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The Lughnasadh is a time to celebrate the first of three harvest celebrations (Mabon and Samhain being the other two). It marks the middle of Summer represents the start of the harvest cycle and relies on the early crops of ripening grain, and also any fruits and vegetables that are ready to be harvested. It is greatly associated with bread, as grain is one of the first crops to be harvested.  The Celts celebrate this festival from sunset August 1 until sunset August 2 to honor  the God Lugh. It is the wake of Lugh, the Sun-King, whose light begins to dwindle after the summer solstice.

LughnasadhBlessingstoYou

 The Saxon holiday of Lammas celebrates the harvesting of the grain. The first sheaf of wheat is ceremonially reaped, threshed, milled and baked into a loaf. The grain dies so that the people might live. Eating this bread, the bread of the Gods, gives us life.  

One traditional Lughnasadh custom was the construction of the corn dolly or corn maiden. This figure, braided into a woman’s form from the last harvested sheaf of grain, represented the Harvest Spirit. The doll would be saved until Spring, when it was ploughed into the field to consecrate the new planting and insure a good harvest.

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While I love the idea of plowing the corn doll to insure a good harvest, my corn doll witch sits on a shelf among a few other harvest season trinkets throughout the harvest festival season.  

If you follow a Goddess path and are looking for simple rituals and ideas for living in a more sacred, mindful way every day, I highly recommend this book it is absolutely worth tracking down a used copy if you can.

ardingerbook

From the back cover: In 2007, the Seruntine family relocated to a secluded Nova Scotia homestead. They made it a point to live gently upon the land by growing and raising their own food, living in balance with the surrounding forest, and honoring Nature’s spirits. In return, the land and the spirits looked after them. Seasons of the Sacred Earth follows life deep in their woodland hollow through a magical year.

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Another book I have on living the around the Wheel of the Year or Wheel of Life and enjoying all the ways to celebrate, and again if you follow the Goddess path you will find much among the pages.

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If you are interested in non-traditional seasonal celebrations  you can find them within the pages of these books.

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July Mid Month

July is just moving along, mid month came so fast though this week the days felt long and exhausting.  The heat and humidity are taking its toll on me this year.

I put in more progress on my Zenbroidery piece

I love the look the variegated threads I’m using, I’m also using 3 strands of floss, I have seen a few using the full 6 strands and for me it just looks so heavy and too crowed.

Progress on the Summer of Love project is going well too, I still have more to finish on the figure at the bottom before I  move on to the next area,  I removed the stitch and wash fabric so the piece looks a bit wrinkled it will all be pressed after the piece is complete.

One of the new projects I am working on is a witch bonnet Sue quilt, here is a look at two of the blocks waiting for embellishing, I will be embroidering the blocks and adding some beads too. Here is a close up of one of the Sue blocks, they are appliqued on using fusible web, don’t you just love the spider webs. I’m thinking may be using some metallic threads around the block.

Here is a look at a traditional Sun Bonnet Sue block I made years ago. As you can see the black threads are all the embroidery I added around the edges, added the lines for socks and umbrella handle and her hands.

When I am not stitching I have been busy reading a few books I purchased while on vacation last month.  I am currently reading and enjoying The Hideaway which was waiting for me at the library the day after I got back from Sanibel Island.

I have another stack of books I purchased while I was away but haven’t dad the time to take photos.  Funny I purchased 4 books to take with me and came back with another 12.  No matter where I vacation I always manage to check out a book shop or two.

 

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Happy 4th of July

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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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