Saturday, September 27, 2014

autumn moondala

The first year that I ritualized the full moon with art was by painting a girl and her moon on itsy canvas each full moon night for 13 moons. The next year I stitched 13 little wall cloths with full moons and tiny houses with eyes. And this year it's mandalas.

September's full moon mandala is the ninth of 13 moondalas. Its wool moon and 4" square wool background were dyed with homegrown dyers coreopsis, the difference being the darker background had an alum pre-soak. I tried and failed all three times to shisa stitch the mirror (like the tablecloth up there), then decided it would be better learned on something bigger than a half-inch in diameter.

It's time to act before cold nights set in. I've been gathering a few more herbs and flowers each day, even small amounts which is usually all I have, dumping cloth and yarn out of every available basket and refilling them with herbs. The goal is to dry the plant material quickly and completely -- baskets allow for good air flow to do the job well. With the moon now waxing, I'll be infusing vinegars with herbs and making a few medicinal herbal tinctures. Both the vinegars and the tinctures will be strained and decanted on some future full moon -- the vinegars will be ready in a few weeks and the medicines in six weeks.

Jan and I took a mountain drive the other day to "see the aspen turn" (a local phrase). The sky looked exactly like that, not a cloud in sight. It was so nice.

I've been visiting and admiring Lyn and her hexis over at Liniecat @ Large every since she started blogging, I think -- she recently gave me the honor of a mention in the Worldwide Blog Tour. It is a way to visit new places to meet and get to know new bloggers. Part of the way to participate is to answer some basic questions like what, why and how a person blogs. The other part is to mention some blogs that you like and visit. I am seriously going to have to draw names out of a hat and then ask them if they'll want to participate so it'll take some time. For now, the blog list on the sidebar includes some places I visit, but not all. Yes, that part will take some time.

The moondala project is an example of my sewing, knitting, and dyeing -- I like to make things spontaneously but I like a good plan, too. I try to be conscious of the earth and the moon. Being an herbalist, my herbal preparations are made as much in sync with nature as reasonable -- and we live in the city so I try to make good use of what can be grown in our space whether it be for food, medicine or dyeing.

Have you ever had the dream where you discover a room in your house that you didn't know even existed and you're so happy because you've found it? Well, that is exactly what blogging is like for me. xo

Monday, September 22, 2014

autumn moonday

Today is Autumn Equinox and also a dark moonday in the sign of Virgo. Day and night are equal for a brief time before the darkness grows and we once again turn our focus toward inner things -- hopes and dreams, books, gatherings, gift-making, even housework.

But first, I like to think about what to let go of before beginning to focus inward. I seem to write a lot of notes to myself and make little lists on papers (or sticks) of what I either want to release or what I hope for. A small pile had built up so I burned them all this morning and consider this to be part of my letting-go process. A stick I'd written on didn't want to burn and I wondered if I didn't really want to let go of what was written on it! But finally it did.

Then I thought about things I hope for and look forward to in the darker months ahead -- plans, projects, qualities, people. I gathered the seeds I've been harvesting from the garden the past few weeks and collected a few more fresh ones this morning -- then I made a seed mandala to symbolize what will grow in the future. This required a steady hand and mind to make so that was good as I tend to get excited about things like this. It's still not perfect with all the little seeds that bounced everywhere, but it is, as they say -- perfectly imperfect.

Autumn is really not the best time to harvest southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum, but I went ahead and collected all I felt was possible without damaging the plant. Four nice big bunches were cut and hung for a future group project and oh the fragrance wafting through the air reminded me how very much I love this artemisia. I'm showing how to tie the string for hanging bundles -- this way as the plant material dries and shrinks, the string will actually pull tighter and the plant material won't slip through. 

The dandelions are so nice this time of year and aren't quite so bitter, they really sweeten up with cooler temperatures -- these pickings are for Dandelion Italiano. Our Lady of Guadeloupe partially took on the Goddess Bast a few days ago, I hope she doesn't mind the company. September's moondala stitchery is coming along and I'm getting ready to cast on some knitted leaves in fall colors, pretty excited about that -- pattern here

There is still so much going on outside, the flowers are giving it their all -- it's like fireworks in the garden. The big show. The grand finale. I'm wishing you a beautiful equinox day, whether it be autumn or spring. xo

P.S. If you've come here via Lyn and the World Blog Hop, welcome! I'll pay the honor forward next post. Thank you, Lyn!

Monday, September 15, 2014

moonday disappearing acts

Today is a waning half moonday in Gemini. That means half the moon is visible now but in less than a week's time, it will disappear into darkness once again. Nature has begun her disappearing act, too -- the winds are already scattering leaves and other dried-up plant debris. Everyday something different in the garden completes its life cycle -- there are fewer tomatoes ripening now, the peppers are done, the cucumbers are done and gone, even bean production has come to a halt. I'm happy that it's time for some cozy autumn home-keeping projects though -- I even like fall cleaning -- way better than spring cleaning.

I could not bear to work anymore on that dyers coreopsis eco-printed wool for September's moondala. It was so busy, it made me dizzy. Even though I stitched on it for several hours before realizing it wasn't right, I decided to go ahead and switch it out with different piece of dyers coreopsis wool, but this time a solid. Things are moving along much better now.

Almost two quarts of elderberries were harvested and popped into the freezer, enough for a few batches of elderberry syrup. And I don't know how I could do such a thing, but I accidentally put a hank of Japanese indigo-dyed wool yarn into the washer and the dryer! Oh dear.

The smudge sampler basket is ready to work some magic, part of my fall house-cleaning/clearing maybe? xx

Monday, September 8, 2014



Today is a full moonday in Pisces. In that way that regular life often seems to emulate moon life if one notices -- we too are at a pinnacle of fullness and ripeness and beauty. Elder branches are laden with hundreds of tiny black berries and raspberries bow deep, so heavy their load -- they remind me of my own visions coming to fruition.

Like candlelight and moonlight, September daylight makes everyone and everything look more beautiful. The buddha garden and the goddess garden draw me in -- and remind me to see, really see, to create a sweet memory for later. The colors of flowers and chairs and cloth are more brilliant than ever. From the indigo vat, a white blouse has emerged the finest blue I can imagine. And a September moondala ritual begins with imprinted dyers coreopsis wool and a little onion skin moon.

Circling 'round, I'm taking it all in, as much as I can. I wish you the same with your season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

september things

I'm having a grape time around here. St. Theresa grapes always ripen earlier than Concords -- and I say it all the time, but they are the best homegrown grapes I've ever had and the juice (that I freeze) is so sweet we usually add water before drinking it. I look forward to the winter day when we thaw that first jar from St. Theresa. Today I picked and processed a little over one gallon of grapes and will probably be doing a batch a day for the next couple of days. A gallon of grapes doesn't really make all that much juice, unfortunately, but it's a pleasant pastime. You can see I've learned to cover the counter tops with towels for this project.

I've been wanting to sew but didn't have anything front and center going -- ended up with an older piece, one that stalled out, and immediately I knew what it needed. More circles, of course.

Going up on the wall -- the September calendar cloth from last year's drawing down the moon sewing ritual. Black and white, always easy on the eyes.

Today's waxing half-moon in Sagittarius helps lift self-imposed filters -- we can be more positive and better able to express ourselves . . . free and footloose.

I love September, it's sort of dreamy outside today. Every time I step out to do something, I feel myself being drawn to do nothing. Enchanted almost.

To a really nice week. xo