Sunday, May 30, 2010

rhythm of the home - summer! healing basket and friend

rhythm of the home. the healing basket and the healing friend finger puppet are my contributions this time around - with additional herbal assistance from my friend annie. serendipitously, last week meg posted about her family's healing basket on sew liberated. do look through those comments for a slew of ideas for building your healing basket! there are a ton i'd like to add to ours. i will definitely need a larger basket!

in truth, we keep healing tools throughout our abode. you may remember seeing our herb shelves in this post. i keep tinctures on top of that shelf as well. we also have some herbal allies in the bedroom, the kitchen, and cabinets here and there.
another idea i wanted to mention was suggested to me by some waldorf kindergarten teachers. they kept some smooth glass crystals in the freezer for little owies, in lieu of an ice pack. the magic of 'healing crystals' is very powerful for the little ones! you could even sew up a special pouch in which to hold them. what do you think? do you have any tried and true healers in your home? or out your doorstep? do share! and many many thanks to heather, bernadette and julia for another stunning issue of rhythm of the home!

tutorial - waldorf-inspired sock doll - 6. body stitching (zipper stitch!)

here's the links past for this multi-post tutorial on waldorf-inspired sock dolls:

make your own, from materials you already have! this is a great way to repurpose holy socks with no other use and create a friend for your child, or another!

the next step is really very simple, but it requires a special stitch; the zipper stitch. here's a good close-up of the zipper stitch on my first doll:
a zipper stitch cinches two pieces of fabric together with parallel stitches. see how this creates a zig-zag looking seam? it is also very flexible for shaping pieces as you go. i use it to sew up most of my stuffed creatures. the smaller the stitches you make, the smaller the zig-zagging will appear. it is almost invisible on thick wool.
1. we will begin to stuff and sew the rest of the body together. you will need lots more stuffing - recycled sock bits or what-have-you. turn the cuff down as much as possible, and use a long dowel or other tool to push the stuffing into the toes. (i used a marker.)
2. this step is optional, but pretty neat. especially if you like to make shoes for your dollies. after you stuff a 'foot area' (keep in mind, you can shape these more or less than i have in your sewing too), place a pin where you would like the ankle to be. the pin will hold space for the ankle to be flexible, and you will sew it up later.
3. stuff the legs. squeeze here and there to get the right body weight. you can easily overstuff with the stretchy sock material, so shape it as you go.
4. now turn the cuff inside itself (tucking it inside all the way around) so that it is the proper length for your body. this will be up to you to determine. you will leave any 'extra' you might have on the inside - just for added stuffing. in this way, you will also be able to keep the cuff folded down more in the under arm area of your doll, and scootch a little fabric up toward the front and back of the neck as needed.
5. add stuffing, again squeezing and shaping as needed. then pin the cuff/body piece all the way around - under the arms, at the neck, and the back. now you will simply use the zipper stitch to cinch it all together! be sure you are sewing the body to the neck just under the head tie off (not the head!).
6. if you've chosen to do the articulated feet, sew a little line of zipper stitch across the front at the ankle. you will probably want to hold the foot at the angle you desire (more or less perpendicular) while you sew.
that's it! now we just need to embroider a face, and add hair. the way i know how to make hair involves crochet, but i know there are ways to sew it in instead too. you'll just have to do whatever works best for you!

i made a little silent video of the zipper stitch. don't be confused by my little fumbles though. you don't need to start each stitch *in front* of where the last stitch comes out. it's best to start each stitch *right behind* where the last stitch ended. it gets tricky with knit fabrics sometimes (or at least it did for me!). the teacher i worked with would tell the students: "horizontal stitch, horizontal stitch, then cinch, horizontal stitch, horizontal stitch, then cinch." i plan on making a smaller 'knot doll' tutorial too, if this seems overwhelming to you. as always, please ask away if you have questions or there are areas that need more clarification.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

rain and rose-colored jelly

forgive my absence, but it has rained every single day since last tuesday. our clothesline days have been temporarily suspended. the grey makes for hard photo-ing too. but colden and marc (who took this photo) did find a bright spot during the street fair saturday. and a red balloon! we even had a rainbow at our gathering on sunday!

i did spend some good indoor chilly weather cooking up some rose petal jelly to chase away the rainy day blues. (oh yes, and did some baking.) i used:

4 cups rose petals
4 cups water
2 1/5 cups honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 pkg. of pomona's

i chopped the rose petals and simmered for a long time, so i replaced some of the water that boiled off. the honey was an orange blossom variety from azure, so the jelly tastes exquisite. like sweet orange-y rosiness. we're going to make a whole lot more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

papa's birthday

it was marc's birthday on tuesday. he was born the day mt. st. helen's erupted - within the hour. this past weekend his childhood best friend surprised him with a visit. he showed up at the opening of marc's show on friday night, and stayed for the weekend. he was content to garden with us and cook (in the periods of time where marc wasn't doing the show). we think they are 6 years old in this picture.

marc took tuesday off work and we worked outside most of the day - he even worked through bits of rain. we decided to add some boxes to our garden for summer squash and cucumbers. this will help keep the dogs from trampling them. marc got the wood from the rebuilding center.

i dug a firepit and edged it with rocks and moss. yesterday morning there was a magical ring of shiny slug trails around it. marc got the rocks and dirt to fill the boxes out in hillsboro.

we're having folks over for a picnicky gathering to celebrate marc on sunday afternoon. saturday there is a street fair in our neighborhood. envision good weather for us this weekend! we're hoping to be outside!

Friday, May 14, 2010

ta-dah! tie dye pants!

still loving how the tie dye pattern does or doesn't match up from pant to pant and front to back. the second from the right, where the legs look like they match? - it actually lines up to look like a continuous pattern on the rear. too cute. i find them all enchanting, but of course i would! happy weekend, friends!

Monday, May 10, 2010

kids sewing week... days one + two

this was just the motivation i needed to finally get some pants sewn up for colden. in fact, i even took my nap time hours monday to the sewing room and got to cutting. a thrifted cotton tie dye sheet yielded four pairs. i used the oliver + s bedtime story pajama bottoms, without the cuff binding since i used a hemmed edge for the bottom. lo and behold, when needle came to fabric, it began sewing backwards. i thought all was lost. i even considered having a go at it with the serger. (i took a serger class last week at modern domestic, so i guess i was feeling bold.) or maybe borrowing a friend's machine? when i got a different set of eyes (papa's) on the machine tuesday morning, however, it was a simple fix. little hands had set the stitch length to 'zero'. boy, did i feel a mixture of relief and, well, silliness.

here is one thing i like to tell myself that you too may tell yourself if you are sometimes a bit backwards in your sewing. in my waldorf teacher training, i was told that children often write their letters backwards for a time because they are just so close to the spiritual world. everything is backwards there from how it is in earthly life. and so i assume it must be with me. i am just so close to the spiritual world that i sewed the waistband in backwards, ironed it backwards, and probably, the backwards sewing is due to this too.

it needs hemming (as do all of them), but i figure that means we might get extended wear out of them too! it is totally fun to see how the tie dye does or doesn't match up from pair to pair. after i sew the fourth pair, and get elastic in all of them, and hem them, i will show them all off in their tie dye glory. and maybe sew something else before week's end? are you participating in the challenge? any sewing that's been on your to-do list forever?

my mother's china

it was actually my father's mother's. he bought it for her when he was stationed in japan during his time in the air force. then it became my mother's china. we always used it for thanksgiving and christmas - with epic washing by hand after the meal. these pieces, however, came from an estate sale i visited a few months back. i recognized the pattern immediately, and when i turned them over, there it was: noritake. (luckily, my parents always referred to it as the noritake china or i'd never have known what to look for.) the lady of the estate said they had been her husband's mother's and that she was italian and served many massive meals on them. i was assured that they had been well-used and well-loved. and how happy it made the lady of the estate that they would go on to be cherished. she had been worried about attending the estate sale for potential sadnesses that might arise, but instead was heartened to find new loves for her old things. what wisdom. it's tricky, isn't it? all the holding and all the letting go of motherhood. i hope all you mamas had time to hold close and time to let loose this weekend. and please know how very much you are appreciated.

p.s. mom, i couldn't fit the platters in the priority mail box, so they will have to take their chances in our house until i can get them to you. xoxo

Saturday, May 8, 2010


i used some of my generous birthday gift card at knit purl this week. so thrilled that they had a few extra large (and gorgeous!) crochet hooks by local woodworker; jenkins! they will be perfect for making recycled nests and hedgehogs and other creations to come! i also picked up some 'grand canyon' merino top by chasing rainbow dyeworks. i'm excited to do a bit of spinning on my drop spindle!

i also bought some luxuriously soft sublime extra fine merino to get to work on alicia's anneke dress (paired with a rusty cascade 220). i'm testing the six month size, and i am having such fun working on it!

and i've been hooking this tam for a friend. i have a thing about gauge. as in, my spatial abilities are sometimes wonky. so i may see how this felts when all is said and done. i am really grooving on crochet these days. i'm mostly a knitter, but i'm finding crochet very satisfying! i usually prefer knitting because it is more intuitive to me since i've done it longer, but i find crochet quicker. and i love that you can design-as-you-go too. do you knit and crochet? have a preference?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

a bit of mending

it took me a while to mend marc's shirt. it's quite a tear, and frankly, i didn't know what to do. inspiration came through lisa's make a plan for your dreams course.

she said, put it out there - wear your heart on your sleeve. oh yeah! of course! and wouldn't you know it - the tear is even heart-shaped. so, after hand sewing a little backstitch around the edges, i cut a wool felt heart to size.

a little blanket stitch, and there is your mended metaphor, ready-to-wear.

our big dream? well, in many ways, we are already living it. but we actually shared it when we got married. we told our friends and family that our big dream was to own land on which to grow herbs and children. and our dream still tugs our heartstrings. but right now we're ever-so-grateful for our own (rented) backyard gardens. for more dreamworthy musings, check out rachel's post here. i felt little twinges of delight just reading!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

happy may day!

this morning i braided my hair with flowers to celebrate.

we went to the forest (park) and harvested horsetail...

...and stinging nettles. (both in disturbed area, not the park, worry not!)

colden scattered cornmeal in thanks, from the safety of my back. in my packing, i neglected to actually put the sack of gloves in the car. it did make for a very mindful harvest. and when i say i wouldn't do it again... well, i probably will, you know. but, i didn't even get stung!

then we picnicked and hiked to the stone house - a relic of the works progress administration. oh, the wpa! such beauty you've brought us here in oregon! and this was all before nap time. we spent the afternoon doing more chicken coop building and gardening, and have more to do tomorrow. what a lovely day!