Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice, Merry Yule!

From A Celtic Devotional by Caitlin Matthews:

Greeting to the Winter Solstice
Brightener of Darkness, hail!
Keeper of Clearness, Opener of the Depths.
Gifts of plenty are arising,
Winter wonders, white snows fall.
Joyful be the heart within us,
Open wide the guesting door,
Wisdom waken in abundance,
Warm our beings to the core.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lady's Mantle Emerging

Lady's mantle. Alchemilla vulgaris. It's said the dew collected from lady's mantle leaves have magical properties and was used by medieval alchemists in their attempts to turn lead into gold. Not one to pass up an opportunity to anoint myself with magic, I always dab a bit of the dew on my face while in the garden.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Flowers

While in the garden yesterday, I remarked to my 5-year-old grandson, "Look, the coltsfoot is in bloom." He stopped, looked down and said, "Granny, they look a lot like dandi-flowers." It's true. And many adults assume the yellow blossoms along the side of the road at this time of year are dandelions. Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara, is one of the earliest blooming wildflowers/herbs in the Northeast. Also known as "Father-Before-the-Son" because the flowers appear before the leaves, coltsfoot brings welcome color in early spring. Coltsfoot is used as a cough remedy by herbalists.

Also blooming are sweet violets. "Regular" garden violets will bloom a little later, but the sweet violets always appear first. Pushing up through the earth, garnering our attention, were angelica, catnip, butterbur, squirrel corn, motherwort, nettles, pulsatilla, chickweed and chives. The first of the peepers were singing. The ground is still sodden and there is standing water in many places after the huge rains. Some snow remains in shadowy places. But, spring is springing!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow, snow, snow

Monday was a lovely day. It finally was above freezing and the sun actually shone in the morning. We based at 38 degrees. It started snowing on Tuesday. By Wednesday, we had nearly 2 feet of snow (on top of what was already on the ground). A new storm came through Thursday - although we couldn't tell the difference between storm 1 and storm 2. By Friday morning, we had 5 feet of snow. Heavy, wet snow! And it is still snowing. They say another foot by tomorrow morning.

Remember, my poor husband had that terrible accident with the table saw and lost part of two fingers and mangled a third finger badly. He is unable to use his left hand for now. Besides, the snow is so moisture-laden and heavy, a snowblower wouldn't go through. So, out came the Kubota, which he can operate with right hand only. Then, my son, Zach, (Thanks Kid!!) used the snowblower to get the close up work. You can see the blueness in snow, which is indicative of the moisture.
This is the back of the house. I had to walk up the road a bit to get this shot. We have a standing seam steel roof that's just 1 1/2 years old. Thank goodness. The snow slides off and the weight doesn't build up on the roof. Here you can see how the snow has slid off and it has snowed so much, that our kitchen windows are completely covered. The snow can't slide any more.

Here's what our driveway looked like this morning. Those are 7 foot banks. You can see the bump on the left and the bump on the right, our vehicles.

There is a serene beauty about winter and snow. It's majestic and awe-inspiring - as long as you don't have to drive in it. And the quiet that settles over the land after a fresh snowfall is magical. But, I am sorta Jonesing for spring and something green!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Adventure in Crazy Quilting

Do you crazy quilt? Do you enjoy stitching with silks, velvets and beads? You MUST come to An Adventure in Crazy Quilting in Glastonbury, CT in April of next year. I will be teaching, along with colleagues Sharon Boggon from Australia and Allie Aller from Washington state. Hostesses, Maureen Greeson and Susan Elliott, are forces of nature (and phenomenal stitchers) and already have details in place. Don't hesitate, people are signing up already and the conference is limited to 60 people!!

Also, I will be in Branson, MO this August teaching at a quilt retreat. And will be teaching several classes in Chicago and Milwaukee in September. More details to follow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Healing Thoughts for my Husband

On Saturday, my husband, Dan, was constructing a mobile chicken coop (one that he could move with the Kubota). Some wood kicked and his left hand was dragged into the table saw blade. Very bad. Three fingers have been severely damaged. A plastic surgeon performed emergency surgery, but amputation of a few joints had to be done. There are nerves and tendons severed and bones shattered and much muscle damage. His hand is casted and wrapped and he is off work until the appointment with the surgeon on Monday. Please say prayers and send healing thoughts for him. Thank you.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Road 2 CA ribbon

Hooray! Just found out that my completely hand-pieced and hand-embroidered crazy quilt, "Crazy Diamonds" got a ribbon at the Road to California quilt show. It got a third in Wall Hangings, Other category. This makes 9 ribbons in 4 shows. It also won First at AQS, at Empire Quilt Fest and Bennington Quilt Show. What a great way to start off the new year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Heirloom Love Letters

Brent Ridge from Beekman 1802 asked me to come up with a Valentine he could sell on his site. So, I created this fabric art postcard. (It took an hour for each card, not 5 hours) You can go to Beekman 1802 (link above) and order this special Valentine for your beloved.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bead Journal Project - Sigil

I've joined a group called the Bead Journal Project (BJP). BJP was started by the talented Robin Atkins a few years ago. The challenge is to create a beaded project each month for a year. The creation can be any size or shape, as long as it is consistent throughout the year. Any bead technique, any design - the choice is yours. There has been some phenomenal art created through this invitation. I decided to participate this year. Here is my January BJP.

It is called "Sigil". I actually started it in December so I could finish it on January 1, taking advantage of the magic of the Blue Moon on New Year's Eve. A sigil is a sign, a symbol of an intent. To form this type of sigil, a rose window with a superimposed alphabet is used and a tracing of the spelling of your intention is made. The rose window is not to be traced, just the lines to spell your word. However, I did keep the rose window (without the superimposed alphabet) to show how this sigil was formed.

I embossed a deep green velvet with an old printer's block I have. I cut out and fused the velvet to a batik fabric. I outlined the velvet with size 15 seed beads, bugle beads and added briolettes for the dangles. The moon face cabochon (representing the feminine) is secured with delicas. A Pure Allure jewelry component makes the crown.

Here is the embroidered rose window and the beaded sigil for "Create". To the left is a wired ribbon and beaded "river of inspiration". A free-form peyote stitched rivulet is intertwined with the ribbon. Then, pearl sticks, crystals and beads were added. The beaded circles continue across the page, as inspiration often seems to fall from heaven. The beaded bit to the right reminds me of a DNA strand. Some talent and creativity is born within us and some is cultivated. May 2010 find you cultivating your creativity and expressing it in many ways.