The month of April is moving swiftly through her days, the first week here in Florida we have had real Spring weather, lots of sunshine with some rather warm days, a few very rainy days and this week cool temperatures so comfortable you don’t want to go inside. I love days like that and here in Florida I have learned to appreciate them because once we move closer to the end of April spring gives way to the heat of Summer until mid October.
There have been my daily walks in the park taking in all Mother Earth has to offer, I’ve rested on a bench to watch the sunrise through the trees on some mornings, on other days I enjoy the lulling sounds of water falling in a man-made structure and marveling at the large oak tree whose limbs have grown so long they have touched the ground to give support and come up with new growth so she looks like she is surrounded by smaller trees, one morning I watched a flock of egrets and heron pecking along oblivious to the humans walking by.
On those few rainy days we had I spent time with my hand embroidery projects finishing one and beginning others and preparing other projects to come.
The moon phases is from a kit by cozybluehandmade.com called Lunar Blossom all the embroidery is complete I need to press it, add a fabric backing and I’ll frame it in the hoop for a little wall hanging. I loved doing this little kit so I ordered the iron on transfer so I could make a few more on different background fabrics. The kit from Cozy Blue came with pre-printed fabric, needle and embroidery floss.
The Goddess piece is my own design culled from 3 other designs I made over the years I wanted to have it completed in time for Beltane. It needs to be framed. The peace symbol is a Zenbroidery kit which I’ll work on in between my other embroidery projects just to keep things fresh, I purchased two other kits a tree and a sewing mandala also Zenbroidery kits along with 2 floss and embellishment packets at my local Joann’s Crafts store, I probably won’t use the floss embellishment packets those will most likely make it into my 4 year old grand niece’s craft bin. Just a quick note the Zenbroidery kits come with pre-printed design on fabric and a needle it does not include embroidery floss.
My next project is a Venus of Willendorf from a coloring page a friend bought and gifted me recently, I thought she would look great done in hand Embroidery so I started her this week while we were getting heavy rainstorms in the area. I’m using mostly 2 strands of DMC floss,
I’m using a 100% cotton fabric printed in a neutral paisley print. I think she is going to look stunning when she is completed, while I stitch her I’m thinking of ways to finish her. A simple wall hanging, or framed in a antique wooden frame or perhaps an altar cloth or pillow. I am also stitching with intention for peace and calm to continue in my life so perhaps she will become a prayer flag. Once the final stitches are made I’m sure I will know exactly how she wants to be finished. I’d love to hear your comments.
Welcoming Spring it’s been a mild winter here in Florida but it’s always nice to be welcoming Spring and all she has to offer.
Last week we had our usual freeze before spring but I was vigil this year and covered all my plants in time to protect them from most of the chill.
I uncovered everything on Friday afternoon and so far all looks to be well but I’ll know more in about a week. Last weekend I finished the Greenman hand embroidery piece and now I’m getting ready to add some fabric leaves to those bare spaces on the side and then decide to either frame him or make a wall hanging.
Wishing you all a wonderful First day of Spring and Happy Ostara to all celebrating today.
Is it just me or are the weeks just flying by? February had me down and out with one nuisance illness or another but all is well and I am finally getting my energy back, the last week of February had me fighting a fever of 103.7 which allowed me to sleep for about 2 days, now I am feeling more of my energy but still tire easily.
So while ill I didn’t get too much done in the garden as I had planned thankfully mother nature took care of some of the work with some heavy rain, lots of sunshine and breezy cool weather and the results are lovely.
My bi-color roses opened the morning of Valentine’s Day and the rhododendron just keeps putting on a beautiful show every morning a few more flowers open. A few bees have been buzzing around the garden Spring isn’t too far off.
The new Greenman piece I am currently working on a for Beltane. It is another hand embroidered piece I am using DMC floss mostly 2 strands, several are variegated and I am taking one strand from two skeins and working them together, all in all I like how the piece looks.
A few weeks ago I attended a wire wrap class to brush up on my wire wrapping skills the class made earrings in a kind of art deco style
For the earrings I used sterling silver wire and pink crystal beads for a spring like feel, I reworked the spirals on one of the earrings so they both look the same. I even made the ear wires. I had been about 15 years since I worked with wire and all I can say is things have changed in many ways. The best thing is being able to purchase supplies online when not available locally, having a bead shop in town that carries a variety of wire that is now available, and even big box craft stores are now carrying a large selection of beads, findings and charms.
In the upcoming weeks I plan to attend a few other wire wrapping classes as well as a watercolor painting class, and possibly a pottery class if I can. I haven’t been in a pottery studio for a few years and I am itching to get my hands in the clay again. For me this Spring is going to be all about creative and artistic expression.
The wheel of the year is turning toward light, the sun gaining strength through the lengthening days. The festival of Imbolc, in early Febuary, marks the birth of lambs, the thawing of streams, and the first stirrings of Spring. Ostara, the Spring Equinox, marks the moment of balance between light and dark, as the sun prevails and light and life return.
Roughly halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Throughout the British Isles, February was a harsh, bitter month for the rural folk to survive. In Scotland, this time was called “Faoilleach” – the Wolf Month, and also “Marbh mhio`s” – the Dead Month. But it was at this most trying time that the first small, undeniable signs of new life would begin to appear. Lambs would be born, soft rains encouraging the growth of new green grass shoots, Blackthorns and crocuses would blossom, ravens would begin to build their nests, and the clear voices of the larks could be heard calling across the snow laden fields. In Ireland, the farmers would now begin to prepare the land for new seed, while fishermen began to look forward to the end of the winter storms and rough sea conditions to launch their boats again.
While the Horned God, who reined over Autumn and Winter, still held power, The Old Woman of Winter, Cailleach, as she was known in Scotland, was reborn as Bride (Brigid the Light-Bringer, Bright One, Brighid, Brid) – Young Maiden of Spring, fragile, yet growing with strength each day as the sun warmed. She was honoured as the Goddess of healing and fertility, fire, keeper of the sacred flame, and guardian of home & hearth. In another version in which the God was reborn at Yule, and the Goddess was Crone, sees the Goddess as mother to the God at Imbolc, feeding him from her own body as the energy of Spring builds.
This festival was central to hearth and home – a celebration involving lighting the hearth fires and bringing out the last of the special foods, like butter and milk, that had been eked out through the hard winter months. Fires – lighting candles, hearths and bonfires, were very symbolic at this time – both in the sense of encouraging the return of the sun’s warmth and increasing power, and in the sense of purification for the new cycle ahead. With winter stores running low, it was important to the people who lived off the land to ensure a good season ahead and a steady supply of food. The Imbolc rituals were performed to bring in this divine energy.
So how does this translate into our modern times? As Pagans, we strive to rekindle our connection with the land, the changing of the seasons – learning to live back in rhythm with natural life. So at this time, we would apply the same philosophies and symbolisms (think on all four planes – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) – in terms of welcoming back the beginning of Spring, purifying ourselves and our space, perhaps going through the kitchen larder, having a feast with loved ones, lighting candles / a fire, and generally preparing to come out of “winter hibernation”. What seeds will you be planting for the season ahead? What would you like to call energy into as the Sun slowly builds in power and warmth?
Return of the light, renewal of the Maiden, start of Spring, increasing the light, hearth fire, creative fire, healing fire, women and the Goddess, purification, purity, growth, reunion of Goddess and God, renewal of maidenhood, renewal of the land, waking of the earth, returning to work on the land after the winter lull, renewal of fertility, letting go of the old and making way for the new.
February 2nd (Northern hemisphere)
Gods of Love and Fertility, the Horned God, Aengus Og, Eros
All Virgin/Maiden Goddesses – especially Brigid. Aradia, Athena, Inanna, Gaia, Februa
Below are more correspondences for the Imbolc festival. Use these for inspiration rather than hard and fast rules. You can choose to mark the change in season however you want – ultimately it is about your connection with nature, so do what resonates with you and your loved ones.
PLANTS, FLOWERS, HERBS, INCENSE
Angelica, Basil, Bay Laurel, Cinnamon, Coltsfoot, Heather, Iris, Myrrh, Tansy, Vanilla, Violet, Wisteria
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise
White, yellow, pink, red, green, brown
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppyseed cakes, muffins, scones, breads, dairy products, peppers, onions, garlic, raisins, soups, spiced wines, herbal teas
White and yellow flowers
The link below will take you to a site for a Brigid’s Cross Tutorial
I do quite a bit of projects with fabric I thought I would share this little blessing, I have finished the embroidery for the Brigid’s Cloth just in time, I just need to press it.
On midwinter’s eve (Imbolc) place a piece of linen or cloth outside. It is said that on this night Brigid travels all over the land and if she sees this cloth she will bless it and give it healing powers with this prayer: Let the cloth of life be mended. Let the thread be linked again, restored, cleansed – the forests growing, native plants in field and fen. Let the cloth of life, in beauty, be restored by will to be. People with the plants and creatures, tending earth and sky and sea.
January has been a busy month and has flown by in a flash, do you ever wonder how all the hours one day seem to fly and some days they go on forever. When I was a young woman it always seemed the rough days were endless so its nice now that I’m older to have a few good days seem to go on forever.
Last week here in Florida we experienced some strong Tornado warning with heavy winds blowing through and some rain, fortunately no damage in my neighborhood, with the exception of twigs and some trash strewn about, easy cleanup. Earlier in the day when the winds began two small plants were knocked over I moved them to a more secure location. I gave a look to my Rhododendron and hoped for the best, on Monday before the storm she was just showing her first flowering buds. Happily a few days after the storm all her buds were intact
some of the buds blossomed despite those strong winds. The Lemon and Lime trees are full of buds and the fragrance of the foliage is intoxicating when walking by, a few bees have been buzzing about on warm days, and the poinsettia is still full and lush as she was during Yuletide. Last year due to illness I wasn’t able to plant a spring garden so I did the next best things and bought a few potted plants to keep my fingers in the soil. This year I am planning to spend time in the garden in short spans of time at first so I don’t have any set back. Between my seasonal allergies worsening each year and bouts of bronchitis that seem to linger longer with each bout I have to make ways to get in the garden without overdoing it. I don’t think I’ll spend 6 and 8 hours days in the garden any time soon, but I hold hope deep in my heart that I will someday once again, until then a new addition to my gardening books will hopefully have a few tips I can use.
I came across Late Bloomer on one of the garden sites I read on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TWOwomenANDaHOE/
Speaking of books I have finally had time to get more reading in, my friend gifted me this book so we can discuss it together, she is just coming to the Goddess path and thought discussions with me would help her, like many who come to a goddess or pagan path she has researched other religious paths. I am also reading for leisure so a trip to the local library was in order to start off the new year.
I also joined the Goodreads 2017 reading challenge found here https://www.goodreads.com/challenges/5493-2017-reading-challenge
This month my hand embroidery has me working a few new projects now that the last block for the Hocuspocusville quilt is done, I am stitching a Brigid’s Cross for Imbolc, and a pattern from Urban Threads called Earth Mother, I have named Winter Goddess since I have her on a snowflake print fabric and plan to use blue, white and silver floss among the greenery. I have most of the Elemental Goddess piece done, I just want to add a few symbols to the piece.
The Brigid’s Cross should be finished this weekend and I should be adding the symbols to the elemental goddess today so I can finish it this week. Once those are complete I will continue with the winter goddess so she is ready for next winter’s solstice and I have a Beltane piece in a hoop waiting for me to choose the floss colors before I post any photos.
The New Moon is a time of beginnings.
It is a time of embracing new projects, ideas, plans, thoughts, relationships and the changes we wish to invite into our lives. It is a time of seeding intentions and of opening to the new possibilities that are brought by another lunar cycle.
The New Moon offers us a time of hope, a time of faith and renewal of our commitments. It brings us a fertile place to start fresh and to remind us that no matter what there is always rebirth waiting on the horizon.
It reminds us also to check in with ourselves and to let go of what is no longer in alignment with our path, our purpose and our dreams. It tells us that in order for us to bring all that we want into being, we need to clear away what is no longer serving us and make room for what is to flow into our lives.
January is a great time to put that fresh start in motion and shed those things not working for us.
Here are some practices that can be used during the New Moon:
Releasing and clearing are powerful practices to employ during the New Moon. This removes any built up negativity that has accumulated and cleanses the environment and the self for what we are going to have flowing into our lives in the next cycle.
Here is a simple clearing blessing which can be used with any type of sacred smoke or cleansing method including cedar, sweet grass, sage or herb smoke, oil sprays, or salt. You can apply this to your room, outdoors, or yourself.
Cleanse this Space, Remove all ill. Bless it Now, Let Light and Love Fill
SACRED NEW MOON BATH RITUAL
Set New Moon intentions in your New Moon Journal (optional)
* Run a sacred bath
* Add salts, essential oils, herbs or flower petals
* Create sacred altar space with candles, crystals or statues
* Enter the bath and visualize a renewal of your energy
* You can draw even more nourishing energy with an affirmation:
“I am renewed with this New Moon. I am replenished. I am open to new beginnings.”
The New Moon brings us the energy of beginnings and is a cosmic refresher. It is a time to leave the past behind and immerse yourself in the energy of rebirth. Open yourself to abundance and possibility unfolding in your life.
As we open to the possibility of what is coming into our lives, this is a good time to offer thanks for all that has come in the last cycle. You can offer thanks to the Universe, to the deities or guides you work with, to your spirit animals, or anyone you want to give a special thanks to during this powerful time.
You can leave out an offering of your choosing somewhere outside like a piece of bread, some flowers, a crystal and say a few words of thanks such as:
“I give thanks with open arms
For all that there has been
I open still for all that flows
And comes from the unseen.”
On the last day of December I finished putting in the last hand embroidery stitches on block 12 of the Hocuspocusville Quilt. I believe I completed this one in record time. The photo beside the finished work is a close up of the quilt, I plan to change my setting for the quilt top though at this time I’m not sure how I’ll make the change.
For 2017 one of the things I want to do is pursue more of what I love doing so I have joined a new project to keep me motivated in my love of hand embroidery the 1 Year of Stitches: 2017.
Today is day two of the 1 Year of Stitches: 2017 which you can read more about here http://www.brwnpaperbag.com/1-year-of-stitches-2017 and perhaps even join in the fun if hand embroidery is something you do or something you would like to try no experience required. There are several website where you can learn just about any embroidery stitch here are two of my favorite sites:
There is also a private Facebook Group for the 1 Year of Stitches: 2017, and an Instagram Page #1 Year of Stitches: 2017 where you can post photos of your progress and see what other members are stitching. I will be posting my photos weekly on the Facebook group page and here on my blog as time allows.