Wednesday, August 9, 2017

more than expected

And there is more Dyer's coreopsis for drying and dyeing. Everyday there is more, this plant blooms her heart out.

It started with needing a cloth for my little altar table, something that would reflect this month of August with all its vibrant colors -- too soon to go into the dark.

A pre-cut stack of cotton squares was put to good use. A spontaneous project from the start, I didn't want to overthink it or be too precise. 

Our Talula on her spot outside the back door gnawing down a rib bone for both calcium and cleaning her teeth. It was meaty when she started.

The result of the bindweed dye I made with homegrown bindweed vines (ha)...a soft gold on silk and cotton, darker on wool. 

Flowers were picked during a drizzle. Once I had the cloth ironed I couldn't wait for a vase of flowers. 

The patchwork isn't backed and bound yet, I couldn't wait for that either. I'll do that in September with some kantha stitching as well.

The onion blossoms are setting seed, more than anyone could ever want. I'll save a bit but hope for some to self-seed which might be a long shot. There were at least three ladybugs nestled inside this one blossom.

I have been posting on Instagram regularly lately. There is a link on the sidebar if you are interested -- you don't need to use a smart phone to view photos on Instagram.

The garden in August is lush and productive, always offering so much more than I think it will. One year before a harvest ritual, my friends and I left written prayers of gratitude here and there in the garden...pinned to tomato cages, attached to plants or placed on the ground and held down with stones or candles. The next day I collected all the papers with the beautiful prayers, some were written from the heart, some were poems or short essays. I want to do this again on my own. I feel deep gratitude for this life, this place where I have landed.

August does that to a person. xo

Thursday, July 27, 2017

dyed and dried

Late July. Early August. Something comes over me this time of year and I have a hard time putting that something into words but I want to try. It's the thickness of the air and how it looks and feels green to me now. It's about the pace and intensity of insect sounds and bird songs and kids playing outside at dusk. It's the way my bare feet seem to spring roots that sink into the ground with each step, how I am drawn to lie down on the grass to be pulled oh so close to the mother. And for some reason, I just seem to quit caring about all the things I thought needed doing. Instead, I wander.

The dye and mordant pots have been in use. With a mixture of fibers, the gray results are from red basil aerial parts and the golds/rusts are from dyer's coreopsis aerial parts, with a pup to match. My favorite pieces are the two doilies. This growing season one small bed in the Buddha garden was dedicated to just dye plants and it's done so well. Soon the Japanese indigo will be ready, maybe using some simple shibori.

I stitched a likeness of a tarot card from The Herbal Tarot and decided to pin-storm (pinning up a storm) it to the black linen journal cover as a sort of preview. I like it -- and can use the journal to record tarot/oracle cards and layouts and aha moments that I always think I'll remember forever but never do. The misty star patch is from Spirit Cloth's ThreadCrumbs Shop and the moon was cut from my handwritten Rumi cloth.

The first green pepper from plants grown from seed was eaten. A bowl of bindweed blossoms was picked to dry and burn and a big pot of bindweed vines is on the stove right now making dye.

That's about it. Thanks for visiting and happy weekending.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

woman drummer

Today is the full moon, a time to acknowledge and maybe even celebrate what has come to fruition, my scrap-linen drum case being one such thing. 

The three moon squares are hand-dyed bits of cotton and I only used threads from the thread nest for all the handwork. It was French-seamed together on the sewing machine -- the tie is an odd length of plant-dyed silk. 

I love working with linen, it looks and feels beautiful no matter what you do to it. I have a good amount of plant-dyed cloth to use in projects, this is hopefully just the beginning.

Our sweet grass grows in one big clay pot in order to contain it. I want to make up a jar of sweet grass oil with this first cutting -- I read that it should dry for a few days and then infuse the oil for six months. It exudes a heavenly fragrance as it dries and when it burns, so I have high hopes for what it does in oil.

The almost 2-year-old and I followed a huge butterfly as it flitted all around the Buddha garden feeding on larkspur blossoms. A Western Tiger Swallowtail. Huge.

Things I'm noticing...the woad has gone to seed, a section of snow pea vines is kaput and the crickets started up on July 4. Belladonna plants are blooming and forming berries. Our nights are cool, random leaves on trees have turned yellow and red. I think there's a touch of early autumn in the air, the seasons are blurring together again. xx

Friday, June 30, 2017

right outside the door

I found perfection right outside the door the other morning -- rigor mortis had already set in so she'll join some fluff and pods and such in my little curio cabinet. Even if I could open her wings, I don't think I could mount her onto a piece of paper. That would just be wrong, to pin down someone's wings.

This is part of a small grove of bluish-white clary sage, Salvia sclarea, in our front moon garden. I adore this variety -- stocky with huge flower stalks, it glows on cloudy days and shimmers at night.

A bundle of the bluish-white clary sage was hung to dry. Do you notice that plant catalogs often refer to the color purple as blue?

Almost done stitching the last eco-dyed moon square on the linen drum case, but there is one more thing I want to add before hemming the edges and calling it done.

Elder flowers and more elder flowers. One of those white hollyhock flowers held a sleeping Japanese beetle. I let her sleep even though I knew she would go straight to the grape vines to devour at least three leaves immediately upon awakening.

Elder flower liqueur was begun.

I filled a quart jar to just below the shoulder with the flowers and filled it again with 100 proof vodka. After a few weeks I'll strain out the flowers and add other ingredients, maybe a sugar syrup or some honey, depending on the taste.

Lemon balm water infused under a full moon followed by a full day of sun...I make this pretty often, even when the moon isn't full.

I love seeing flower heads on some of last summer's onions that I missed. The flowers are delicious mashed into butter but the bees like them too so not sure about cutting them. I read that you should cut the flowers off and harvest the onions immediately as they will start to rot if left in the ground. But harvesting and using every single thing in the garden isn't really the point for me -- if I use just a little bit of something once or even take time to notice and appreciate a plant, then our connection feels complete.

St. Joan's wort, Hypericum perforatum, flowers started blooming right in time for Summer Solstice. At solar noon a friend and I sat before her holiness and made flower oils. One of the plant's most common uses is to soothe burns and other skin afflictions. By the way, I learned to call this plant St. Joan's wort instead of St. John's wort from Herbalist Susun Weed who says St. Joan knows more about burns than St. John. I agree.

Garden love. Right outside the door. Connecting to the natural world just always brings out the best in us. Where else would you ever find, and leave be, one beautiful little Japanese beetle, all covered in pollen, asleep inside one perfect hollyhock blossom?

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. xx

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

herb bundles & band-aids

This is how June looks for me. I use something from the garden everyday, you never know what will happen out there. One day is cutting a swath of arugula before it bolts, the next is making tiny herbal smudge-type bundles to dry and burn on Summer Solstice and other holy-days. These are eucalyptus leaves, lavender stalks and roses but potential combinations are endless. Like mini smudge sticks, the bundles can be made according to healing qualities, fragrance, color and more. You could drop one in a cup of hot water for tea like this. Or in a little vodka for tincture. Endless.

One day I cut my finger knuckle to the bone so applied a comfrey leaf spit poultice followed up by simple comfrey leaf band-aids for protection -- it healed amazingly fast. A piece of a cabbage leaf would have also worked.

I pick a few roses daily for drying to make rose syrup or to infuse in body oil. Nettles are collected regularly -- simmered in a big pot to keep on hand in the refrigerator or blanched and ground with oil, garlic and toasted pecans for pesto. Consider eating pesto as eating your greens. And a lot can be done with a pesto plus it can be frozen. My new thing is stuffing raw mushrooms with it.

There's been more playing the drum than stitching on the drum case. The dog doesn't mind and I love drumming, even by myself.

We have a full moon rising this Friday -- I hope to wrap up more herbal bundles and write my gratitude list during the day...that night I'll set out a jar filled with lemon balm leaves and water to be infused by the full moon and other cosmic energies. I like leaving this water out the following day as well to be infused by the sun, after which I strain it. Lemon balm water helps us to be centered in the midst of chaos, also helps meditation. xx

Good Nettle Pesto
Simmer a half-pound of nettle leaves and tender leaf tops in a large pot of salted water for a few minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle, put them in a towel to squeeze out all the water. In a food processor, grind up a few cloves of garlic with 1/2 toasted pecans and 1/2 t. salt and some ground black pepper. Add the nettles and 1 T. fresh lemon juice. Add 1 c. olive oil, keep going until you're satisfied with the texture. Stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.  Based on a pasta recipe by Jess Thomson.

Friday, May 26, 2017

may days

It is small but mighty...I love imagine peace so much. Pinned onto a small bag for now, it is one of the exquisite peace offerings created by Liz (I'm Going to Texas is her blog name) as part of a personal outreach practice...completely dyed and stitched by hand. I am honored to have it and know it was successfully imbued with the intention of peace because I can feel it when I hold it to my heart. Thank you, Liz. (Details on mine here.) 

A linen drum case is taking shape at last. The moons are made with home-dyed cotton and the bag itself is a large scrap of natural linen. The drum beater is rolled up in a vintage dresser scarf. The top of the bag will either be a drawstring or just bunched up and wrapped with a strip of cloth. I tinkered around with this quite a bit but in the end simple is best.

Slips of coleus and passion flower vine rooting in a glass of water...looks like a branch of May will be carried over into 2018 as it has lost top billing in the sewing room. 

The chive blossom vinegar from early May was strained, decanted and labeled. I looked up shades of pink online and found congo pink matched perfectly.

This is the strongest color I've seen in any of my chive flower vinegars. Maybe it was the weather.

Chive blossom mashed into softened butter, rolled and sliced. Good.

An easy before and after. Before.

After. Enjoyed it immensely, ironing's not so bad anymore. Liked the quiet-slow-and-steady of it all.

This last month of spring has been wild here in Denver, Colorado. There have been several nights below freezing with snowfall (3-12" depending on which storm) and one record-breaking hail storm. On the other hand, the random 70+ degree days we're having now are glorious and it is very green outside. 

Thank you, friends, for visiting and happy weekending. And imagine peace. xx

I want this: 
May the beauty of your life become more visible to you, that you may glimpse your wild divinity. 
                                                                                   Excerpt from A Blessing for Beauty by John O'Donohue