Wednesday, November 1, 2017

letters to the otherworld

Every October my family gets together for our version of the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition. We craft, play outside, watch football and snack in the afternoon. As darkness sets in, the altar candles are lit, smoke is made in the cauldron, we have dinner and we remember our loved ones. And there is always at least one new photo on the altar of a loved one who passed over in the last year. 


I feel very strongly that these last weeks of autumn are a time for connection between the worlds. I woke up this morning thinking that as my outer world looks bleak and barren with a sense of withdrawal, that my inner world was actually stretching and energized. That I was ready to reach through any veil of separation between the visible and the invisible worlds.

And just like that, I knew that I would write letters today and that this practice would be a new tradition for me to look forward to every Samhain (All Saints' Day/All Souls' Day) from now on. I wrote three letters my little boy who passed at age seven, to my mother and to my dad. As I wrote, I held something that I knew they had touched -- to my heart and to my lips. 

I wrote what I loved most about them. I said I was sorry for certain situations. I asked them to help me know and feel more than I know and feel now. Then I filled all the candle holders with new tealights and set the altar ablaze. 

I stood watch.  

I may have done some knitting. 

And taken a short walk around the garden.

There are more letters to be written over the next several weeks. It appears that I have quite a long mailing list.



Thursday, October 5, 2017

happy tears onions

I've been stitching a little sunrise/sunset cloth -- the sun is berry-dyed silk, the river is Japanese indigo-dyed silk, the pink sky is a cotton square cut from one of my baby dresses...from when I was a baby. The mountains are calendar cloth. I don't feel like it's done yet but I'm taking a break. Funny how we can spend hours and hours on such tiny little things.

I got this wreath from Target because I thought it would match the curtains in the living room. And it does.

A year of brewing is long enough, don't you think? I think it was prettier in the jar than out of the jar.

The middle plant in the largest pot is a henna plant. It has grown so well and is about three or four feet tall. It will overwinter inside, hopefully I can keep it alive. The top right plant is patchouli and the bottom left is curry. There's also one small carob tree and a spicy scented geranium in the mix.

Here is the goji berry bush for which I still need to find a permanent home before winter. I find that fresh goji berries are not very tasty although the birds like them -- they are much better dried.

This is a deep sea flower dice bag on which mistakes were made but I'm not going to tink it.

Lots of onions overwintered from 2016's garden producing big, beautiful flower heads this past summer and some decent size onions as well. 

I read that at one time in ancient Lemuria, onions made people cry tears of joy, that there was no need to be sad for the world. As civilization evolved, onions took on a different purpose, that of helping people to cry out the sadness that blocked joy -- and in turn their hearts would soften and they could experience greater clarity. I know how good it feels to experience tears of joy but don't think it's ever happened from peeling onions. Maybe I can change that.

I labeled the seeds Happy Tears Onion.

She's going to get a new outfit soon, probably a skirt and maybe a few accessories.

An October moon cloth that I stitched a few years ago as part of a moon & stitch ritual. 

Tonight Talula and I will go out for our nightly stroll, first the front yard, then the back. We'll see the full moon, listen for night sounds and make absolutely sure there are no rabbits around. Then we'll come inside to hang the moon cloth and light a candle. And I'll wish for times of joy. 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

knitting and dyeing

Butterflies were everywhere today, it was so cool. You sort of can't feel too bad about anything when there are dozens of butterflies fluttering around you. On flowers, in the grass, everywhere, some even brushed ever so lightly by my hair.

I am knitting more lately and if I'm not knitting I'm thinking about knitting...a little bag being worked with five needles...and more hexipuffs worked with three needles to someday be assembled into the beekeeper quilt. I feel like I've gently slipped into a groove where knitting comes easy so I'm going to ride it out as long as it lasts.

The Japanese indigo has been maturing for some time and I knew I couldn't delay much longer before the leaves would be unusable. It was perfect timing, the leaves were not only supple and abundant, their color held strong as well. I tried some simple shibori techniques that came out a little wonky but was a glorious day and I am so happy with the outcome. I just wish I had been better prepared with a few skeins of naked yarn to dye.

I love these darker days with cooler nights and getting to wear a sweater again. I am rearranging tabletops all over the house with stones and candles and seed pods and acorns and whatever else I find. The other day when I was out walking Talula, a man in the neighborhood gave me a plastic grocery bagful of acorns he'd just picked off his lawn. I'd never seen so many acorns from one oak tree, it must have been the perfect year for them, unusual for here.

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending. I will either be knitting or thinking about it.


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

a cornucopia

Starting with the new moon in Leo on August 21st, I began a focus on abundance with the Roman goddess Abundantia. At first I didn't feel any connection with Abundantia whatsoever but after learning that her symbol was the cornucopia, I was all in. I love cornucopias, I have no idea why but I do. After I dug mine out of storage, I created an abundance altar. I began filling the cornucopia with reminders of abundance -- small (in size) gifts from friends, pieces of paper I'd written on and folded little, a flower from the garden and so on. Each day I add something and by the time of the full moon, this cornucopia will be overflowing. Abundantia, in case you're wondering, has a more well-known counterpart -- the Greek goddess Gaia.

I love that the light has changed enough that I feel like lighting candles during the day again. 

My newest garden ritual: Every morning there are dozens more dyer's coreopsis flowers to be picked and dried for making future dye. My little granddaughter helped me one morning, we both loved that, I hope she remembers doing it.

Our first morning glory blossom floating in the middle of the air.

Various stages of drying...maiden, mother, crone.

I finished knitting and blocking the Stitch Sampler Shawl. It's a generous size, about 17"x62" and was wonderful fun to knit. I almost want to start another one.

I'm intentionally slowing down at this, the busiest time of year. There is something about just going along, doing my thing. Not thinking about how time flies or whether there's enough time to do it all.

I want to hold onto this feeling. Thanks for visiting here. xx 

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