Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Herbal Dream Pillows/ Earth Loom

Last night was my Herb Society meeting. Of course this being October out came "the" hat. I made a new one this year for my daughter to wear when Trick or Treating with her boys.
I have to laugh, my mom always use to make summer hats to cover her hair while at the beach, she would have liked to be a milliner. Now, her daughter making witches hats!

Last night at the meeting we studied about herbal dream pillows. I made these a few years ago with the grandsons and it was unanimous all slept much better. I first learned about the pillows at a herb conference when Jim Long, a respected herbalist spoke about them. He researched and used them for years and finally wrote a book on the subject. A little background from the book: "The European craft of making dream pillows goes back several centuries. There is much evidence, both historical and modern, that pleasant fragrances from herbs and flower do have a positive effect on dreaming".
There is so much more information in this book if your interested he also has a blog.
He goes on to list several quotes from past centuries extolling the virtues for sleep pillows.

My other book I found reference to them is this book "Healing Secrets of the Native Americans".

A couple of pages from the Native America book on the use of Hops for sleeping.

I love this paragraph on President Abraham Lincoln.

At our meeting we had lots of dried herbs to choose from. There are many different herb blends,  peaceful slumbers, convalescent rest, romantic evening, inspiring creativity, and many more.
We mixed the correct herbs for peaceful slumbers.

Some of the herbs we used were sweet hops flowers for relaxation and peacefulness.

Mugwort for increased clarity to remember your dreams, while also encouraging relaxation.

We also added catnip, chamomile, lots of lavender, rose petals, rosemary, and mint.
With this blend how can you not have a wonderful nights sleep.

Mixed well, then we filled little cloth bags for everyone to take home and tuck in their pillow case.
About 1/2 cup per bag is all you need.

Last weekend was peak color season here, the maple leaves were calling me. I went out in our woods and collected some of the reddest,

also a few sumac branches. The sumac leaves glowed.

The loom was patiently waiting, looking kind of dull,
not anymore!

Now it's in full color, ready for the Season.
Not much room left for weaving this year, I hope to weave a row of oak leaves and the final row of winter greens. Then the weaving will have completed the growing cycle of plants this year, starting with dandelions and ending with the greens.
What a wonderful time I had weaving on it. (Oh, and Mother Nature loved weaving too!).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catching up in October

Where has October gone, I don't know. I've been meaning to post but never seem to have any extra minutes.
So from last week, I finally had one of my summer Moon flower plants bloom. I planted the seedlings late and with the cold summer I got only one bud which took forever to open and when it did it was with the Full moon last week. If I was only going to have one flower this was perfect timing.

What a wonderful moon week, the blood moon was visible here and at a good time. The grand kids and I went out early to see it.

Then that night we drove around to get the best picture of the Hunters Moon.

It also was time to decorate the house. Fist, Fall garlands and ceramic pumpkins on the piano.

The kitchen hutch gets a new look with a Halloween quilted table runner, herbal vinegars,

and velvet pumpkins and pears.

Wool pumpkin people tucked inside.

Several years ago I made this wool wall hanging from wool I naturally dyed (all except the black).

My favorite Halloween memory from childhood, my paper-mache pumpkin now used to hold napkins.

Last weekend we went camping at our local State Park. Every year they have a Fall Festival, starting with trailer decorating contests and ending with hay rides and trick-or treating. We have a large group of family and friends camping.. This year we made candle holders to decorate our tables with. A garland of leaves from the local craft store, old jars and mod podge. The most important part to make this a successful project is to pull the plastic "veins" off the leaves before trying to glue them on.

We didn't coat the top of the leaves with the glue but we did coat the whole jar. Some of the leaves were velvet, they looked beautiful in the candle light.
This idea came from Pinterest. Oh, we love Pinterest!

Next pumpkins in my flower pots,

my favorite for the season, black and orange pansies in a crock.

Fall garland around the light.

And the porch is ready for the season.

Back to the campground, the weather was perfect, the water beautiful and the grand kids happy.
They fished and fished.

Catching and releasing.

Lots of hiking.

My husband and daughter.

And my grandson taking a selfie.

Last night I had my girlfriends over for dinner. I pulled out my good china. My mom bought them 65 years ago for her wedding china. She was raised in town and when she got married they were moving out into the "woods".  Not really far out but that's how it felt to her.

So while all her girlfriends were buying rose patterned china she bought these pine bough and leaf dishes. Long ago she gave them to me. I use them for special occasions but hate the fact that I'm afraid to put them in the dishwasher and have to hand wash them.

I had my friends over for hot soup, salad, crackers and cheeses. Laura made this cute jack- o-lantern cheese ball.
Another idea from pinterest, if your not familiar with this site google it and enjoy.

 Laura also made me this wonderful witch wall hanging, it has a companion piece of a cat but after paper piecing this for hours she gave me the cat pattern to do myself! LOL, Next year.

And on to the next holiday, Jamie paper pieced this cute Thanksgiving wall hanging.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Nature's Creatie Edge

For the past 10 or so years Robert Friese-AIFD has sponsored a show of Florists work on his property. Each year there is a new theme, this years theme was Suspension. Floral artist come from all over the U.S. to display their sculptures. For three days/nights hundreds of people come and walk through the displays. The admission fees going to scholarships for young florists. There were 27 displays this is just a few of my favorites. The entrance began with two topiaries and large swags.

Surreal Suspension
This was an old wooden ladder full of flowers, moss and candles hanging in glass globes.
We went at dusk so I could take pictures before it got too crowded. But it's much more wonderful all lit up with all the candles.

Fast Food! This frog was covered with vegetation leaping out of a pond

to catch a dragon fly.

Saturn Rising
 (OK, Saturn didn't make the picture but I did get the Sun).



Tubular Color, a please touch display.

Lotus Gate.
You can see in this picture the paths are all lined with candles, beautiful at night.

Four of the dials moved, including the hands of the clock.

One of my favorites, E.T. Phone Home.
At night the moon glowed.

Looked like beautiful bridal bouquet.
Just between you and me I think my Earth Loom would have fit in nicely with this exhibit.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Natural Dyeing

I'd like to begin this post with a little of my personal natural dyeing history. I began natural dyeing around 1995 with my Kindred Spirit, Deb Hardman. We both are quilters and love the outdoors so natural dyeing fit right in with our life. We first began dyeing with cotton fabrics, the color was ok but not great. Once we found how wonderful wool took the dye we never looked back. I now have been dyeing almost 20 years and still love it just as much as the first day. When we started there wasn't much information out there, a few books but nothing like now.
 Next I discovered India Flint  and her book Eco Color, and a
whole new world in dyeing opened up for me. Thank you India for sharing your research and dyeing knowledge with us.  
This past weekend I spent the day outside with the last of my summer flowers and some rusty metal. I haven't dyed much with metal and want to explore it more.
With this first piece of wool I used a rusty piece (my grandson brought me home from the playground), dried eucalyptus, golden rod, cosmos etc.,   


next a piece of copper with woad leave, dyers coreopsis and eucalyptus,

rusty saw blade with flowers.

roll them all up and into the boing water.

in the bottom of the pot I put cut up oak branches and leaves.

A while later I had enough bundles to fill up 2 pots. I simmered them a  few hours and left them overnight.

Oh my gosh the fabrics turned out beautiful,

the pictures don't show the detail at all.

One saw blade gave a Chinese character look.

a fern became a blue print.

more rusty saw blade prints

And from India's other book "stuff, steep & store" I have a jar full of wool and flowers.
It's to pretty to open.

I hope this post doesn't seem to "choppy", I do my blog at work, while writing this post I've driven one customer home, answered the phone too many times to count, did up several work orders and checked out customers. So please excuse all the grammer issues.

  • Deb Hardman
  • Allie Aller
  • Jenny Bowker Cairo