Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Out with the old and in with the new...

I don't know about you, but I am so glad to see the back side of this year. I am looking forward to the new year like you wouldn't believe. A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning are all magical phrases to me. Today being the hinge day between the old and the new is kind of a special day as well. I like the in-between things in life. Bittersweet Autumn, joyful, happy Spring, Christmas eve, New Year's eve. The times that are neither one thing or another, farewell and anticipation. The space between. A comma. A held breath. Potential magical moments. A chance to pause, catch one's breath and then either run pell-mell into whatever is next or cautiously dip one's toes into the mystery that awaits. I wish each and everyone of us a new year filled with HOPE, LAUGHTER, LOVE, STRENGTH, FAMILY AND FRIENDS, GOOD FOOD, WARM HOMES,KINDNESS AND COMPASSION TOWARDS OTHERS LESS FORTUNATE. Oh, and WINNING LOTTERY NUMBERS.
As I recently posted I have been compiling a list of things I want to release. Tonight is the night I am going to symbolically let them go. I am not one for going out on New Year's eve. Been there, done that many times and don't really feel the need to right now. Lately, I have chosen to spend the evening by myself. I have a tasty meal planned, carmelized Winter squash & onion pizza with feta cheese, green salad with honeyed pecans and dried cranberries with some feta and a hard apple cider to add a celebratory bubbly finish. I have three new CD's to listen to while I play around with my sewing machine. I wish you all a very happy 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Angelina has been posting about some major life changes she is making. I too am working on some similiar ones. There are some things that need to be gotten out of the way first. Some are a bit more involved than I want to share but a few of I need to publically state. I have always tried to be the nice person, the caring person, the one that can be counted on. I haven't always succeeded all the time (and you can bet I beat myself up when I have fallen short.) I AM a nice person, a caring person and a dependable one, BUT I don't want to be responsible for anyone else's well being other than my own. I have taken on too many people's expectations of me and fashioned them into essentially a noose that I feel is choking my soul. If I sound harsh, well there is a lot of anger simmering underneath my mild mannered exterior. It is for the most part directed at myself. Though there is some directed at some family members and some for a few other people that have or had significant roles in my life. If I were songwriter like Richard I would write a scathing yet witty catchy little song and let folks wonder if it is about them. Instead I have been writing down the hurtful, hateful, lame, angry, poisonous things I have been hanging onto for years. The things like how an uncle of mine used to call me heifer (I was overweight as a kid.) The promises my Dad would make that as soon as he made them were forgotten by him. How a boy in my A.P. European History class told me I didn't belong there. How praying to God was supposed to make everything better but somehow wouldn't keep a family relative's hands off me. How I questioned my sanity while going out with various alcoholics and drug users. How I let people use me as a doormat and how I feel guilty for getting mad that they do. How I have let my body down by not consistently exercising and by eating as self medication. These and many more are going up in flames on New Year's eve. They are being released. I will remember them but they won't be part of the fabric that my clothes my soul.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Belated Solstice Wishes

I know I posted this image several days ago but I didn't get around to doing a Solstice post. As things are winding down and I am trying to calm the frantic hamsters in my brain I look to this image and feel a warm peaceful feeling. It could also be the herbal tea I have been drinking I suppose. I had intended on posting a couple of recipes I make for tea. I forgot and am so sorry Jenn! Here they are now, they are from this book
I recommend this book for the eye candy alone. The recipes are good although I would prefer a bit more substance. I have tried quite a few of them and enjoyed the results.
The first recipe is:


I play around with the amounts and sometimes throw in a little crushed nutmeg (a little goes a very long way)or Allspice or finely chopped dried ginger. I think this is a nice winter blend. I like it without sweetener but might try some of the ginger honey I made last week. The amount used to make a pot or cup varies on how strong a brew you want. Experiment with it. The recipe as posted above makes enough for about 30 cups worth.
The next one is:


Again, I don't usually use sweeteners in this, but a little agave syrup or honey wouldn't go amiss.

I have a Christmas eve dinner to go to. Yeah! I am bringing the marinated Manchego cheese from here It is from her post on December 12th.
Anyway my fingers are freezing so let me offer my Solstice/Christmas/Human Light and any other religious OR non religious holiday for PEACE, UNDERSTANDING and COMPASSION now and in the new year.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow day!!!!

I have had a few days off from work starting last Wednesday. I went back to work yesterday and today woke up to a commuter's nightmare (at least this commuter) or a stay at home person's dream. I chose the latter. Earlier this week when the storm first hit I bundled up and trudged down to one of the local markets (the Kiva) for supplies. I felt rather Eastern European, heavy coat, scarves, long heavy skirt (with sweats and long johns)underneath and boots. A pinup girl for Babushka Illustrated. I needed honey and ginger for some honeyed ginger I am giving as gifts. I also stocked up on sweet potatoes and other fixins for soup. I felt so hardy and alive. The following day I walked to an appt and again felt exhilerated from being out in the cold.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This is a collaged card I did for Solstice/Christmas a couple of years of ago. I love the painting of The Lady of Shalott by Waterhouse. When I first went to England, I went to the Tate especially to see her.
A trio of snowpeeps made out of paper clay. I love that stuff!!!
Snow, snow, snow. Meh.
This year's holiday wreath.
Note the mushroom groove.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

But wait there's more!!!

Vanilla, orange, clove and cinnamon, pear and cinnamon and pear and vanilla scented candles
Various items for sale tomorrow.

What I've been up to...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Busy weekend...

I am not able to post any pictures at the moment. I will soon. I took another class taught by Jill Cardinal. Oh my goodness!!! It was pure alchemy; potatoes, ink, crayons, paper bags and bee's wax. I am just totally excited about this. I LOVE reusing/repurposing stuff that would otherwise get recycled or tossed.
Also this weekend I made about 14 candles. These are soy candles in glass jars with lids. I used vanilla fragrance (synthetic) for half of them. The other half was scented with orange and clove essential oil. Earlier I had made some vanilla essential oil and orange essential scented ones. The amount of vanilla essential oil it took was a bit cost prohibitive so I opted to try the synthetic. The vanilla ones turned out fine. I really like the orange clove scented ones, they smell very holiday-ish and festive to me. I will be buying some more wax today and some more jars. I am also going to playing around with some more oil combinations. I was thinking a chai scented blend and a fir citrus blend might be nice. These are to sell at our craft fair. I am busy making yarn wreaths inspired by Katie. I have a lot of velvet leaves and birds and nests and flowers. These are mainly for gifts though I may have a few to spare to sell.
I am trying to use up things that I already have in my studio, but it seems that for everything that I already have I need to purchase something else to make the ideas work. Rather frustrating on the frugality crafting front. However, I have scored some amazing clothing finds very frugally. I have had an aversion for years to going to thrift stores for clothes. Dishes, books, the odd whatcamacallit-no problem. Clothes for some reason have been a no go for me, until two weeks ago. I went to one of the local St Vincent's looking for cookie trays to use to catch wax when I pour the candles. I had to walk through the clothing section to get to the housewares area. I grabbed a long gored corduroy skirt, an argyle sweater, a pale pink corduroy jacket and a vest all practically brand new and a Pyrex casserole (for my friend Karen) for under 20 bucks! (Clothing was half off that day.) Since then I have scored a brown velvet jacket much like the one in the Boden catalog that I lusted after mightily last year. It is a tiny bit too big but definitely workable and it is warm. It is a gorgeous chocolate brown color. Pictures soon...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude and issues Revised*

This post was originally posted on Wednesday evening and then taken off because I felt a little too exposed but upon thinking it over I decided to post it.
I honestly don't much like Thanksgiving. It isn't that I am not thankful, I am. It is just that as a kid I remember thinking that the Native Americans got the shaft. As an adult I usually have to work the day before and/or the day after. It makes it difficult for me to really get into a festive state of mind. The mass consumption of food that goes on would mean more to me I think, if food were treated with more respect. Our culture has some SERIOUS issues with food. Oh, and while I am at I get so angry when I hear about people "turkey bowling" WTF is up with that? If people are going to eat flesh, I can't stop them, but for a turkey to live in typical poultry farm conditions and then to be slaughtered only to have it's frozen carcass hurled down a bowling alley or wherever this inane activity takes place is just WRONG people. I don't care why people do it.
In a previous post I commented on the reality of holidays with my family. I don't mind really. (*Actually had a great day with family for the most part.) It is just the way we work or don't work together. OK so I am getting to the gratitude portion of this post. Really.
For a variety of reasons the last few years have been really hard for me. This year was the hardest. I am a glass half empty person by nature and I don't always rise above that though I try. I thought a lot about ending everything more than once. My friend Karen, just by being her wise woman self helped more than she knows during some rough times. Another is a person that I have only met online Angelina helped so much by laying bare her own thoughts and struggles in such an eloquent way usually at exactly the right time. I think she must be psychic. I am so grateful for both of these women. I guess in light of tomorrow and all the thanks that will be said I would like to thank them and the other kind people who have left comments on my blog, especially Lisa and Natalie. I am often in a dark space in my head and just seeing that I have a comment on a post can make it a tiny bit brighter. I am feeling a lot of sadness at this time. Some family issues that I can't really go into and some personal, I am trying to not get mired down while still dealing with my life. I am grateful for my friends and family that have stuck with me even though I haven't been the easiest to be around. Thanks.
So just to recap, Say NO to turkey bowling. It is wrong. Thanks to all who read and leave messages. *Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New project in the works

This is my all time favorite sweater that I knitted. I did the bulk of it while travelling in England and Wales. It is an alpaca wool in my favorite shade of blue. It fit perfectly. Perfectly, until it was washed in the washer by one who has atoned for the wrong doing. After that, it was clear it wasn't going to ever, ever be the same. I washed it again so it would felt even more. Now, it is going to be a donor. The sleeve cuffs will have a thumb hole strategically placed and I will wear the sleeves as arm warmers-I am chronically cold. The turtleneck portion-not sure yet on that. The body part will I hope become a tea cosy. We shall see how this progresses.
Some more color therapy and distractions projects in the works. The sheets of felt are from here though they don't don't seem to be listed in their felt section anymore. I bought them this time last year. I made a strange artistic tea cosy for one of my small teapots.
I will be making some bird ornaments and some wreaths this weekend. The wreaths are inspired by here. I am gearing up for our work craft sale. I am pretty sure I am going to take part in it. I gave myself this weekend to decide for sure. I didn't think I would do it, but I have a lot of leftover stuff from 2 years ago and last year that I'd like to get rid of if I can. Ornaments and cards and snowmen and all sorts of stuff.
I will post some of my herbal tea recipes and the candied ginger recipe that I use soon. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

A lovely, lovely day...

I left work early today. Very early, like elevenish early. It was clear earlier and nippy. A great day to leave early. I stopped on my way home and bought the November issue of British Country Living and I succumbed to the newest issue of Mary Jane's Farm. All is good. But wait! There is more! There is an estate sale not far from my house. I get really creeped out every time I go to one. (But still I go...) It is usually when I pass the bathroom that I start thinking "Oh, I am rummaging around in someone else's home who has either passed away or is moving into assisted living." It doesn't matter if that is really the story. I don't want to know. One time I was in an older (20's-30's era) home and walked into a bedroom and felt a such a heart breaking sadness, I put down the items I had intended to buy and ran out crying. I found out from a friend that went later that the owner had tended his wife as she was ill in that room. After she passed away he couldn't live there without her and was going to assisted living. The one today was in the area of town called College Hill. Huge homes from mainly the late 50's or 60's, split level-often with a second kitchen downstairs (?) The company that puts on these sales, really knows what's hot and charges accordingly. Pyrex bowls and casserole dishes (I am on the lookout for some for a friend) were way expensive. I did manage to spend not quite 20 dollars and see my dear friends (more like family than my own) Elwy and Elizabeth. I also saw my co-worker Jackie and her husband Julio. All in all a pretty nifty day and normally I would still be at work!