeing -- so I decided to steam it in a stainless steel pot for 20 minutes and let it dry out each time, doing this several times over several days.

This was more like it!

Now that the silk has dried, I can see the color transferred beautifully on both, but the steaming distributed the color more deeply and evenly. The vinegar silk is on the left, steamed on the right. I'm in no hurry to use them, so won't wash either one for a few months to allow the color to set.

Blue larkspur silk -- how about that? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

moonday cloth

A patched sidebar was added to the little moon cloth. And some couching. This is still a pleasure to stitch on so it continues to grow.

Today is a waxing moonday in earthy Virgo. We are drawn to matters of the physical and material realm and words like stable, capable, and practical come to mind. Detailed projects that need focused attention are accomplished more easily. Getting lost in our work, we may even have to consciously arrange for relaxation and fun on these Virgo days.

Virgo influences digestion -- stomach problems may be aggravated and, at the same time, are well-treated now. Stress is often a factor and one sure way for me to alleviate stress is list-making. Once a task is examined, prioritized, scheduled and listed, it seems to lose its heaviness and is already well on its way toward completion. I love making lists during Virgo time because of the sense of control I feel. Or the illusion thereof, it doesn't really matter I guess. Stitching neat lines onto cloth gives me that same feeling.

Although Virgo is an earth sign, it is a barren sign so not ideal for planting -- but it's a good time for other kinds of garden work, yard upkeep, and animal care.

I hope Virgo's favor helps you as it does me. xo

Friday, June 22, 2012

solstice fire

This morning I collected offerings for the solstice fire tonight -- last year's wreaths, one from grapevines and the other from bindweed vines, a cauldron of pine cones gathered on walks with the dogs, and a nest of threads. Burning them will be symbolic of creating transformational change in my life. I've been thinking a lot about fire's power of transformation and how we really don't know how things will be afterward, that seeking change is an act of faith.

Colorado's forest fires are 55% contained but some say it could continue all summer long -- that could be a lot of change.

And Daisy, black, and Talula, rust, say hello. They seem to know there's magic afoot tonight.

Happy weekending and thanks for coming here. xo

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

suns rise

Suns in honor of the Solstice. The indestructible red sun prayer flag -- here and here -- has re-risen with the addition of a few green stitches, some french knot wish seeds, and new ties. The rising sun in the moss rose pot was a candle holder gift that I love dearly. I basted the cloth sun last night and am in love with it now, too, wondering what it will be? I only noticed this morning the similarity between the two cloth pieces. A carved sunrise stone in a planter.

With both the moon and the sun in the sign of Cancer, this day is one of strength, growth, and sensitivity. It's all good. xo

Monday, June 18, 2012

shine-on moonday

Some light can only be seen in the dark. A 6" clay figure lights the way in the buddha garden on a moonless night. Her arms have fallen away and one leg has been wired back on. She's a reminder for me to keep going, to shine on. 

Today is a dark moonday in airy Gemini, a great time for networking and socializing. Instinctually and creatively, we will be "on" -- the thing to watch for though is feeling scattered and spread too thin. And if you don't feel like doing any planting in the garden or actually beginning the new project just thought up, that would indicate being in sync with the sitting back, resting, and planning aspects of the dark moon.

Gemini influences the function and health of the shoulders, arms, and hands. Recurrent problems caused by tension and strain in those parts can be avoided -- if there is a way to lighten your load and do less for a day or two, you'll be glad you did. So often, we don't consider such simple self-care as a form of healing, but I think it is.

Tonight is the year's shortest dark-moon night for us in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest dark-moon night in the Southern Hemisphere -- and with tomorrow's new moon, we all begin anew.

Shine on!

Friday, June 15, 2012

mostly mending

Since I'm taking a boro class at Spirit Cloth, I've been on the lookout for items around here that could use some hand mending or recycling, mostly clothing. I just remembered this scatter rug that I bought at a thrift store a long time ago for five dollars, handmade out of colorful polyester squares and backed with light gray corduroy. (I flattened some of the squares up there to show how it's put together.) I've washed it hundreds of times by now so it's not surprising the back doesn't have a trace of corduroy left and it's beyond threadbare in several places. Still functional and a pleasure for bare feet and napping dogs, this can definitely use mending -- I'm thinking about patches or maybe even a whole new back. It could be reversible?

The beehive sprang a leak on the second floor -- there was a line of honey streaming down the front of the bee house. My husband collected some in a glass, I still need to strain it because there are unidentified floating objects in there. This was our first taste of wonderful honey and we were not disappointed. And the honeybees had mended the leak by the next morning.

Headed for the dye-pot, some old cotton napkins in rinse water after soaking overnight in soy milk. One is being over-dyed for lack of color transfer at the first go-round -- although when it's wet, it looks just fine. Now, if we eco-dyers could just keep the wet look!

Thanks for visiting here and happy weekending! xo

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

a sedum planter

Every summer a big clay strawberry pot is planted with moss rose, Portulaca spp., a succulent that does well in hot, dry conditions. It's not blooming much yet or I'd take a photo of it. What this is really about is this planter made from an old wooden pop bottle crate my husband gave me. The idea is to grow a variety of sedums, Sedum spp., another tough succulent of which there are over 400 species.

There are gaps between the bottom slats of the crate where the soil could fall out so I starting tearing wire screening into strips to line the rows. I actually never knew wire screening could be torn but it can be. Wrapping each plant in sphagnom moss might work too but I'm out of it.

Then I remembered all the cloth strips in baskets in the house -- and I liked using the cloth strips way better even though they may not last as long as wire screening. I sort of like the ends hanging over the edge because how else would you know?

And I'll be needing quite a bit more sedum.

Monday, June 11, 2012

rumi moonday

The Rumi moon cloth is such a sweet little piece to stitch on. A lemon balm leaf with curly edges was button-hole stitched in a way learned in frankenstitch class. Three needles are going at once because I can't wait to see how it all goes together -- a little here, a little there.

I watered the buddha garden this morning but the air is smoky and I thought I probably shouldn't be using water right now. That doesn't really make sense, but there are forest fires going in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, and maybe conservation is instinctual?

Today is a waning half Pisces moonday moving into the sign of Aries (oh dear, Aries is a fire sign) this evening. Since a change is only a few hours away, I'm looking at the effects of Aries instead of Pisces. Under the sign of Aries, we feel a sense of urgency to get things done. We can use this energy by beginning or working on projects that have been put off or have stalled completely. Fuel to the fire and start-up power are phrases that come to mind with Aries, so we need to be cautious and exercise good judgment and not be too impatient.

Aries affects the head and parts of the face, the eyes, nose, sinuses. Problems in those areas might be aggravated while at the same time, steps taken to protect and heal them may be more effective. Once thing for sure on these upcoming fiery Aries days, stay hydrated.

Assuming all people close to the fires are safe, thinking of all those trees being consumed in flame is hard. The wildlife harder yet. I'm trying to remember this is Nature's cycle, her transformative powers in the works. xo

Friday, June 8, 2012

larkspur drying and dyeing

The weekend begins with larkspur. Drying and dyeing. And smudging old and new pathways. Even in a city garden, you can find new pathways. The smudge stick is from a pow-wow a few years ago and I found it recently in the very back of the candle drawer. It is the best smudge stick I've ever used. Just had to re-wrap with twine in place of what seemed to be acrylic yarn. It is more fragrant than the ones I make with sage and lavender and it smolders splendidly. I bury the end in the ground for a few minutes when I'm done, it's that good.

The dye bundle is silk and blue flowers and a sturdy stick. I'm not sure whether to steam it or vinegar it up like with onion skins. Or try something new?  

To new pathways. Thanks for visiting and happy weekending to you. xo

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

more nettle-ing

I think stinging nettle, Urtica dioica, is a most amazing plant. Food, medicine, and fiber -- three in one. Some of her primary medicinal uses are to relieve allergies, as a nutritive tonic, as a diuretic, and to relieve arthritis. She helps our hair and nails grow better and makes our blood vessels more elastic. She nourishes our adrenals. And her root treats prostrate problems. Having nettle as an ally has been worth every accidental sting and all the times dragging the hose over to water.

I carefully stripped the leaves off the 4' stalks of dried nettles for easier storage. The less the leaves are broken up, the better they hold their nutritive qualities, so the half-gallon jars have whole leaves and the quart jar has just enough ground leaves for immediate use. To get the finer consistency, I put them in a plastic bag and kneaded it a little. The labels are once again a recycled page from an old gardening book. The nettles will be good for a least one year if stored in a dark, cool place.

At just under a half-pound, this is about a quarter of the amount I normally use in a year's time but more is already drying behind the tablecloth curtain. As long as I can hold off the plants from budding and the aphids, I can continue to harvest. I usually have to buy it, but maybe-just-maybe this year I won't.

There's fiber to be had in the stalks but I'll put them in the compost or dry them for a campfire in the backyard.

The first dried nettle infusion of the year from our little nettle patch and a bit of experimental stitching on the moon cloth. I love summer.

I hope you're having a wonderful week!

Monday, June 4, 2012

leaf shawl full moonday art

She stands before the full moon wearing her lemon balm leaf shawl. Lemon balm leaves have scalloped edges -- a scalloped edge can be knitted -- this might be the stirrings of a new knitting project. A leaf shawl.

Today is a full moonday in the fiery sign of Sagittarius, the archer. Every full moon is when to recognize and acknowledge positive things in our present circumstances. Whether that includes a project completed or a simple awareness, there is nothing too small to be gratefully noticed and honored at this time.

Since I just saw the movie, The Hunger Games, with an archeress lead character, I've been thinking about the archer's qualities -- extroverted, honest, adventurous, courageous, attuned with nature, easily moves forward, and focuses on the greater good. Who can't use a little Sagittarius energy every month? Something to watch for is how our words (like arrows) are released.

Sagittarius rules the hip and thigh areas. This means conditions and imbalances in those parts may flare up. But if we remember to take it easy, that doesn't have to happen at all!

All the zodiac signs have ruling planets and Sagittarius is ruled by the planet Jupiter -- weatherwise, this means dry and high temperatures with storms possibly amplified. Sounds like it could get exciting around here as we're in our thunderstorm season now in Colorado. 

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, and nettle, Urtica dioica, leaves are both scallop-edged. The lemon balm is on the left and the larger leaf on the right is nettle. Later today, I'll make lemon balm full-moon water to absorb magical, shimmering moon-rays through the night. The moon's energies in combination with lemon balm are thought to make a relaxing water to enhance mediation.

If you've made or are making full moon art over the next few days, I'd love to share your makings here, whether it be cloth, wool, photo, words, paint or ?  Leave your link in the comments or email me to have it posted on the drawing down the moon page on the sidebar. xo

*) For starters, see Joan's kantha-stitched moon cloth here

*) And Nancy's triple moons!

*) Nanette's moon(s) cloth and sunrise/moonset photo here.

Friday, June 1, 2012

rumi moon and bee in my bonnet

A little moon cloth based on the herbal tarot card, The Moon, is coming together -- a rising full moon, three stones, and maybe a sprig of lemon balm as a final touch. The background is pieced together with black linen, velvet, and cotton. Stones are eco-dyed silk and linen. The moon is Rumi cloth (more Rumi cloth photos are in the label links under "written-word cloth projects").

I had a bee in my bonnet this morning. I'd rearranged some of the frames of honeycomb inside the hive boxes, placing empty frames between fuller ones. Wearing a bee suit isn't very comfortable when it's hot outside so as I walked away, I unfastened and flipped back the bonnet. Then I went back to take a photo of the hive. Someone didn't like it so I left. Someone followed me and kept going into my hair. So I slipped the bonnet back on and zipped and velcroed and snapped myself in again. Well, someone was still in the bonnet when I did so. Someone started being very upset. When I realized I had a bee in my bonnet, I tore that suit off -- I'm sure I set a new record for my age group. The photo up there is how it ended up, arms and legs inside out. And someone happily flew off no worse for the wear. I, however, was shaking so badly I went in for rescue remedy.

Live and learn. I'm trying not to take it personally. This seems to be my main lesson when it comes to the bees.

Next moonday is the full moon and if you'd like to create full moon art, stitching, writing, photos, knitting, drawing, etc., I'd love you to join me and share your link in the comments. Or email me and I'll post it on the drawing down the moon page on the sidebar.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending! xo