Thursday, August 29, 2013



Sage trimmings became a wreath. The orache needed cutting back, too, so there I went again. If I don't get things in check very soon, everything will be coming up orache in the spring. The wreath-making led to rolling up a small orache/silk dye bundle, just playing around.

This time of year is dear. All the many things I hoped to do this summer are rushing at me. I'm making lists and even prioritizing, and toward the top is dyeing with the indigo plants growing in my garden. From reading about dyeing with fresh indigo leaves, I've learned it's a process that should be done all on one day -- from harvesting the leaves to the final dip. The cottons are soaking in soy milk and the silks are ready to go. If I can find the other necessary ingredient, the one that turns the dye-bath from blue to yellow (I forget what it's called), I'll be in business.

I'm starting to look at flying dreams again, a magic cloth piece I started a few years ago. I think I may be going back to this again soon, it sort of feels like it's time.

We're starting to see glimmers of golden light here now -- I'm almost ready to let go of green and surrender to gold! Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xo

Monday, August 26, 2013

a little moonday help

I'm stitching on the little August moon cloth whenever I have a few minutes. This is the ninth in a series of thirteen moon cloths for my monthly full moon art ritual -- each moon cloth has a calendar-cloth component and a house-with-an-eye component. I haven't gotten bored with making them yet and still think each one is the sweetest of all. Like having babies.

When I saw the cover of that 1970's herbal at an herb fair last weekend, it had to come home with me. A reading break was called for earlier today.

The Ikea Raskog trolley in the sewing room was a gift -- I've only filled the top section and there are two more to go! The platter was a gift, too, I'm noticing through the camera that I've attracted quite a bit of the color turquoise into my life. I do love it.

The garden photo shows how purslane stretches out over all the pathways in the Buddha garden. This is a good thing. It keeps people and dogs from getting muddy feet, it's nice under bare feet, and it's free. We've been doing this for quite a few years now. The purslane doesn't get out-of-hand and if it ever does, we'll just have to eat more of it -- it's very nutritious.

Today is a waning moonday in the sign of Taurus. Waning moon energy helps us to let go, finish up, declutter, discard, and clean out. If you've ever noticed that sometimes you don't feel like doing these kinds of tasks and other times you do, maybe it's been partly due to the phase of the moon. I find myself more and more planning my days with a moon calendar nearby.

To useful and enjoyable work, with a little help from the moon!

Friday, August 23, 2013

august is green

The air becomes green to me every August, something that I first noticed about 20 years ago, it's like a veil of green descends upon us. It turns to a golden hue sometime in September, and into October. After that I'm not sure there is a color at all. Maybe it becomes perfectly clear once Nature winds down for a rest.

I knew the August full moon cloth would have to be green and chose batiks because of their flow, no sharp edges or crisp borders here. That's how the garden is now, everything sprawling all over on top of each other, no lines of demarcation in sight. The house is sort of like that, too, actually.

But I didn't have green in mind when I impulsively bought yarn to crochet with. I smiled when I got home and realized that I chose green. Of course. The purple lady sweater is coming along, but it requires my full attention and I just wanted something easy. I'm following the directions on this video, in case you're looking for an easy project, too.

The green beans were picked over a few days to get the one pound needed to make a full batch of dilly bean salad. I love this salad. It's a pound of slender green beans steamed 5-10 minutes until barely tender, 5 scallions sliced, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. If you like green beans and dill, you will like this. I sprinkle more vinegar on as I eat it, too. I used a bee's wrap to cover and keep it fresh for two days, works great.

About the video -- an interview with author Jo Robinson about her new book Eating on the Wild which I've already begun reading. It's not a book about eating wild foods, it's about eating the healthiest foods, foods closest to their original form nutritionally speaking. Sadly, we have basically bred the nutrients out of our food for the sake of appearance and convenience. She points out varieties of vegetables, fruits, corn, and legumes that have the highest levels of nutrients, and also explains methods of preparation to retain or increase those nutrients. Amazing stuff. Bottom line is she is able to translate scientific research into useful, interesting information for us all.

And thanks for coming by and happy weekending! In the green. xx

Monday, August 19, 2013

standing still moonday

I've been nesting. I finished the pillow. I knit 2 rows on the purple lady sweater. I made envelopes out of old moon phase calendar cards. I drank some wine, but not these gifts from California wine country because I wanted to take a picture of them before we opened any. I didn't weigh myself in case you're thinking along those lines -- the standing still on the penny scale caught my eye.

Today is a nearly full moonday in the sign of Aquarius. The Aquarius impulse is that of "reformer" -- urging us to make improvements of all types. Other Aquarius qualities, enthusiasm and imagination, help us as we go about making those changes. We operate more from an intellectual standpoint than an emotional one now, too.

I like the idea of making little changes around the house and in the garden. Tweaking. Happy August full moon tomorrow and happy tweaking if you are so inclined!

Friday, August 16, 2013

cabbage & cloth

I'm back to the nine-patch. Hand-sewing little squares together Spirit Cloth-style. The pillow encased in plain creamy hopsacking, though beautiful in its simplicity, is just too much of a blank slate and these nine-patches are going to rectify the situation. 

That's a pointed-head cabbage in my harvest basket. I'm really liking this variety because it doesn't take up much space in the garden, never got little green worms, and produces nice, solid heads of cabbage. This one weighs just over 2 lbs. Of course, the real test is taste and I haven't tasted it yet! And I'm leaving the plants in the ground to see if they make little side-shoot pointy-heads like regular cabbage does.

Bean salad was made with a can of black beans and fresh, raw corn and other ingredients. The use-by-date on the can of beans was March of 2013 so it was time. When I tasted this salad, I wondered why we even bother to cook corn anymore, with corn being so sweet and tender these days. Have you had orange cauliflower yet? Here I used it as a pasta substitute under a hearty cheesy meat sauce. The last few days have been on the cool side so I didn't mind turning the oven on.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending to you. I'll be in the sewing room stitching and listening to NPR radio during the day and doing some moonwatching at night. Even though the full moon isn't until Tuesday, I can already feel her pull. xx

Monday, August 12, 2013

moonday moon charm

Stone charms -- the carnelian sun charm on the left and a new one on the right. The new charm is made from eco-dyed silk and silk organza circles, then stitched and filled with anchi crystals, with nine knots in the total piece to hold the intention. My intention while making this moon charm was to help increase self-love and self-kindness, a difficult thing for most of us. If you aren't familiar with anchi crystals, you can read about them here. I'm not selling them or anything, just feel drawn to learn more about them because they're new to me.

Aren't the orache seeds gorgeous? Orache, Atriplex hortensis, thrives and reseeds itself every year in my garden. It's mostly left alone even though it's so tall and spindly, around 6', that it flops over and blocks the path to the bees -- simply because of its colors -- red leaves early on that turn to green, then gold, with these rosy/golden seeds in the fall. Plus the edible leaves can be cooked like spinach. Our black & blue salvia, Salvia guaranitica, is stunning, the photo does not do it justice, believe me. But what a name.

I found a long-forgotten unstrained rose hip honey infusion in the cupboard -- pretty happy about finding it because it's delicious -- the rose hip flavor really comes through, both sweet and slightly tart. This is a dessert honey if ever there was such a thing. I no longer have that Eglantine Rosebush and I'm sort of questioning my decision to take it out now.

Today is a waxing moonday in the sign of watery Scorpio. Relationships and emotions rise to the surface now. We also have a strong sense of inner knowing, are more sensitive, and mental acuity sharpens -- perhaps this is a good time to stand up for something or someone you believe in. Scorpio affects the sexual organs and urinary tract -- that means what we do to heal those parts may be more beneficial and whatever stresses those parts may cause an even heavier burden.

To a beautiful week ahead -- listening to our intuition, nurturing ourselves.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

an eye on july

My full moon art goal is to finish each month's calendar moon cloth before the following new moon. It was an easy feat this time -- July's full moon art, eighth in a series of 13-moons, was pretty much about surrender and is made of various whites, including a piece of Rumi cloth plus three little pearls stitched on for the line in the poem seawater begs the pearl to break its shell. (Some Kiss We Want by Rumi) That lacy house section is cut from a Nancy gift and the hand-stitched eye theme on all the moon cloth houses was inspired by the cover of Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.

Today is the New Moon in the sign of Leo. I've already drawn a tarot card and an oracle card for guidance in the coming month and later today I'll think about Leo new-moon intentions.  So often, the cards I draw relate to each other or to future experiences and I love the synchronicity of it all. Doing this is a monthly ritual for me from which I've learned so much.

I like to use common dooryard weeds for food and medicine. What we normally call weeds are often healing and deeply-nourishing plants -- I believe they fill receptors in our cells and satisfy us in ways that no other food can. A few biennial burdocks, Arctium lappa, are welcome here their second year of growth until they begin to set seed and their burrs become a nuisance for the dogs, expecially our long-haired Daisy. When the burrs (seed pods) begin to dry out, I cut down the entire plant -- the flower/seed stalks are discarded and the huge leaves are put directly on the ground as a nice mulch. These are first-year plants in the photo, whose roots can be dug up and used in recipes or medicinal preparations this fall. They could also be harvested next spring but after that, not much point as the roots start drying up. I'm too busy in the spring anyway, so my preference is to harvest them in the fall. A new crop of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, grows in a shady spot, the leaves look nice and healthy -- perfect for a batch of Dandelion Italiano or maybe just chopped up and added to a homemade salad dressing made from olive oil, apple cider vinegar and honey. 

Do you cook with weeds? I'm always on the lookout for new recipes! 

And may the Leo moon shine bright and strong for you this month.

Friday, August 2, 2013

kale chips, anyone?

Even if I didn't know the date, I'd know it was Lammas because every year around this time the color of the air changes. To my eye, it becomes slightly darker with a greenish cast. Lammas, also known as Lughnasadh, marks a shift in energy, from a growth phase into fruition and harvest. The first Thanksgiving really, it is a time of gratitude and celebration for the early harvest -- not only fruits and crops, but also accomplishments, goals met, and other things manifesting in our lives.

I made kale chips a few years ago when they first became the thing, but boy have kale chips ever come a long way since then. Toppings and everything. These are good. I used the convection bake setting on my oven at 150 degrees, so as to not have to drag out the food dehydrator, other than that I followed the recipe.

Lammas is a traditional berry-picking day but a few raspberries are about it for berry picking in our garden today. A strange year for the raspberries, we hope that the fall crop will be better.

Time to get out all my baskets to dry flowers and leaves and roots. Woven baskets allow good air flow and can be hung or stacked. The lowly common marigold, Tagetes sp., is my new best friend because it deters bindweed. Marigolds will have free rein in our gardens from now on. And I used to not like them, can you believe it?

This video records a magical Lughnasadh gathering, if you're so inclined. Happy Harvest! xx