Monday, March 31, 2014

moonday rituals

Today is a waxing moonday in Taurus. This week begins the phases of the moon so it's a good time for us to begin new things, too. What is begun under a Taurus moon tends to take hold and be strong and long-lasting -- that makes it a be-careful-what-you-wish-for kind of thing.

One more little moondala is finished -- this is #3 for my March full moon sewing ritual. It's made with a bindweed-dyed moon on an indigo-dyed background and stitched 'round and 'round until it was time to stop. Even though all three mandalas have a similar design, in my mind each is unique for its respective moon time. Now that the stack is growing, I'm starting to think about the bigger picture -- next up will be finding a background cloth for them.

My monthly flower bouquet dyeing ritual was also completed -- a March bouquet of tulips made a dye-bath that most certainly looked magenta but then produced both pink and green. And green was exactly what I wanted but was positive wouldn't/couldn't happen. What a happy surprise -- two pieces of lovely green wool and even the silk that looked so pink when wet turned out to have green in its folds and edges when it dried. A person couldn't ask for more now could they? Even if these colors were to wash out, I'd still be happy for how they look right now.

And to tell the truth, I probably am not going to wash them.

Friday, March 28, 2014

nature therapy

It's true, the month of March is a time of balance. It's equal dark and light. It's equally stormy and sunny. Snowy and rainy. And cold and warm. But when it comes to wind, it's windy, windy, windy. It's because March is such a transition month with both warm and cold temperatures that we have two different pressures running into each other to make these oh-so-familiar gusty, blustery days.

Our Nanking cherry bush is blooming and the bees are working it -- I feel greatly relieved that they have an outside food source other than me making sugar syrup. Talula, our younger pup, got stung yesterday right in front of me -- she was puzzled and so was I because she wasn't bothering them -- wrong time, wrong place, I guess.    

I'm still stitching on the little blue sky moondala. And just unrolled the February flower bouquet bundle -- the results are nice, very subtle, as wool often is. 

Last fall I stuck a huge dead branch into a pot right outside the sewing room window. I meant to hang a bird feeder on it and maybe string some lights -- but I never did. About a week ago, I looked out that window and thought to myself how wonderful it was that the aspen suckers had grown so much over the winter and I was thrilled that they would finally begin to cover the neighbors' garage wall. Well, silly me, it was simply that big branch I stuck into a pot last fall. That I've been looking at all winter long. And darn, those aspen are still quite a ways off from blocking any view. I decided some of these toilet paper roll/peanut butter/safflower seed feeders would be good for both the birds and me.

Nature therapy.

And thanks for visiting and happy weekending wishes from me to you! xo

Monday, March 24, 2014

blues in the dye-pot

Today is a waning March moonday in the sign of Capricorn. All indicators point toward the important work of letting go and wrapping up loose ends. I'm keeping this in mind as I go about my business -- adjusting to the ideas of loosening attachments and letting go of preconceived ideas.

As Nanette mentioned on her blog, Stitch and Sow, we are doing a dye-along together -- striving for the color green using different types of blue cloth in a turmeric dye-bath. She has had a cotton piece soaking for a few days and already shows some green, but mine was just begun. Fingers crossed. Here is my last encounter with turmeric.

When I was looking for blues to dye with, I found a half-basted fairy cloth rolled up in some light blue linen -- I'd complete forgotten about it but now I remember that it is one of my favorite pieces, if that makes sense.

The little primitive dollies are from long-ago when my kids were reading the Little House on the Prairie books -- I made them for the tree at Yule. They are so very sweet. I'm going to do something with them but it may not happen until closer to Dias de los Muertos. Now you know what I'm thinking, right?

Looking for guidance last week, I drew from my mom's angel deck five days in a row. I liked most of the cards I got, especially clarity because that one came right after I posted last Monday about clearing winds. Obedience ruffled my feathers though -- I don't like to obey. Thought about it for a while and decided it would be okay if I related to it in the context of obeying the law and also obeying Mother Nature. Realized then that I'm actually very obedient. The things you learn about yourself.

Wishing you a beautiful spring/autumn week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

windy moonday

Today is a windy March moonday and it feels nice and clear and clean out there. I want to go outside so bad but my eyes were dilated earlier for an exam and the brightness bothers me. The sky looks just like the indigo-dyed wooly background of the moondala up there. Stitching mandalas is my monthly full moon sewing ritual for this year -- the moon itself is a piece of bindweed-dyed wool. The fact that the bindweed plant can give such lovely color is doing wonders for our relationship. I think we can find a way to coexist if this continues.

The rosemary plant had a growth spurt since I fed it dog food kibble. So I tried out a room freshener mix -- rosemary sprigs, lemon slices and a teaspoon of vanilla extract in simmering water. It made the house smell clear and clean.

Dinner for tonight is on the cutting board -- it's St. Patrick's Day here but I'll be thinking about Brigid instead. She probably deserves a second holiday since the groundhog hogs all the attention on her real day, February 2. And since yesterday was the full moon, this meal will also be our full moon feast.

There's still time for full moon things like taking note of where we're at, what our situation is, seeing things clearly, tasks completed. It doesn't have to be written down, even noticing is good. Days go by sometimes where I don't see what's right in front of me. And some things happen so slowly that I don't see any progression, like the February lady sweater's sleeves. My monthly calendar book is a good tool for moonwork -- I've been using it to both plan for the future and document the past. Little lists of who, what, where and when, forwards and backwards. It clears my mind like a big whooshing wind.

To those whooshing winds.

Friday, March 14, 2014

a new calendar cloth

I went to a quilt shop with a friend today and found a retro-style 2014 calendar towel by Moda. I haven't decided yet if it's to use in projects or in the kitchen. How about that label -- remember those? At our house, t.v. dinners were reserved for nights when my mom had bridge club or PTA or something. My favorite was the Salisbury steak with chunky mushroom gravy -- also my first experience of eating mushrooms.

It turns out parsley in the dye-pot is yellow and not green. The lighter yellow wool in the third photo from the top is the parsley outcome. Thinking about colors for the March wool moondala -- I like the indigo blue sky or maybe the sage green with a golden bindweed moon. Of course, it may end up to be all or none of these.

I tried ice-flower dyeing with the tulip petals from this month's flower bouquet. It's an easy technique from Eco-Colour by India Flint -- but I'm guessing that tulips just don't hold that much color? The water acquired a strong mauve color from the frozen tulip petals, but once the cloth went in, it was a disappointment. Having been soaked in a hot alum solution, the cloth turned the mauve into dark blue-green. So then I added a splash of vinegar and it turned back into a nice magenta color. You might think it's all good then but neither the silk or the wool seem to be taking on any color at all. Maybe I played around with it too much. I'll give it more time, waiting and wondering is really half the fun.

I labelled the wood butter jars today and also realized wood butter (to restore and beautify wooden bowls, utensils, cutting boards, etc.) in a small jar would be just right for a hostess gift. It would be great to have a few of these on-hand so I'll be making another batch using smaller jars. I can't even begin to say how good it smells and it's also nice on the hands. I'm a believer.

Thanks for visiting and remember to look up. Our waxing moon is nearly full, the night sky will be beautiful this weekend. xx

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

in the green

We are currently in a waxing moon phase with the moon in the sign of Cancer. Cancer is a moist and fertile sign, the best time to sow seeds, both real and imagined. Waxing moon energy is for nurturing those seeds we've planted -- in general growing, adding to, and building.

I've been attracted to all things green lately. Inside, outside, on the dinner table and on the sewing table. Parsley for salad and parsley for the dye-pot with some white wool. Yesterday I sewed some green florals onto my slow cloth with green thread -- I discovered there is very little green in my stash of cloth so I'll need to take care of that situation very soon.

Yesterday our temperatures were in the 70's but I think we're expecting snow later today or tomorrow. The crocus and pasque flowers are in bloom -- one bee sister came while I was admiring their blossoms. When and if bees forage on certain plants depends on the species of bee. For instance, I read that strains of Italian bees like crocus in early spring, but don't like it to be too cold. Bumblebees, with their furry bodies, don't mind the cold and begin foraging earlier in the year than other bees. I also learned that one should resist cleaning up the garden too soon because tiny bees and probably other good insects are still hibernating in those hollow dried-up stems.

Wishing you a beautiful green week!

Friday, March 7, 2014

wood butter

Every couple of years, I divide and re-pot the amaryllis bulblets and right now we have six living amaryllis plants. This is the second one to bloom this year -- it has just three blossoms and is a little on the small size, but gorgeous all the same. 

The flower selection at the stores I frequent has been a little sparse lately. Until today at Whole Foods -- three tulip bouquets for $10. To simply be enjoyed for a time and when things start heading south, into the dye-pot they'll go.

Wood butter was made the other day and wow, this stuff really works and was most pleasant to use. Wood butter is mineral oil and beeswax at a ratio of 4 to 1 -- I used a 16-ounce container of food-grade mineral oil and 4 ounces of beeswax, warming the oil in one quart jar and melting the beeswax in another, both jars set into a large pot of simmering water, and then combined. I used wide-mouth jars as containers. After looking all over the grocery store for mineral oil, I finally had to get some help, and lo and behold, it's also a laxative and there it was with all the other nice laxatives. I don't recall ever hearing or reading about mineral oil, a petroleum product, being something ingestible, but it turns out it is. It's even in some candies including Swedish Fish so remember not to eat too many Swedish Fish! Or do, as the case may be. 

The nine-patch stitchery is done -- just under 2" square, it reminds me of a merit badge. And the sleeve grew by very little, it's such a slow-poke.

I'm off to walk the dogs -- it's raining lightly now and they say it'll turn to snow soon. Daisy, Talula and I love walking in inclement weather though so we don't mind one bit. Thanks for visiting and I hope you have a lovely weekend -- rainy, snowy, or sunny. xo

Monday, March 3, 2014

nine-patch moonday

Today is a waxing moonday in Aries. Our March 1 new moon is in an active phase of growth now and Aries, well Aries is always a go-getter. If you know anyone with an Aries sun sign, then you probably know what I mean.

I've been knitting. If you can believe it, that 5" section of sleeve on the purple february lady sweater is 28 rows of gull lace pattern on three slippery metal double-pointed needles. It is taking forever. Each sleeve needs to be about 15", I think -- I haven't actually measured my arm yet because I'm still so far off. This sweater has taught me the meaning of painfully slow which sort of conflicts with Aries energy.

But I had a lot of fun stitching the teeny nine-patch, probably because it's been an escape from the sleeves! It's just a little scrap from some old jeans and threads from the nest.

Have you heard of The Documented Life Project? It's a project with weekly prompts to art journal in your daily/weekly/monthly calendar planner. I'm new to this kind of thing and my pages are mostly simple -- these are the sides of a page I added to the month of February. The heart art work was a download that I filled in with my own words and phrases and the other side is my own doodling with a pocket for memorabilia. Really fun and a person can start any time.

The Great British Sewing Bee is on -- here's the trailer. The second episode of season two is up at YouTube but I couldn't find the first one! If anyone comes across season two episode one, please let us know! Can't wait to watch it.

Have a great week, everyone!