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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

a may cloth

The May cloth was started a year ago as part of my "bringing in the May" seasonal ritual. This year's ritual was a continuation of stitching, bringing in flowering branches and making chive blossom vinegar. 

Traditionally the branch of May is from a hawthorn tree but mine is honeysuckle because our hawthorn has already bloomed.

This honeysuckle bush is huge, gorgeous and fragrant. The leaves are blue-green and insects can't stay away from the light-pink flowers. The entire bush buzzes with happy bees and wasps and even flies. It has stood up to our erratic weather including snow and rain and wind. If I could choose what flavor air I wanted to breathe, it would be this. I've forgotten the variety but do know it was created and grown by Denver Botanic Gardens, different from other honeysuckles with brighter pink flowers and less fragrance.

The cold frame houses mostly things grown from seed and some I dug up from my gardens. There's well over a hundred plants in this little space but over half will be donated to a fundraiser sponsored by a gardening group I belong to.

The chives took a beating from the weather along with everything else in the garden. These scruffy flowers are presently infusing a jar of vinegar -- chive vinegar gives food a nice kick.

Our Korean lilac is in bloom -- always a few weeks later than common lilacs, it was still hit hard by snow. It's tough.

Flowers, crystals and a candle -- I'm good.

Not sure if this piece will be finished this May either but progress has been made. I collected all the green threads from my thread nest to stitch the words and sort of like the varying shades of green. I think some blossoms might fall from the tree and maybe even swirl around the moon. A branch of May we'll bring to you is a line from The Cambridge Song here.

And I hope the month of May will be a lovely time for you whether it be spring or autumn. xx

Thursday, April 27, 2017

a daisy and other kinds of flowers

I'm sewing flowers onto a torn and tattered earth flag as part of my mending the earth project. Since there is a lot of ground to cover here, anything goes.

That led to flower fairies. Pipe cleaners shaped into a basic body form are threaded with cloth flower petals and a wooden bead for a head. 

A waffle generously drizzled with elderberry syrup might be considered a medicinal food by some. Recipe here.

On the afternoon of the Dark Moon on Tuesday we said good-bye for now to our Daisy. Above was one of her favorite places in the garden...and she positioned herself on nearly this same spot to take her last breaths. Over about a month's time, she slowly made the transition from old age into the Great Beyond unassisted except for food and water and then just water and then nothing. Jan and I got to be with her. It was sad, it was holy, it was magic.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

a good drum

It's not an expensive drum but it is a good drum. Bought at the Spring Equinox Pow Wow a number of years ago, I believe it to be made by skilled and honest hard-working hands. If you think of the underside of a drum where you hold it as a glove, then this drum fits me like a glove. It has played a part in some powerful energy-raising circles and continues to hold up in a way that only a well-made drum can. I am now making a bag for it out of the big scrap of natural linen that it rests on and those narrow strips of cotton are also in the plan.

I simmered three ounces of fresh nettle leaves in six cups of water for one hour. Then I took the pot off the heat and let it sit for four hours. And ended the process by simmering it again for another hour. I stored the cooked greens and liquid in the refrigerator. This is a method learned from Herbalist Susun Weed -- I have never cooked greens so long before but she says this technique enables us to absorb more of the nutrients provided we drink the cooking liquid as well.

The nettle greens do not turn to mush in the pot as you might expect although they do melt in your mouth. Serve with salt and pepper, butter, Parmesan cheese, etc. I had a bowl of reheated nettles for breakfast three days in a row. So good.

I'm getting to know the Roman Goddess Juno through the book Moonology by Yasmin Boland. I'd always thought of Juno as a patron of the marriage commitment, the month of June being a traditional time to get married and all. But now I am expanding that notion into all types of commitments -- I hope to draw on Juno energy to help me honor the commitments I make with no whining, complaining, dread or escape routes in mind.

One grandmother hoya plant is in bloom right over the kitchen sink. She makes me so happy, sometimes it doesn't take much, does it?

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending to you. xx

Friday, March 24, 2017

stitching a good heart of green

Stitching and mending the earth flag continues with a good heart of green. And every now and then I get the urge to work in my art journal. 

Elderberry syrup was made using homegrown elderberries from the freezer. Here is how...simmer one cup fresh or frozen berries (or 1/2 cup dried) in two cups water until reduced by half; strain and cool; stir in three quarters cup of raw honey, store in refrigerator. You can add a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves to the simmering process, if desired. I use a big spoonful of the syrup in my hot water and lemon in the morning. It seems to help with my coffee withdrawal symptoms as well as my cold and cough symptoms. Since I was already miserable, I just went all in and quit the coffee too. 

The nettle patch is beginning to fill in. For this year's spring clean-up, I'm incorporating the permaculture method of chop & drop as much as possible to recycle nutrients and build better soil. A form of as-you-go sheet composting, you just chop up dried stems and stalks into small pieces, leave the dried leaves right where they are, and then cover it all with a generous layer of soil, compost or other mulch. 

Many times throughout the day, I go outside and stand as close to the beehive as I can to watch the bees just to make sure they're going to make it. Then I visit each little tree and shrub I planted last year just to make sure it'll make it. Saying grow, baby, grow. I will take care of you. 

Thanks for visiting and happy weekending to you. xx

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

stitching peace on earth

We recently hung a new Earth flag on our front porch but this web log is about the old one...the old flag went up a long time ago during one of the Iraq wars, I've actually forgotten if it was the first or the second. Since then it has weathered through I don't know how many wars, bombings, natural disasters, protests, and human-caused atrocities. I took it down a few times but sure as the sun rose each morning, along would come another event to make me feel helpless, and so back up it went. As you can imagine, the flag is faded and torn and I am mending it. 

First I created peace on Earth. Yes. Actually, I can. We all can. They say it begins with me though.

I am currently mending a long tear and next will be redoing the bottom hem so the sides don't hang wonky. I'm thinking about what other changes I'd like to see on Earth and might add them in the form of words or symbols. While chaos continues to stir up our planet, we each do what we can.

I am flower-gazing -- this orchid speaks of well-being in the face of imperfect conditions. This is her second stalk of blossoms in less than two years. I am drinking more decaffeinated Mexican coffee over ice and reading A Man Called Ove.

I am knitting myself into an alpha state. The sampler shawl grows line by line...those dropped yarn overs will lay nicely when blocked. The dogs love to sleep while I knit and I love to listen to their sleeping sounds while I knit so it all works out. 

I am hanging several strings of prayer flags. I am lighting candles as a reminder that we are all wondrous and amazing light beings here on Earth at this time for a reason. 

I am walking around our gardens over and over, dreaming and planning, making lists. I am visiting and feeding our bees who appear to be thriving. Buddha is a presence in the garden but there is also the Earth Goddess, St. Francis, White Tara and Mother Mary. And I love them all. 

In a state of openness, let's meet each other where we're at. And let's make us some peace on Earth. xx