Tuesday, October 30, 2012

full moonweb

A moonweb holds, supports, strengthens, extends, connects -- and inspires because I'm getting all kinds of stitching ideas from this.

This is the 12th of my 13-moon itty-canvas paintings.

If you would like to share your full moon art, I'd love to see and post it here. Leave a link in the comments or email me a file. xo

*Visit Kathy, the Woodland Quilter, to see and read about her hand-stitched Full Beaver Moon, a component for her moon quilt.

*Nanette at Stitch and Sow writes about the aspect of connection belonging to this Taurus moon. And see her lovely eco-dyed linens and cottons stitched into mooncloth.

Monday, October 29, 2012

family tree moonday

Yesterday we remembered our loved ones. We cooked old favorites, decorated skulls, took photos, made dry ice smoke, drank IZZEs and Icelandic beer, and watched football with the TV muted. And we had chocolate cake. I think even our visiting spirits had a nice time.

Today is a full moonday* in the sign of Taurus. This is a climactic time of fulfillment to recognize, name, and celebrate things that have come to fruition. Both a full moon and a new moon make the high tides higher and the low tides lower. Today a powerful storm on the U.S. eastern coast approaches, magnified by waters rising to meet the full moon. Being an inlander, I don't experience these powerful rhythms of the moon and the sea firsthand. I do, however, notice the full moon's influence on my sleep and in my body.

Taurus helps us to be strong and stable. I hope the people, flora and fauna affected by the storm have strength and stability.

*I'll be making full moon art tonight. If you'd like to join me in this monthly ritual, I'd love you to share your art by leaving a link in the comments in the next post or emailing me a file.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

boro more, dye more, snow more

I've mended the pajama pants a few times already. By now they fall into the category of boro, which means a mended and patched raggedy textile. Another area just gave way so I patched it with more cloth from Herm, a clothmate gone to the great beyond.

The rich brew in the dye-pot is from red maple leaves that dried up before I had a chance to make dye-bundles. I had hoped to experiment with Kathy's very successful method here but ended up with just one silk bundle using the dried leaves. It snowed a few inches last night with more on the way -- I don't know what happens to red leaves in the snow, but yellow ones seem to lose their color. I do hope I get another chance!

Every October we make an altar in memory of deceased loved ones for our Day of the Dead family gathering. The magnifying glass was my grandparents' whose photo is magnified (circa WWII).

Thanks for coming by and happy weekending ahead. xxx

Monday, October 22, 2012

half-moon soup

At first I thought it was a praying mantis -- but it was a green grasshopper at the bottom of a small pile of feathers. She is clinging to some feather fluff and her wings look and feel just like dried leaves. I loved finding her -- they say a green grasshopper in the house is a good omen, but I'm not sure about a dead one. That pomegranate was dried on the furnace for one year. Every year I dry at least one. It'll go into the winter potpourri jar now. 

Last night I made half-moon soup to recognize yesterday's waxing half moon. It's really just my regular miso soup but I cut the carrots, turnips, and onions into half moons. 

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of airy Aquarius. Aspects of Aquarius are community, the greater good, social issues, networking, making improvements, inventions, and friendly conversations. We are drawn out of our shells, so to speak. I think great things can and do happen under the influence of Aquarius.

Aquarius affects the calves and ankles -- walking is a great way to get the circulation going, but the balance to that is to put our feet up now and then, too. The legs symbolize moving forward or feeling stuck. I still sometimes refer to the 1982 classic, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, which correlates all the body parts with their energetic meaning. I just got it off its dusty basement shelf and looked up lower legs. It's the only body part that I have *starred* -- between my children and myself, we must've had a lot of aching legs around here.

Miso Soup: In a little olive oil, saute a small turnip, a medium onion, and 2 carrots, sliced however you wish. Add 2 1/2 cups water and 2 vegetable bouillon cubes and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add 2 cups chopped greens (napa cabbage, bok choy, spinach, etc.) and remove from heat. Take out 1/2 cup of the broth and mix in a tablespoon of miso. Add this mixture back to the pot and you are done. Never boil miso. I always double this recipe but only use 3 vegetable bouillon cubes. This is good for clearing out residual radiation and medicines from the body, always beneficial for anyone in recovery.

Here's to looking forward to the next step.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

out of two dye-pots: bindweed

Many bindweed vines, Convulvulus arvensis, were gathered to make a big batch of dye-bath (the same way as last summer, except I used a stainless-steel pot instead of aluminum for the first step of simmering). The strained dye-bath was then divided between two other pots -- one rusty iron, one stainless steel. I immersed identical fibers -- silks, wool, cotton (pre-mordanted in soy milk) and linen -- put the lids on the pots and waited two months. 

Dark and light. The dark reminds me of a thunderstorm. The cotton dinner napkin in the top left portends a whole set, so as to make use of all our stained white napkins. I'm thinking -- would white dinner napkin qualify as an oxymoron?

Next summer is looking very hopeful for the bindweed deva around here, I may even water her.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending.  xo

color alert: Well, things changed. The iron pot cloths were that amazing color of blueish slate for approximately a day and a half, even after drying. And now have faded to the point that there is barely a trace of a thunderstorm left. So sad. But still quite lovely -- the markings, the rusting, and some color remains -- the dinner napkin project goes on. I'll post a photo soon. I'm wondering if I should have done something differently? The golds from the stainless steel pot are strong, maybe even stronger.

Monday, October 15, 2012

eye wish moonday

Sewing ritual -- an eye wish on the green hand cloth. 

Today is a new moonday in the sign of Libra, time for new beginnings, forming intentions, and making plans for the future. Sometimes beginnings are slow-going and intentions and wishes can energize those desires and hopes for new things.

The sign that a new moon occurs in affects that entire moon cycle, even as the moon moves through the influence of other zodiac signs every few days. Being Libra is a semi-fruitful air sign, this moon cycle will be good for socializing, teamwork, and most activities that involve a number of people. We're also energized and drawn toward art, color and decorating. The airiness of Libra can affect our decision-making, however -- my least favorite part of Libra time because I already struggle in that area.

Libra affects our ability to balance (on all levels) and the lower back including hips, bladder and kidneys. I think whether or not problems flare up during this time is mostly affected by common sense and taking simple measures like staying hydrated and not lifting heavy items.

Wishing you a beautiful new week with easy decisions. Back to my stitching now -- eye wish, eye change.....heal, decide, sew, see.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

stitching and dyeing

It felt good to be stitching again after some time off during which I mysteriously picked up some knitting needles to bring one neglected sweater a little closer to completion. My eyes need a rest now though.

These are the amaranth and lemon verbena dye bundles after steaming a few times (separately) -- see how the red amaranth stalk has lost all its color? The lemon verbena looks promising, too. I'll find a place for these to weather outside for a month or so before unrolling them.

The cloth pieces in both bindweed dye-pots look much different from last year's. These are coming out this weekend and the dogs can't wait, they love the smell.

Thanks for coming by and happy weekending. xo

Monday, October 8, 2012

half-moon onion honey

This morning I made half-moon onion honey. Mostly medicinal for colds and cough, it is useful in the kitchen as well. Onions from the garden were cut into half moons, drizzled first with a tiny bit of honey from our bee colony, then topped with purchased local honey and capped. I'll leave it on the counter for two days to infuse and then will store it in the refrigerator. The honey can be taken by the teaspoon for respiratory symptoms or added to tea -- and the onions can be eaten or used in recipes. But never give any kind of honey (or even use it as an ingredient) to a baby under the age of one year. 

Today is a half moonday in the watery sign of Cancer. A fertile time for gardening but also a fertile inner time -- we grow more sensitive, more nurturing, and maybe more emotional. I find it's easier to cry now. Everything seems "more".

The sign of Cancer affects the breasts, lungs, stomach, liver, and gallbladder. That means steps for strengthening and healing those areas may be enhanced -- while old issues might flare up. Planetary energies affect our bodies beginning with the head under Aries and ending with the feet under Pisces -- so I try to remember that this, too, shall pass.

I am rooted but I flow by Virginia Woolf pretty much says it all for me -- I wish you both roots and flow this week.

Friday, October 5, 2012

outside in

Yesterday I brought in some of summer -- chocolate mint braided into a bracelet -- lemon verbena leaves drying and dyeing -- a red amaranth dye bundle wrapped around its own stalk.

Did you ever see a squirrel bone? I heard a loud chewing noise, thought the squirrel was gnawing on a branch and was so amazed at how loud it was. Then I saw this -- one of the dogs' marrow bones mounted on a picket. Clever squirrel.

We had our first snowfall during the night -- webs and flowers and leaves adorned. Each and every morning glory bloom is open with a pompom in its middle, I wonder how that happened.

Thanks for visiting here and happy weekending. xx

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

basil oil/calendula oil

Basil oil was made. It is so good I can't even believe it. We had it last night as a dipping oil for some stale-ish sourdough bread and this chicken/butternut squash stew. I poured some of the basil oil right into my stew, too, it's that good. It would be a nice base for other herbs to make different kinds of dipping oils but I like it plain basil like this. We don't eat much bread but with these in the freezer, that might have to change.

Calendula oil was made. Just a little bit, enough for a batch of healing skin salve. I always leave just-picked calendula flowers outside in a basket for a day or so to give the little bugs time to leave -- and they usually do. This also dries out some of the moisture from the petals, good to do when making any fresh plant oil. Then I filled the little jar with the flowers and again with olive oil, and capped/labeled it. After 4-6 weeks, it'll be strained and ready for its next life as a salve or creme. In case you do this, fresh plant infusions should be kept in a dark, cool place on a plate in case they ooze.

This morning I sat at the sewing table and couldn't do anything but play with thread. I'm thinking I just need to take care of the garden now.

Basil Oil

Pick 5 cups of basil tops and leaves. You can wash and dry them (thoroughly) but I didn't. Put 2 1/2 cups olive oil in a pan over low heat. Add the basil and simmer about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Allow to cool and then pour everything into a blender or food processor -- whirl for about a minute. Refrigerate for 2 days. Bring to room temperature and strain into small containers for freezing. Can be used as a marinade, dressing, dipping oil, etc.

Also posted at Food Renegade.