Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A little bit of Lake Michigan woven into the loom

I spent a beautiful day at the beach with the grandkids,

it's a feast for all the senses.

On our beach walk the kids found this small piece of drift wood to add into the loom.

I first added 3 rows of cream wool to represent the beach sand.

Next came the water. Three rows of indigo blue and the drift wood, one collected by the grandkids and two from my girlfriend Deb C. (thank you all!)

The next body of water to be woven in will be part of the Mississippi (after our visit).
And the final large body of water will be the Pacific Ocean, using driftwood my girlfriend sent me from Alaska.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Solstice/ Full Moon Weavings & potions

It was the first day of Summer and in Michigan (with all our cloudy days) I celebrate the Sun.
I spent the afternoon and evening doing some of my favorite things.
First, the looms been calling me to put in a few more rows,

not to worry though its not been idle the bitter sweet vines have been busy weaving their way in. I finished weaving two vines through.

Next some yellow wool for the Sun. I dyed this with my friend in 1996 using golden rod. It's almost as yellow as the day we dyed it. I recognize this wool because it as it was a funny kind of weave, one I haven't used since.
Then a row of dyers chamomile flowers to complete the Summer Solstice weaving. 

I've been picking my most fragrant roses (mostly rosa rugusa) saving them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until I had enough to distill a pot of hydrosol rose water. I've been studying about this how the condensation/steam collects with pure rose water and it's essential oils.

I began by putting in a over turned Pyrex pot and laying all the roses around it.
Then I poured water up to the top of that pan.
next I place a bowl right side up on top of that pot to collect the rose water that will form when the pot is simmered. Do not boil. I did this for about 1 1/2 hours.

Next the lid on upside down as the condensation/steam will wash down and drip into the bowl in the pot. That will be the pure rose water/essential oil.
Adding ice on top to keep the top cool will produce more condensation.

I kept spooning out the ice water as it melted and added more ice.
After a good hour I shut off the stove and let it set until morning, My bowl inside was filled up almost a quart of wonderful smelling rose water. I poured some in a glass spray bottle and am storing the rest in the refrigerator. Everyone in the family loves spraying their face with it. It is very good for dry skin.
I did two pots of rose petals, then I harvested my lavender and distilled a pot of it. Smells heavenly.
One very important note- Do Not Use Rose petals from the Florist!! They are full of pesticides and have no smell.
There's some good videos on the you tube if your interested.

I also picked some St. Johns wort and began an infusion in olive oil. In Michigan St. John's wort is at peak on the First Day of Summer. It is very, very healing. I do mine in a jar in a crock pot full of water on warm for 4 or 5 days.

Strain it well in layers of chees cloth and throw the plant material away.

A jar full for burns, sun burns, and skin problems.

My girlfriend sent me a yard of this paisley wool. I've been trying to think of what to do with it. I used a little to make a paisley full moon.

I used a resist to block out the moon and then brewed up a pot of indigo.

I also dyed some of my regular wool needing blue so I can get back to my appliqued Sun and Moon quilt.

Nothing more magical than indigo dye but especially during this Summer week.

I used one of the moons to make a small block for my moon journal quilt, quilting in the background a Sun and a few moon beams.
(The pictures a little fuzzy but it was the best I had).
I wish all of you a wonderful Summer!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Herb and Flower Gardening

We've lived in our neighborhood for 40 years now, when we moved in we were the young couple with babies. Now were the old couple with grandkids. One of our original neighbors still live next to us. Another very elderly neighbor (Marge, in her late 90's now), who was a wonderful friend is  living in a nursing home. Her children are getting ready to sell her home and contents. This big iron caldron was Marges' mothers'.  Her mother used it to make soap and do her laundry in. It's well over 100 years old. A couple of weeks ago her grandson asked if I wanted to buy it. Absolutely, I did! I love it and it's history.
Now, the rest of this story, Marge's great-grand daughter is my little neighbor girl that always comes over to gather herbs, make creams, weave and natural dye with me. I told her this caldron belongs to her and told her it's history. I also told her when she owns her own home come back and I will give it to her. She was so happy.
(There are reasons why I have it now and not her but we won't go into other family dramas).
I now have it filled with different types of basil.

Setting next to my herb garden.

I found this flower at a greenhouse, it's Safflower. It can be used to dye cloth a red or yellow color. I've been picking the "petals" and drying them hoping I get enough to try dyeing silk.

My girlfriend took me to Ann Arbor a week ago. Ann Arbor is a wonderful college town with lots and lots to do.
She took me to great restaurants, this is a picture of our meal at the Ethiopian restaurant, with traditional honey wine.

At another restaurant we ordered this drink. It is made with champagne  poured over a dried hibiscus flower. It was beautiful, too pretty to drink.

Another restaurant was Indian.
With lots of fun textiles.

We went to the largest peony garden in the United States.

They smelled heavenly.

Have a great Summer Solstice and enjoy the Full Moon, I off to weave on my Earth loom and distill my rose petals in to rose water/essential oil. I'll post about it soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Native Teachings weekend

Friday my husband and I packed up the RV and went North to spend the weekend with good friends learning about natural medicine of the Native people in our area. We camped on the grounds of this old catholic church.
It was built in 1911 on a Natives American reservation. In 2000 the Catholic church gave it back to the Native people where it is now used as a special gathering center.

The Native people work hard to keep the old church in good repair.

A fire was lit and kept burning all weekend.

Saturday morning Deb (a medicine women and pipe carrier for her people) began by telling us 2016 is the Year of the Women.
She is a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker. I could hardly keep up taking notes on all her teachings.
This weekend was centered on "Spring" with the awakening of the earth and plants. We learned about which plants in Spring are used for cleansing and healing.

Grandma's grandkids came and spent a day, in between teachings Grandma helped the kids make turtle pouches with teachings for the little ones.

Time to go home. Everyone was not happy about it.

In between teachings we worked on our own crafts.
Windi began a pine needle basket.

I quilted in my very favorite place to quilt, outside!

Sunday morning drumming under the cedar tree.

Cedar is considered "Women's medicine".
We learned to make a tea. It is drunk to cleanse the body getting rid of the toxins and keeping you in good health.
Men drink it before going into a sweat lodge.
We clipped a few branches from the cedar tree.

Left tobacco as an offering of thanks.

Only using the small greenery, pull them off and put into a pot. No brown parts what so ever.

Filled the pot with water.

Brought the pot to a light boil, let simmer until "midah" comes to the top.
(midah means-let the oil come to the top of the pot).
Seep awhile, then strain through cheesecloth. Add honey if desired. Then enjoy a cup everyday, hot or cold.

Windi finished her basket rim with dried cedar and a handle made from one of the cedar branches.

We also went to the ancient ones cemetery. Hidden away in the woods, left natural so not to be disturbed. These are the few "steps" leading up to the burial ground. They try to bury their dead in hills being closer to the Creator. Many of the graves are from the 1700's.

Ones with markers, 1800's.
This one being the Chief from the area.

It's just beautiful left natural, columbine flowers growing all around.

One side of the burial ground is the baby side.

If you look closely you can still see a little bit of the sheep outline.

Back at the center we learned to make fry bread.

Those who know me know I'm on gluten-free diet so I wasn't able to have them. They smelled delicious! Next teaching weekend I'm bringing my own flour to make them.

We had wonderful infused drinks. This one was a simple honey syrup, oranges, limes and mint.
Over ice it is very refreshing.

Driving the country roads we came onto this wonderful old abandon farm house and roosting on top of the chimney

a turkey vulture.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo