Sunday, June 19, 2011

And the winner is....



Adrienne!!!!
Since there were only 3 entered, Kim and Crystal, send me your address and I'll send you a prize (a handmade book with a vintage stamp). Thanks for playing along!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Backyard happenings

Nudity and snacks.

Preparing to sell mostly organic plant-dyed yarn....see one you want???

Enjoying our second batch of angora babies...born Monday....and Mama has been taking good care of them this time around.I think they're gonna make it.
It's not too late to enter the giveaway! I'll be drawing a winner Sunday morning....a gift for a mother on Father's Day(I assume, as so far only mothers have entered)!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why buy...dog treats

Indeed, why buy dog treats? Aren't they just souped up dog food in different shapes? Does your dog care about this?
Mine doesn't, and in making dog treats, I get to give in to my dog's nature...the one that says "scavenge with all your might".
so I fling open the cupboards, and I scavenge.
Flaxmeal showing signs ofmoth visits? It's going in.
Remnants of 3 open jars of peanut butter? Down you go.
Buckwheat flour I'm tired of staring at? For substance.
Anything else I can find that serves a dual purpose of cleaning out the cabinets and feeding my dog? Going in. And then I add garlic powder and brewer's yeast for flea prevention, powdered chlorophyll and spirulina for fresh breath, and eggs and olive oil for a shiny coat.
Mix it all until you are satisfied with the consistency. Have your kids make nice treat-like shapes. Bake and then give to your treasured pooch!
This is what it looked like in the bowl:
then I decided to grab my camera and have a learning opporunity in abstract photography. In other words, I played with my dog's pre-food.
Here are the results and they make my head hurt:






  I swear I see "people" in those  photos.Off to find a focal point...or something....or just stare into white noise on a TV screen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Giveaway!

To kick off my new blog, and properly celebrate my mid-life "opportunity"(see "deep" paragraphs following), I am giving away a signed copy of Handmade Home. It is slightly used but only because ALL the books in this house look slightly used, especially if they are out at the same time the 2-year-old is out. So, to enter, 1. leave a comment 2. follow me on Twitter (cochinealbunny) and come back here and let me know 3. follow me here on blogger. 4. tell others about it and be entered twice, and tell me that you did that.
And, although I am tempted to not require any of that nonsense, this blog must go on. But, if you don't comment, you can't be entered. Rules are rules.
Be entered twice if you can tell me a funny midlife crisis story, or come up with a less-cliche` name for it-that thing that starts when you're 42-ish, because I hate the term "midlife crisis", or just lie and tell me you know exactly what I'm talking about, even though you aren't currently experiencing any kind of crisis or growth opportunity. Empathy counts.
So, now to delve deeper.
In a way, I am giving away a part of myself. That early 20's part of me that greeted the world with sincere bravado and I'm-going-to-change-the-world idealism? She's older now. And that shining cup of idealistic certainty? It's been tarnished by the sure fingerprints of Reality. This leaves me at the crossroads....where the idealism of my 20's meets the reality of my early 40's. And my always-protective gospel of pragmatism is leaving me very hopeless indeed. This is where I must choose....I can no longer be an innocent. Innocence, Pollyanna, blind optimism...these don't work either. There is emptiness there too. I can no longer operate out of idealism, but now I have the opportunity to acknowledge reality in another way and consciously CHOOSE. I can walk by the dark alley and fall victim to those thugs of bitterness, resentment and cynicism. Ugh.Who wants to hang around that all the time? OR, I can love them into powerlessness.
I have the power to choose,and I choose to see, and still purpose to choose love, and choose the high ground. It won't be easy, this shift from innocence to responsibility. But if I am ever going to grow into true responsibility for myself, and that quality isn't automatically bestowed on you because of age, then I have to do some major shifting.
I want to write more about this midlife thing...I want to tell you more. I want to go a little further beyond craft-blog-ness and really stretch and grow. But for now, accept my gift, a token of my innocence, for this book certainly represents the girl I was in my 20's...loving antique hankies, making things with my kids, just beginning to explore sewing for myself and my children, accumulating vintage sewing notions, being resourceful, etc. I think you will  love this book if you love those things too, and much more

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Gift to Our School




Earlier this spring, our school was gifted with these incredible stones. I think they are beautiful and amazing... one more way to surround children with art and beauty. Marko Pogacnik is the artist, and many major cities across the world have employed his talents to place these stones with a healing intention for the earth.
Locally, Foxhollow Farm has a circle of stones (ever read that book?) that you can hike to. Here is a link to more stone activity that happened at Foxhollow.
What an incredible blessing to our school.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dress yourself

Why buy salad dressing? I mean, honestly. It is one of those things that is solely for convenience. Once one has experienced the pleasures of good olive oil, experimented with flavored vinegar, or tried combining things Iike dates and nuts to make your salad dressing it is hard to go back to things in a bottle. And who needs one more soy- or corn-derived product in their body? (most packaged dressings have many of those products in them)
Not to mention summer potlucks. Someone always has a wonderful homemade salad dressing. For instance, there is usually a cucumber salad with a sweetened white vinegar dressing. And there are so many delicious variations of cole slaw...way beyond Marzetti's. If you read my previous "why buy" you will know I love homemade mayonnaise. Put that on your cole slaw or egg salad.....mmmmmmm.
The traditional proportion of vinegar to oil in a salad dressing is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. Our family tends to like a lot more acid, and I don't limit myself to vinegar. There is lemon and lime juice, too. I do make a lot of the normal balsamic/olive oil/mustard/ salt and pepper dressings.
My aboslute personal favorites are dressings that come from a raw un-cook book called The Raw Truth.
Here are a few of those recipes, with a few minor alterations, all blended per your appliance of choice

Miso-tahini dressing

2 tbs. Tahini
2 tbs. White miso
1 seeded, soaked date
1/4 cup lemon juice
Sesame oil or water to thin

Avocado-parsley dressing

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
Handful of fresh parsley
1/4 cup or more of lemon juice
Bragg's or tamari to taste
Water or olive oil to thin

Cashew Ginger dressing

Two pieces of fresh ginger the size of your thumb, peeled
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours and drained
Tamari to taste
Generous dollop of agave nectar
1/4 cup rice vinegar (or to taste)
Water or sesame oil to thin


I love to experiment with almond butter, dates, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and fresh ginger, since I do like a bit more of an oriental taste.

I can also approximate the dressing you get on salads from a Thai or sushi restaurant:
Mix together 3 carrots, a stalk of celery, 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, a sprinkling of sucanat, and 1/2-3/4 cup of mayonnaise. You may have to experiment with the proportions....I always do.

And someday, I would like to try Martha Stewart's Caesar salad dressing (on her website).
Stick around here...I have a giveaway on Friday!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I woke up to this: Sleeping children

Does anything wash over you the way a peaceful sleeping child does? I have always been fascinated that no matter what the struggles and frustrations of the day, no matter how many containers of Bon Ami have been dumped on the floor,no matter how many times he's helped me "dye" by putting wool in the baby pool, no matter how many times he runs from me with his diaper a mess, no matter all that, when he is sleeping, he is an absolute angel. He is "esmo" kisses and "Mommy, hold you." He is, "Mommy, 'mon!" and "beep! baaa baaa" when he sees a picture of sheep. He is small hands grabbing my face to look at him as he enthusiastically shares another discovery. He is the constant-motion picture I want to hold still and relish just a few moments...minutes...years more. Watching my children sleep fills me with wishes for their lives and delighted wonderings about their growth. Watching a sleeping child is surely one of the pleasures of being a parent.
Maybe I should start envisioning adults as sleeping children, for surely they were at one point,and surely their mothers watched and wondered over them as well. I would certainly gain compassion!
I woke up to this during the early morning, but every moment with a child is an unfolding and awakening. How lucky I am to be able to witness and learn from it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dyeing Days

During the school year, I often come home from work and start drizzling olive oil into an iron skillet and then chopping vegetables. Soon, the house is filled with good smells andI am a much calmer person.Chop, chop, chop does wonders for soothing the worries of the day.
Now, the school year is over and I can breathe a bit, just like chopping vegetables at the end of the day.. Only now, it's dye pots and wool. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this.
Do you remember the first day of school as a child? Do you remember having a fresh box of Crayolas? I used to get so excited over new crayons. I would try to keep them organized for awhile, but luckily some creative project or a new coloring book allowed me to shake things up and they'd be tattered, broken, overly sharpened, or peeled into oblivion. Ah, those were the days.
Now that I'm 42, different things amuse me, but I couldn't help but think back to those Crayolas as I was dyeing. I think what gives me such pleasure is filling my days with color and child-like playfulness (I am truly sanguine, after all!)




I can hardly wait to card and spin and felt with these new colors!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Celebrating


Last night, I celebrated 9 years of teaching in a Waldorf school....teaching handwork and music. To celebrate, I took a little trip...a wool buying trip. I also took along two precious bags...one filled with soft Shetland wool from Kentucky and Indiana sheep, one filled with angora fiber from my own sweet bunnies.
While there, they revved up their relatively ancient machines and processed the two bags into one box of roving, while I waited, and toward the end of their work day.What incredibly nice people (Ohio Valley Natural Fibers, if you are in the midwest! Worth a field trip with the kids.)
Ahhhhh....I wish you could feel it.

And then my treat to  myself....something I have not had the time to do for a very long time....sit and spin. Spinning puts me in a state of calm like nothing else. So I started in on that box of beautiful fiber.

Close, oh close the shadows steal, night will soon be coming
Turn my little spinning wheel, I love your gentle humming
Round and round you lightly go, gleaming by the fire's glow
Humming, humming, humming
(spinning song- I am unsure of the words)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Waking Up

What you wake up to in the morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day. Waking up to something  means you have noticed it...maybe for the first time, or simply with a fresh perspective. Waking up comes at the end of sleep, like water comes at the end of dryness. Waking up...observing..is part of the creative process...it is life-giving and healthy.
Surely, morning can set the tone for the whole day. Dreams from the night before linger, sleep or sleeplessness fog our thinking, rain or sun set the tempo of our mood, we are sharper,sensitive.
Waking up from a delicious dream and finding it in reality happens also.
While I believe one can choose happiness or love in the moment, I also believe in moments of transformation....that the opportunity for choice lies in circumstance, and it is never an  opportunity to sugar coat or deny what is real. It is an opportunity to grow through...to accept and acknowledge...to give in to the waking.
Life throws circumstances at me that I can't handle with grace or bravado.
But every morning is new...
I grab my camera...what do I see with morning eyes? What is fresh and glistening with hope? What does waking up promise to me?
Over the summer, I am going to post my personal awakenings once a week.
Today, we woke up to this:


The morning rush filled with complaints about breakfast. It was the last full day of school. No complaining could muck up the absolute glee of the LAST FULL DAY.
Looking back, looking forward....next year,second grade for Serena and baby brother gets to join us. The summer transformation as I leave one school year behind, take what I have learned and put it to rest, and bring out projects I have long put aside.
Everyone, now,muster your summer's-here-shout-of-joy: WOOHOO!!!!