Google+ What I Made Today: 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reflections of Gratitude


On this day in 2004 I posted my first blog. Since then, the venues have changed a number of times as have the technologies that support them. My early blogs were pure written word, for images weren't even a possibility. A lot has changed over the past eleven years and I am grateful for those changes ~ in my rooted life, as well as those less tangible in my online life.

I reflect back and consider the folks who've been following my follies since those early days, and feel gratitude for the relationships we've forged together over the years. I find myself visiting the blogs of these friends, keeping in touch on Facebook, and in many ways it's like visiting them at their homes, getting glimpses of their daily lives and the passions that fan their heart flames.

I am grateful for the intimacy, the friendship, the love... even if I never meet you in ordinary reality. Thank you for that. You nourish and sustain me ~ and my follies ~ in ways you'll never know. And I am grateful.

And today I'm grateful, too, for our first snow of the season. Peace.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Pizzelle Pace

This past quarter has been rather grueling... yet quite worthy. My studio move in October and hasty set up for plans-in-place, not to mention "the holidays," combined with a shift in business strategy has been delightfully exhausting. I am glad that I had the foresight to make time to lounge in the mornings, take afternoon naps and retire even earlier in the evenings than is typical for me. And now I look forward to a deliberate pace that will allow me to continue nurturing my studio space, to focus on established plans, to work on projects that have been set aside, and to nurture the dreams that shall make manifest.

I have canvases to procure so I can get together with Nona Muse to work on an Alzheimer's art project, and other painterly endeavors. There's inventory to replenish, and to assess for year-end, for tax preparations are just around the corner. There's my house, my sweet little hut that is in a too-long-lingering state of disharmony that needs my attention and care. And there's my lists born of dreams not yet ripe with importance or urgency that must be revisited. And other stuff that requires energy and action.

I'm glad for winter's full arrival with the solstice. It signals a season that will nurture and support the gentler pace I seek. A pace that allows time and space for giving attention to the little things in life that add value and meaning... like these pizzelles I made yesterday.

So that's what I'm making today... a pizzelle pace that nourishes and sustains me ~ holistically ~ now and in the days to come.

Peace.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Preparations for Whiting Mills' Holiday Open Studios


Tomorrow may be Small Business Saturday and I'm certainly geared up for that... but next weekend... next weekend is for our Whiting Mills 9th Annual Holiday Open Studios event, and I'm super psyched for that!

I still have much to do in preparation for the Open Studios weekend and while I might work myself ragged this coming week, I'll enjoy every minute of it! In addition to the 50+ tenants of Whiting Mills, this event hosts several talented visiting artists and craftspeople from our regional community. We have local food vendors visiting over the weekend, too, including a favored local farm, Howling Flats, so I won't have to worry about bringing lunch or making dinner! There's musicians wandering the halls, gracing the corridors with beautiful sounds. I'm especially looking forward to Joseph FireCrow, who's music and storytelling never ceases to inspire me.

Plus, attendees can enter to win one of these fun new "I've Been Through The Mill" T-shirts ~ we'll be drawing winners throughout the weekend. Aren't they adorable? I've already purchased one (two, actually) and will be wearing it, I'm sure. ::nods::

So, hey, if you're in the region, stop by our Whiting Mills Holiday Open Studios in Winsted, Connecticut, next weekend, December 5th and 6th from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. It's sure to be a swell time!

With that, I have product to prepare, labeling to do, not to mention turkey and assorted feast leftovers to manage before I head to the studio this afternoon, so I wish you a creative day... week... life!

Peace.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wings to Soar with November

Photo by Christopher Marchese - christophermarch@aol.com
Tempus Fugit. November is soaring. I've been busy settling into my new studio space at Whiting Mills, and there's still much I want to do. The space is larger than my original studio there, and that has afforded me the delight of moving in more aspects of my home herbal dispensary. My spouse is building me lovely floor selves of local, native, rough-cut pine to solve for the challenge of the handsome brick walls. I've been able to segment the space for creating art, dispensary work, classes and meetings... energy healing, consultations and intuitive readings, even retail and comfort too. When I make the time and space to sit back, to take it all in, I'm over the moon about it.

Like all things, this studio space will be an evolution and it's sure to see a number of changes over the coming days, weeks, months and years, but for the moment I must force myself to focus on those aspects of urgency ~ the events and happenings coming up over the next month.

Last weekend was all about the heART journal and so is today. I'll be joined by a few folks who will share several hours nurturing the holistic Power of their Creative Expression and creating heART along with me. And I'm looking forward to it.

Next Saturday I'll be joining with many others around Whiting Mills, Winsted, Connecticut and everywhere to take part in Small Business Sunday ~ a day to support our local merchants and nurture our local economies. I hope your are too - Shop Local!

And coming up on the first weekend in December is our annual Whiting Mills Holiday Open Studios! This is always a great weekend, with every studio participating, guest artists, entertainment (including the wonderful Joseph FireCrow), plus food, and this year there's an opportunity for visitors to win this most-awesome "I've Been Through The Mill" T-shirt!

There will be several drawings to win a T-shirt throughout the weekend. Fun, eh? So if you're in Winsted, Connecticut, stop by, tour the fabulous ol' historic building that is Whiting Mills, the many inspired talents that are housed there ~ and visiting ~ and enter to win this fab 'n' fun T-shirt!

Hope to see you regional friends at one point or another in the coming weeks! And to you more distant friends... consider a road-trip! :D

With that, I gotta attach my wings and get soaring if I wanna keep up with November! Peace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Peace and the Power of Love - Blog4Peace


"Peace and the power of love" is this year's Blog4Peace theme and I could take this in so many directions, and it could take me in countless more, yet I shall do my best to ground, center and focus...

My first random thought was this: Peace can be hard. Manifesting and nurturing it takes effort and work. Love can be hard. Manifesting and nurturing it takes effort and work. This is my experience anyway... whether I'm nurturing these tender seeds in my own heart and my own life, in my family and tribe, or in my greater community and world.

I also thought: The words themselves have grown somewhat cliché. They're overused without conscious awareness, like so much of our contemporary communication. And then some. And then I chose to refocus.

And as I sat with this random thinking in the cool, morning sunshine, I guided my awareness into a space of deep quiet and focus. Some call this meditation. I asked that space, "what have been my greatest challenges with respect to this power?"

Here's one that surfaced: I loved my mother. Without doubt or question. And my mother could be very hard to love. There's power in that candid awareness. Regardless of her deeds, behaviors and words, I consistently chose to love her. It could feel obligatory at times, forced even, yet in my personal
tenacity, I consistently chose to love her. Even at times when the cruelest of tortures seemed like they might be welcome options. And long stories short, I am glad for my stubbornness. Why? Because I was able to stay rooted to the love I felt, the love that resided deep in my heart flame, the love ~ with all its challenges ~ that I'm confident I invited when I entered this life. And it's in that love that peace resides. No matter how crazy I'd find myself feeling when listening to or interacting with my mother, I'd remind myself, "all you can do is love her." And it was in that truth that I'd feel peace rise up and spread through my body... it's from that truth that we, my mother and I, were able to nurture peace between us and love one another with greater awareness and appreciation. It's in that truth that I evolved to discover that, no matter how I feel about a situation or the actions and behaviors of an individual, all I can do is love.

You may "have" other options. I imagine I do too. And I admit it can be infuriating at times. But I choose love. And there's power in that choice. And the power nurtures peace.

Within and without.

Peace.



Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Way to November


Green November Blessings!

And amber, umber, crimson and pewter! 

We enter the thick of autumn now, making way and ready for winter's bracing embrace. Our hours of daylight wane ever shorter and the dark of evening takes over and drapes us like a loving mantle. 

The waxing darkness is comforting to me.
I feel that comfort because I seek it. And find it.
I wear the mantle of autumn's shadow like the healing shawl that it is.

I honor this time of year ... when the dead are remembered and celebrated in many traditions... when the shadow of night takes hold... when we look ahead, through the darkness, into the heart of winter, where the promise of light's return resides.

It's a time of year where I embrace the darkness because, like a generous gift, there's so much of it. I pull out my fibers and create by the warmth and light of a fire, I invest more time in the studio and engage all manner of creative expression. It's a time of year where I venerate the light because there's so precious little of it, so I do my best to make the most of it, to leverage the daylight hours to add value and meaning in any way that I am able.

May you engage the light and shadow of November. May you feel the loving warmth of this mantle of comfort. May you seek and find.

Peace.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Spacial Transition

Today my studio moved. From one studio to another at the fabulous Whiting Mills in sunny Winsted, Connecticut. Not without the help of spectacular earth angels.

Some placement of items took place throughout the afternoon. Especially my work area, because I have works in process that I need to get at for all you holiday shoppers. The spouse is building me shelves from local, native pine. I told him to keep building them until I tell him to stop. Over the coming days I'll arrange and rearrange and really engage the nesting verve. And I'm looking forward to it.
 Day's end, from the inside looking out.
And the outside looking in. I'm ready to collapse, but not before I offer blessings to those earth angels that made this move so easy, so fast, so special and so sacred. They know who they are.

Peace.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Plans for Shifting with the Season

Yesterday was a pretty typical Sunday at the studio. I puttered in my art journal, worked on some new mini journals and managed my modest inventory of items-for-sale. I enjoyed a few visits and visitors too. But what was less than typical was visiting this space you see here. I wandered quietly around the room, hearing the echoes bounce around the naked room, I held the space to feel the vacant vibration... and to feel the verve that I will soon be making manifest there.

Yes, I'm moving. I'll still be at the fab, historic building that is Whiting Mills in my little town of sunny Winsted, Connecticut, but I'll be moving from one studio space to another this month.

This new space affords me, my students, clients and visitors some added wiggle room for classes, workshops, consultations, healing work, creating, as well as comfy spaces for sitting, sipping, strategizing and assorted heart-to-hearts. It offers wiggle room that inspires consideration to enhancing my retail offerings as well, which is certainly a motivating consideration!

Plus, I'll be easier (much easier) to find in this beautiful puzzle of a building. And I'm sure my fellow tenants who have had to explain countless times to visitors over the past two years how to find me will appreciate this shift as well.

So my plan is to get all moved out of 336 and and settled into 310 after our 3rd Sunday event in October, during the early part of the week of the 19th. But, ya know, plans are fluid things and if it can happen faster, it will.
But for today I continue my garden, kitchen and preserving tasks. And that is where my focus is rooted this week.

Peace.

Friday, October 2, 2015

October's Tenacious Rite and Ritual

Welcome October.

For me it is a month of frantic stillness. It is a month for vibrant tenacity, as the last of the lingering Hypericum perforatum blooms remind me. It's the month that ushers in the gifts of melancholy too. My planned activities are slim in October, though my objectives are many. There's still Food and Medicine harvests to collect and put by, there's craft and art projects to complete and make ready for sale, and there's the quiet "just for me" time to carve into each and every day.

This may be redundant, but October is, for me, a ritual month for rooting, reflecting and projecting. Holistically. I dive deep into my personal, interpersonal, social, business, global and universal choices and challenges, all the while doing my best to stay rooted in The Moment, in my realm of Gaia/Creation/Spirit. And I do my best to make time and space for daily meditation, journeying, and a daily "just for me" activity.

Every. Single. Day.

In this annual ceremony I glean lessons, or reinforce the mysteries that tug for more attention ~ nuggets of wisdom, one and all ~ and in doing so I am able to plan my coming year with at least some degree of conscious awareness. Holistically.

October is a month of tenacity for me, and one that, when I am true to the verve, consistently yields positive potential and outcomes, in mind, will, heart, body and spirit.

Peace.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ready for the Stretch of Urgency


Autumn has arrived in my little corner of the world and I welcome it with open arms. It marks the time of adding an extra blanket on the bed, of sleeves and socks and shoes, and it marks the final seasonal stretch of extreme urgency. 
I've been harvesting greens for drying, canning, fermenting. And cooking for meals, almost daily.
Tomatoes are still coming and I'm still drying and canning those too. I must ferment some, too, for a delicious tomato juice that makes a very special Bloody Mary. ::nods::

I still have beans and peppers, beets and squash, sweet potatoes and eggplant, lemon grass and parsley, calendula and nasturtium, kohlrabi and leeks, carrots and surely others I'm forgetting that will need my attention as the weather waxes frosty. As one who grows most of her own food, I put a lot of pressure on myself as October approaches. When it feels like "too much" I recall my sighs of delight and pleasure when "shopping" in my own pantry in the dark of winter. 
I've been fermenting all manner of harvests too, among them the better known cabbage ferments: Sauerkraut, kimchi, cortido, as well as variations on those themes. I have apple cider vinegar started too, from all the skins and cores from the apples I dried and canned as sauce.
I've been planning and plotting simple mini-workshops, like making your own vanilla and other culinary herbal extracts.
And I've been doing my best to make time to smell the flowers, as they say. Some days it's a real challenge, but I force myself. :)

I'm looking forward to October, when this season of harvest-urgency begins to calm. I look forward to it, too, because it is my month for diving deep, a month for reflection and projection, a month of endings and beginnings, a month of eternal moments with no past or future, a month of mysteries... a month Just for Me.

So today, I make ready for this final seasonal stretch.

Peace.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Good Medicine - All of It

September has somehow evolved into the double-digit phase. How did that happen? Where did the time fly? And from what magic are those wings made?
Yet, I've managed to get many harvests put by, as they say, for the many meals that lie ahead. I've been drying and canning and freezing and fermenting. Not to mention infusing oils and tincturing with delightfully fresh herbal harvests. It's Good Medicine. All of it.
I've tried something new this year, thanks to a online friend and preserving enthusiast. I make quarts (and more quarts, and pints too) of tomato purée and have historically added the "waste" (skins and seeds) to the compost. This year, I've been dehydrating it and blending it into a powder to be added to soups, stews, sauces and who-knows-what-else? It's a new experience for me and I can dig it.
I've canned collard greens and beets too... and have more still to harvest and process. And then some.
I still have dried broccoli from last year, so I've been harvesting and freezing packages for winter enjoyment. Carrots, squash, parsley and leeks are also in the mix of preserves, in their many forms.
And I've been heART journaling on a more regular basis, not daily, but every other day 'r' so. Keeping it simple has been key to this renewed practice. Isn't that always the way? Now... if only keeping things simple were... simple.

That's a taste of what I've been up since the calendar flip. As for today, I have studio time, dispensary time, weather-dependent garden time, kitchen time and then more studio time planned. Wish me well!

Peace.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Brisk Mystery that Sustains

August. It's almost over. Its pace was brisk. It served to keep me focused... on the mystery... and on the ordinary. Every day I've been harvesting and preserving ~ from the gardens and from Life experiences ~ and with still much to come in the gardens I already have countless jars in my pantry selves to sustain me through the literal and figurative months ahead. And now, if history can be trusted, the pace will continue to quicken over the next two months. The season of Urgency approaches. And I welcome it. For rest follows it. Year after year.

And even as the days grow shorter, I find myself moving deeper into the warming rays of Life's light. And, as one who has a long history of embracing the loving shadows of Life, I find the experience both perplexing and welcomed. In my world, the flow of time isn't linear. Like sunrises and sunsets, moon waxings and wanings, it's an intriguing spiral of familiar mystery that comforts me. This journal spread is a silly expression of these things and I share it with you and my creative communities at Mix It Monthly, Paint Party Friday and Art Journal Journey.

So on these final days of August I'll do my best to keep up with the quickening pace of Life and Living, and make time to quietly enJOY the sunny blooms of the season.

Peace.

rose

Friday, August 7, 2015

Playful Gratitude for those Clowns we call Drama

It has been a strange and wonderful week in my little realm. A week filled to overflow with drama of the welcomed and less-than-welcomed variety. The skies have offered dramatic views; with passing storms, sunrises and sunsets that inspire gasps and sighs. And then some. These are moments of drama that I welcome, savor... and invite. Yet other silly and less welcomed moments offered me distinct reminders of life lessons and Wisdom born of experience. I embrace them all. The extremes and the subtle moments, too. And offer gratitude. For all of them.

So today I place a few finishing touches on this week's heART journal spread and I share it with you and my creative friends at Paint Party Friday (who I've missed, by the way).

With that I offer you this: Get out there. Do something. Anything. Go. Now. Do.

Peace.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

An August Verve

Hard Neck Garlic
Merry August and welcome to the last full month of summer!
Ripening Tomatoes
The tempo of the season is picking up pace on my little acre and I know that in August things will start revving up like mad, with the kinds of daily tasks that can not be rescheduled. As July came to a close, summer garden harvests began to find their stride.   We harvested our garlic harvest and new seeds were planted for late summer and autumn harvests (and that continues). 
Buckets of Beans
But now, August ushers in daily pickin's of beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, various herbs, and other gentler harvests that only demand attention every other day or so. As a grower of my own Food and Medicine it's not only a busy time, it's an exciting time. And for those of you who receive my newsletter, this is redundant, but it's true: The cycles of the seasons never cease to amaze and inspire me.
Cilantro, Daikon and a Wee Carrot
I project that August will be a challenging month for me, with classes, workshops, consultations, demonstrations, art and craft creating, and the tasks that fill my pantry... and I'm up for it!

Peace.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today


Today.
I prepare my mind, will, heart, body and spirit.
Today.
I collect and prepare offerings of meaning and value.
Today.
I make manifest.
Today.

Peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Room to Reach


Garden Ferments
Black Currant Fizz ~ another garden ferment!
Daucus carota ~ wild carrot
Rhubarb Jelly
I've been busy. Journaling. Harvesting. Dreaming. Preserving. Doing. Empowering. Manifesting. 

In short: Reaching.
Peace.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Busy-ness, Breaking and Blessings

June has been exceptionally busy. For me. Filled with events and workshops, comings and goings, garden demands and wild-harvesting, deliveries and doings, forgiveness and gratitude, associates and friends and loved ones.
No matter how I slice these experiences, Nature is present. With this realization, I was inspired to make myself a botanical Spirit Bundle, and figured if I'm making one, why not a few extra?
Today they get unwrapped and sit atop mugwort stems in the solar dehydrator for a final kiss of sunny drying.
I've been harvesting my local allies for food, craft fodder and Medicine. Today I have more Saint Joan's wort and violet leaf to harvest... among other botanical allies.
I was blessed over this past weekend with an intimate workshop to share the simplicity and empowerment of making one's own kombucha. This experience offered an opportunity to re-meet (that's right, re-meet) a lovely local woman who, as serendipity would have it, raises angora rabbits to spin her own fiber and consequently has a bunny "waste" management challenge. And there I am... with my compost. So bunny "waste" has been added and the compost pile turned for the first time this season. Connections/relationships steer it all!
I was blessed with some art time over the weekend. Craft time, too.
And actually began a new spread in my art journal. Such amazing Medicine this is, giving mind and heart to the busy-ness of June and to the coming of July, a TaB (Take a Break) month for me, with only a few external commitments, and lots of time and space for Me, my gardens and preserving, my wild-harvesting, my herbs, my art, my loved ones. And my spirit. I especially look forward to rekindling my relationship with my botanical ancestors in some very intentional ways.  When lay it out like this I wonder: What exactly is it from which I'm breaking? And I smile and feel ever so blessed.
I invest this final day of June in setting the tone and rhythm for the month ahead as I look forward its full arrival. I'll be kicking off the eve with a grilled feast of homegrown and local deliciousness, served outdoors, and tomorrow will be shared with my spouse and playtime at the studio, and Thursday's activities depend on the weather, yet will wind down with a visit to the opening reception for J. Timothy Quirk's wonderful art project, "Our Stories," for which I feel sweet gratitude in having been included.

So I whether I'm busy or breaking, I do feel blessed. Challenges and all.

Peace.