as the crone flies

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Happy Summer

A few days ago we celebrated the Summer Solstice, the first day of summer brings me back to my childhood days of eagerly waiting for the last school bell to ring signaling the end of the school year and endless days of sunshine, tree climbing, berry picking, trips to the beach, chasing fireflies, skinned knees and playing outdoors with every kid in the neighborhood from dawn till dark.

While I may no longer get those skinned knees or play outdoors from dawn til dark, I do take trips to the beach, I’d chase fireflies if there were any here in Florida.  I do spend as much time outdoors as possible, though usually in the early part of the day to beat the summer heat most of my playing outside the gym or frolicking at the beach is with needle and thread or a good book both of which give me as much pleasure as those activities I did as a child.
My latest projects from the hand embroidery over the recent weeks are my winter goddess, though it didn’t turn out as I planned I do like how she looks.
I had meant to stitch her using mostly blues, white and silvery gray and just a touch of green and red for the flowers she is stitched on a snowflake printed pale blue fabric,  but as I stitched her I changed my initial plan of stitching the swirls in blues and gray choosing to use green instead.  I’m happy with the overall results.
One of my current projects is the Zenbroidery Peace Symbol kit I purchase a few months ago.  I am using mostly variegated floss this is my progress so far.
I am slowly stitching this in between other projects which brings me to the other project I am working on The Summer of Love stitch at home challenge I signed up for in May.
I chose a whiter shade of pale colors provided by DMC, once they arrived I had to decide where they would work best in my design.  Knowing myself as I do I know I would tweak the design several times before I began stitching.   As you can see I did finally get started on the stitching and believe me when I tell you this took me quite a while to stitch. I’m happy I like it so far.  I am planning to take the challenge piece along with my on vacation so I can make the August deadline. I’ll be at the beach so I’ll need to sand proof my work and tools. I don’t stitch daily as I would like to because something like sore fingers or housework tends to get in the way.  On days when my allergies kick up a notch my eyes water all day so I can’t really see well enough to stitch. And some days I’m just not in the mood to stitch.
On the days when I don’t feel like stitching I will either read or do some other form of needle work, usually crochet. I purchased the Playa Ruana pattern last month from a store online called Two of Wands, I just lose the soft flow it appears to have and wouldn’t just look great wrapped around your shoulders at a festival, ritual or a cool summer evening.
I plan to use my shawl in a ball yarn hoping to get a light airy look. I don’t normally crochet in the summer time but this pattern just called to me. I have also started planning a little Halloween quilting project which I will begin some time in July once I have all the fabrics chosen.
I do hope you all had a wonderful Summer Solstice and are enjoying your summer so far.
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May Ramblings

The month of May is moving along at a fast pace, the heat of summer is closing in so I need to be extra mindful of the garden when I water my plants.

Beltane was celebrated quietly at home since I was still battling a nasty bug and didn’t want to prolong the illness.  Mother’s Day my son and I spent a few hours at the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens in Gainesville,  it felt good to be out and about walking among nature.

There were several Buddha statues, metal sculptures throughout the winding pathways.  The roses in the herb garden were in full bloom and just lovely. The bamboo garden was spectacular and as you can see many visitor’s to the gardens can’t read or just think the rules don’t apply to them and defaced many of the plants.  The pergola was covered in Jasmine and the scent was intoxicating, there were severl of them and a gazebo also covered in jasmine where I sat for a short rest before continuing on.

There was an area with potted plants and a few bamboo plants for sale I resisted the urge to buy one or two for now, there is a lizard on the girl statue posing for a photo, the rock garden was bursting with cacti and other desert plants, and another Buddha with a beautiful backdrop of bamboo.  All in all it was a beautiful day with sunny skies and a nice breeze to make the stroll comfortable.

The day before Mother’s Day I finished my hand embroidery for the Goddess of Willendorf, the photo shows the piece just off the hoop

She still needs to be ironed and a backing added to the piece for stability, I was planning to make her a prayer flag but I think I will make her a wall hanging instead, may use  wooden dowel or a twig to hand it from I’ll know more as I progress to the finishing stages.  In the mean time I have signed up for the Stitch at Home Challenge put on by the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design in connection with the 50th anniversary Summer of Love celebration.  The Summer of Love took place in 1967 at Golden Gate park in San Francisco.

DMC is a sponsor so once you sign up you can choose 3 embroidery threads from several color palettes, I chose A Whiter Shade of Pale,  I have designed my piece to resemble a poster from that era.  From the SNAD site: We want you to be inspired by the art movements that defined the Summer of Love to express what matters to you now.  Here is a link to the site if you would like to check it out and perhaps join in the stitching fun, you are not limited to just embroidery,  you do have to use the 3 embroidery floss colors in your piece.

http://www.sfneedleworkanddesign.org/rules-and-entry-form/

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Have a Warm and Wonderful Beltane!

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Happy Easter

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April Moving Swiftly

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.

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Welcome Spring and Happy Ostara to you

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.

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Marching to Spring

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.

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Warm wished for a Happy Imbolc

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May we be blessed, and through our lives, Bless.

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The wheel of the year is turning toward the light: Imbolc


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Imbolc

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?

KEYWORDS/THEMES
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.

ENERGY
Waxing

DATES
February 2nd (Northern hemisphere)

ASSOCIATED GODS
Gods of Love and Fertility, the Horned God, Aengus Og, Eros

ASSOCIATED GODDESSES
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

CRYSTALS
Amethyst, Bloodstone, Garnet, Ruby, Onyx, Turquoise

COLOURS
White, yellow, pink, red, green, brown

FOOD
Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, poppyseed cakes, muffins, scones, breads, dairy products, peppers, onions, garlic, raisins, soups, spiced wines, herbal teas

IMBOLC ALTAR/DECORATIONS

Besoms
White and yellow flowers
Candle wheels
Brigid’s Crosses

The link below will take you to a site for a Brigid’s Cross Tutorial

http://colorful-crafts.com/brigids-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.

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January Embroidery, Gardens, Books and New Moon Rituals Ideas

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 img_5851img_5908img_5854img_5853

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

GIVE THANKS

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.”

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