Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to 2009!

"Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are -- chaff and grain together -- certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."
-- Dinah Mulock











Greetings and Salutations to you all:


I hope your best moments of 2008 will be the worst of 2009.


This year was the year that I reached the dark night of the soul…this was the year that broke me into shards and putting me back together was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can’t really explain why or how it happened but it did and now I’m back.

Everyone goes through watching their loved ones age and I knew that it wasn’t easy but I had never lived it for myself. I once worked in a nursing home and I kept on doing it until one of the residents I loved passed on. I’m too emotional at everything and it really tore me up inside. I never could go back after that and I hated myself at being so weak.
This is my sis, me and Mom during happier times.

In a few weeks we will move Mom to the 3rd floor because Assisted Living doesn’t provide enough round the clock care. After her fall two weeks ago everyone thinks this is for the best. There comes a time when each new hurdle seems to get easier and there are times when I still break down and cry for the silliest reasons.

I’ve realized that I can’t make her happy no matter how hard I try and it isn’t my job to do so. All I can do is love her and be there for her; which I believe I do to the best of my ability. Sometimes for a moment I see my old Mom in there but mostly the woman I knew is gone. I’m trying my best to get to know this new woman with my Mother’s beautiful green eyes and warm smile.

On Friday they are taking pictures of Dad’s heart. There is something wrong with a valve or something…could you please keep him in your thoughts or prayers?

We’ve been cleaning the house as much as we are able and at times it feels like we are just getting nowhere…there is still so much to do. My father won’t abandon ship until every book has been found a new home and as much as I want to I’ve stopped pushing for him to move. If he wants to stay in his house then so be it.

His life and memories are in that house and if he wants to take a while to sift through them before he lets go then I’m not saying a word. He has lived in that house since he said his vows to Mom. My sister and I grew up in that house. At night the walls echo with childhood laughter and good memories.

My house is full of childhood laughter 24-7. Adjusting to two families under one roof was difficult but so worth it. I’ve gotten to know my BIL a little bit better and as I’m always saying he is so a better Mom then me. He takes his kids to High School Musical or Ravens Training Camp he is always looking for new things to do with them. He baked cookies for all the kids in all the classes and the Y…he is a devoted Father and his kids always come first…ALWAYS.

I guess I feel like right now it is hard for me to be the kind of Mom who plans stuff and has arts and craft things set up for the weekend. Though my son did mention he wanted to learn how to knit or crochet sometime soon! We cook together once a week because he loves it. We baked cookies and bread for two weeks straight during the holidays. All the kids liked to bake cookies and they were a big help. I try to keep up with things for school and he never goes in empty handed when stuff is assigned.

I listen to him and all his ideas and never shoot down his dreams no matter how outrageous they may be. When we play I always tell him that just because he failed this time doesn’t mean he will the next time. And just because he failed this time it doesn’t make him a failure. He’s watched me try something over and over until I got it just to prove a point.

Whatever he’s been interested in I’ve nurtured. I’ve never pushed him into something just because I felt he should do it. He knows that he is loved and cherished. And he tells me that I’m a good Mommy and I try and believe him.

My “mommy issues” go way back and that is a post that I still haven’t had the courage to write. So…suffice it to say this is one of my biggest hurdles to overcome…believing I’m good enough for this amazing little human who puts so much faith in me.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this post but you see this is the way that my whole life is right now. The good and the bad all woven together and me doing the best I can.
This is my crazy quilt tarot bag that I made a few years back. It is full of love, memories and symbols and if I was a quilt...I think I'd look a lot like this. :)

My personal goals for this New Year are scaled down from previous years:
I want to post once a week – I’m trying for Wednesdays
I want to keep up on RSS feeds and e-mail daily
I want to learn to knit socks Cat Bordhi style
I want to take a spiritual bath once a week
I want to do at least one reading each month
I want to learn to cook one new dish
I want to maintain 150 pounds or go lower but not higher


But mostly I want to be surrounded by family and friends.


No matter how you spend it may your New Year’s celebration be safe and joyful! Here’s to 2009!

Ruinwen
:)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Pay It Forward Exchange

Sheldon

Months ago I joined the “pay it forward exchange” on Oharu's website and then life happened. To quote a friend I've "created a new normal" for my life now and I am working on attending to my prior obligations before creating new ones.

The Pay it Forward Exchange is based of the concept of the movie Pay it Forward where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on.

So here’s how it works:
I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange.

All gifts will be kept secret until after they are received. I will complete all gift projects within 3 months time. I know I can handle 1 project a month.

What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

1.) In your comment, tell me what colors you like. Also, please tell me if you have some allergies, or if there’s something else I need to know. I have two cats and their fur is unfortunately hard to keep out of things. If you are allergic then this may not be the exchange for you.

2.) I know that not everyone has or wants a blog. If you’re one of those people who has no blog and no desire to create one, you can still participate if you post the promise in an online forum where you participate. Include the link in a follow-up comment so that I can check out the forum.

And that is it. Sorry that only the first 3 posters will be part of the exchange. Regardless of what happens I will follow through with this exchange.

I love the whole idea of the pay it forward energy. Just like RAOK...it is a beautiful idea. I'm the kind of person who leaves notes for people I don't know just to cheer them up...or I pay the toll guy for the next person...or do something fun and or stupid just to make someone smile...so this exchange is right up my alley.

:)
Ruinwen

* That is my 2nd Sheldon up there. I made him for my son's teacher and she loved him. It really is a fun knit and I finished him in three days. :) *

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happy Yule!


YULE
by Ruinwen

Oh tiny Jesus, lying in a manger.
Oh tiny Horus, cradled in Isis's arms.

Oh tiny Pryderi, suckling at Rhiannon's breast.

Oh tiny Persephone, Demeter is overcome with joy.

Oh tiny Bacchus, Semele love shines upon you.

Oh tiny babe, child consort of the Goddess.

Ameratsu comes out of her cave,

And the world is once again new.


I welcome back the Sun

With outstretched arms

And a receiving heart.
I welcome back the Sun
To be reborn in my soul.

I welcome back the Sun

Who breathes back

Warmth and life into my existence.

May your Light become mine

As we grow as One.


Jesus,

Horus,

Pryderi,

Persephone,

Bacchus,

The God,

Ameratsu,

Today become reborn through me.

As the Light returns,

May my soul ignite with its beauty and life.

May the Light fill me with it's newness

And renew my life's purpose.

Thank you for the courage and passion

That your sacred fires bring.

Thank you for the warmth that has returned

A sense of goodness and peace this night to the world.


*Whatever path you follow may the blessings of the season be yours this day and every day.*
Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meme

Dibosai of Interwoven tagged me with this meme. So here goes:

What are the last 3 things you purchased?
Nicky Epstein’s new book
Prosciutto
Frap at Starbucks

What are the last three songs you downloaded?
Savin’ Me by Nickleback
If Everyone Cared by Nickleback
And the RUSH 2112 Album

What are the three best places you visited?
Hawaii, Virginia Beach, Colonial Beach

What are your three favorite movies?
It really depends on my mood…so I’ll be totally eclectic here.
Wanted, Emma, Holes

What three things can you not live without?
Besides my family, friends and community…?
Touching fiber once a day
Playing some sort of game even for five minutes
Coffee

What would be your three wishes?
See after playing D&D and reading the Monkey’s Paw you get the idea that all wishes can be turned into something else and bite you on the %&# in the end. I could wish for a million dollars, but that money would have to come from somewhere. So you make an addendum to the wish that the money not be stolen. But then it could be money that was going to be shredded or something and then the FBI would come after me. Or that million could have been slated to help a poor family who really has nothing and my wish would take it from them. I could go on with examples but I think you get the idea. In the end you get a list of addendums that are longer then the wish itself...and there will still be a loop hole. Call me silly and cynical but I can’t in good faith answer this question.

What are three things you haven't done yet?
In life or in general…?
Published a book
Gotten a black belt
Traveled to Kyoto

What three Celebrities do you want to hang out with the most?
Neil Gaiman
Joss Weldon
Hayao Miyazaki

Name three things that freak you out.
Heights
Needles
Bridges

What are your three favorite dishes?
Sushi
Pomegranate and sausage stuffed game hens in vermouth and sherry sauce
Beef satay

Name three things you are good at.
Knitting
Writing
Researching

What are three things you are currently coveting?
knitntonic’s new book
Alex’s bobble and cable hat from Wizard’s of Waverly Place
Stryker’s book in the Dark Hunter series

I’m not going to challenge anyone. If you want to do this then feel free and have fun.
:)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Color Me Double

"Enlightenment must come little by little -- otherwise it would overwhelm."

-- Idries Shah

Reversible knitting side #1

Reversible knitting side #2

I saw this swirly pattern in Nicky Epstein's Signature Scarves and loved it. I didn't want to line it though and I definitely didn't want to do duplicate stitch.

So I decided to try something new. I've been wanting to learn about double knitting where you knit two sides of a fabric at once. The two sides mirror each other except their color schemes are reversed. It makes a thicker fabric but as you can see, the results are just amazing.

I've always thought this technique would be difficult but it turns out it is really simple and surprisingly enjoyable. I think my next double knitting project will be to remake my slip stitch cats in a scarf. I am loving that idea for fall. The nice thing about this technique is you can take any colorwork pattern with two colors and recreate it. With double knitting you don't need to twist the threads or carry yarns you just choose the one you need and knit it. Think of the possibilities!

This scarf has been an exercise in shifting my perception. When I'm on the rainbow side, I must admit I tend to get excited at watching the colorway shift. On the opposite side I love to watch the colors penetrate the inky blackness. But I really do love both sides equally. If you asked me to choose...I'm not sure I could.

The truth of the matter is I wish I could look at myself with the same lack of scrutiny. I'm like this scarf in so many ways. On the one side I'm a big happy kid who is passionate about life. Everything empowers me. Life and nature is a constant source of wonder for me. I find beauty and meaning in everything and my loves are as diverse as a rainbow.

On the other side I'm easily discouraged and quit many projects when the going gets rough. I have a horrible temper which I most often turn against myself. When I allow doubt and worry to take over I become lost in it...it's like trying to find my way in a night without stars.

Either extreme can be severely dehabilitating. My happy :) smiley face self struggles with the stresses and every day challenges to stay upbeat and empowered. And my negative :( think the worse self finds it hard to stay down with so many blessings abounding through my life.

When I see this scarf I can see both sides of me a little more clearly...the fabric provides just a little glimpse of enlightenment about my inner workings.

In some temples in Tibet there is a practice of putting out food for the negative spirits before one meditates. This appeases them so that they can eat happily and not disturb the meditative process.

Don't Think About SquirrelsDon't Think About Squirrels

Many believe that when it comes to inner demons, that if you resist them then they become more powerful. Try saying, "I'm not going to think about squirrels." Don't think about them all day. I bet you won't see them in the trees, running all over the place. You probably will not think about how they are storing their nuts for the winter ahead. You probably will not even remember that you said this statement at all.

Studies show that this is not true. Instead you will probably notice how many squirrels there are this time of year. They will seem to be everywhere...like a squirrel population explosion. You will think about them because anything you resist becomes your focus. But if you say, "There are squirrels and I'm okay with that." There is no resistance on your part and you and your relationship will stay as it is...it might even improve.

For some reason I haven't been able to get this out of my head.

But I digress...

I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen

***No squirrels were harmed in the making of this post.***
:)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Harvest of Spirit

Charity Blanket

"Everything in life can be nourishing. Everything can bless us, but we've got to be there for the blessing to occur. Being present with quality is a decision we are invited to make each day."

-- MacRina Wiederkehr


In my belief system now is the time to start harvesting those things we have been growing all year. And though no physical planting occurred, my spirit overflows. I am truly blessed with an awesome harvest. This lapghan is a testament to that.

Certainly to a trained eye it is far from perfect, but things really never are. And what you see in the finished project never lets you truly grasp what lies within the strands of superwash wool.

I had received a thank you letter from an Assisted Living that we support and it had touched me. They always told you exactly what your money had gone to and ours had bought music for an Alzheimer patient who loved listening to the classics. That was when I thought about making a lapghan for them. It would at least give me something to do over the long weekend.

I was making squares when my DH saw them piling up and asked about a border…I told him what I was envisioning and next I knew he was crocheting a border. My DH is amazing like that. He can read knitting patterns too.

My whole mood shifted. I had been wallowing a bit more then I should have because the pain and not sleeping...was not a good combo for me. After I devoured the Starbucks frap the caffeine kicked in and I was at least awake…but still in pain. As soon as I touched the pretty wool I felt better. I should clarify this to read that my soul felt better.

But when DH started working with me my entire spirit lit up. He is always there to uplift me…I am just so blessed. So we worked on this together and even with different gauges and all I think we did quite well. I also think the colors are striking; a reminder of how two different people can come together and make something beautiful together…testament to that is our wonderful son. As always I really enjoyed working the picot border.

This lapghan took maybe…10 hours tops to make. It is a testament of love and commitment of two people working together for a common cause.

So this is my harvest. Skills I can use to make things for others or myself, love which is endless and boundless and the more you give the more you get and a palate of color, which my stash is pretty endless and boundless in itself. lol

Bright blessings,

Happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Sense of Self

Painted Lady

"Enlightenment is ego’s ultimate disappointment."

-- Chögyam Trungpa


My dear friends thank you so much for your outpouring of love and uplifting words. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life.

These last two weeks have been hard as a new obstacle has been present to add to my day-to-day challenges. My leg has been surging with pain that makes it hard to sleep and stand for long periods of time. The only thing that seems to help is my husband’s Reiki.

I’ve been to the Doctor and tests are underway. I’ll keep you posted. Right now I’m doing the best I can to keep doing the things I love.

One of those things is experiencing joy though my son’s eyes. He loves nature and wanted to raise butterflies since he aced raising the moths earlier this year. So we had 10 hungry caterpillars that made 10 beautiful chrysalises and transformed into 10 beautiful painted lady butterflies.

The joy on his face when he watched them fly into the wild was priceless. Now he wants a turtle. I’m going to see how he takes on a little more responsibility in the cat’s daily lives before taking on a new family member. I need to read up on raising a turtle first too. But I think it is good to care for creatures. I just don’t want to be the one doing all the caring. DH has put his foot down to me taking on anything new.

And I totally agree with him. I’m spent…mentally and physically. Only my spirit is still as inquisitive as a child and as free as an ocean breeze. I will fight to keep it that way.

My new goal is not to lose myself while taking care of others and fighting the pain. I realized as I caught up this weekend on RSS feeds and people’s lives, how much I missed the virtual world. I saw very clearly how very important your blogs and mine are to my whole being. Your e-mails and posts brought tears to my eyes and I want you to know how each and every one of you wonderful virtual friends are to me.

For a while there I felt the “me” that I loved was fading. And truth be told, it scared me. Someone who didn’t know me would never notice. I was going to work doing my job, I was there for my family and spent extra time playing with my son, I took care of Mom and Dad and their needs, the house was as clean as it ever is, clothes were washed and put away but there was something missing…I can’t even really explain it or make sense of it…but DH and those who know me really well apparently were waiting for me to realize that I was giving up entirely too much of myself to take care of others.

That was when the pain started in my leg…forcing me to cut back on everything. How many times have I said to clients, “When the spirit is ignored the cause manifests in the physical realm in a new way to get noticed.”

I get it. I notice. I spent the long weekend thinking about what is actually important to me. And where most people think a blog is too much work…I’ve realized that it is a lifeline that I don’t think I want to live without.

This realization doesn’t give me more time to write nor will I be like those organized witty posters who keep us inspired day after day. I’m not even promising projects will get finished because we know I’m bad at the whole “finishing thing”.

What I can promise is I will take five minutes to back away when it all gets too much. I will do one small thing a day to nurture my soul and feed my hungry spirit. But most of all I won’t lose my eclectic and diverse sense of self again.

Bright blessings and happy crafting,
Ruinwen
:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Storms

“Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.”
-- I Ching No. 3


I know I’ve been quiet and far away from blog land and I’ve missed everyone. Life as it is has been as of late has been difficult. The spaces that I used to breathe in seem few and far between. It just seems so hard to get it all in.

Sometimes I just feel so trapped by all the things I cannot change. And I know that this trapping is in my head. So instead of focusing my energy into things that I cannot control I have been working on me. I’m trying to unlearn everything and it is a slow process.

Being a caregiver is not so easy when it someone you love. I used to enjoy being a candy striper and helping people. I designed a garden so that the residents could enjoy the beauty of the flowers and plants. I would sit and learn to crochet dishcloths that they would then sell to earn money for charity.

How I pictured moving Mom up here to assisted living is very different from the reality. I was hoping it would give us more time to get to know one another. I never dreamed how panicked and frightened she would become. I didn’t realize that I would become the adult and she would become the child. How could I have fathomed these daily calls of her discontent would rip my heart out?

It seems everyone is going through this with their parents and everyone has advice. See her less get her to assert her independence. She went on suicide watch. Lay down the law and use tough love. She didn’t stop crying for days. Ignore it and make a joke. She doesn’t get them and it only upsets her more.

So what to do? I just do my best. I try and address her needs without letting her guilt me into feeling that her hating assisted living is my fault. And that is hard to do. I try to get her to enjoy life which, she avoids as much as possible. And it hurts.

I love her so much and it truly is painful to see her so unhappy. I try and address her every need and I see her four times a week plus the whole family comes once a week too. I wash her laundry so it doesn’t have harsh chemicals. I do everything I can to make it easier for her. But it is never enough and it tears on me horribly.

Today is my beloved Mother’s birthday and my parent’s anniversary. Please send her and my wonderful Father good thoughts today. We may have had our ups and downs over the years but I have always thought myself fortunate to have such loving and caring parents.

I am also incredibly blessed that I have such a wonderful DH. He has helped to take Mom hither and yon. He is always there to uplift and support me and insists that I do things for myself and take time outs when I need to. He is amazing in so many ways…even after 11 years just thinking of him makes me smile! :)

My sis has been great too. She helps with the shopping and other weekly tasks. It is great that we can share the responsibilities and make it easier on each other. It is great that there is someone just as weird as I am in this world…so when I break out into song my sis is right there with the harmony. :)

And all of you…you all mean so much to me. I still can’t just erase all those RSS feeds since they are your life stories while I’ve been away. I thank everyone for your words of comfort and support and even if sometimes it seems that I’m ignoring you…I’m not. You all are the best and I love you all! :)
My Son's MothFun in the MudDigging up the PastDem Bones
My son just turned 7! He had a few things that he wanted me to share. First this is his moth that he raised from a caterpillar. Both of his insects survived this year and he was so proud. Soon he will be raising painted lady butterflies and he is so excited!

He had an archeological dig for his birthday. All the kids really enjoyed themselves…including the bigger ones *grin*. After unearthing the bones the kids built them into models. It was a really fun and educational project.
Ball of Yarn Project
Finally, this is what I have knit in all this time. A wonderfully fun scarf which can be found here. It is for the Ball of Yarn Blog. I’m so happy I was able to finish something. The minute I cast this beauty on I was awed by the way the stitches look and it was love at first sight. So much so that I have cast on another in some yummy green merino from MD S&W.

I am also working on WIPs…hoping to finish something but not stressing about it.

I’m really not sure where I am going or what my goals right now are. I just want to be a good wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend to all who are dear to me. I want to eat mostly healthy meals with correct portion sizes. I want to maintain my weight and health. I want to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. But mostly I want to enjoy life with those I love.

Have a wonderful day!

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Me Cubed

Me cubed

I really had fun doing this! :)

As seen at knitorious

Directions:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name. - (I had to use Vixenpath to get a result.)

The Road Less Traveled

"Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time."
-- Asha Tyson

Our town was slammed yesterday by the storm that rolled through here like a freight train. All four counties were without power. I’ve lived here 13 years and never have I seen us hit so hard. Needless to say I was all set up to run a myriad of errands…like any other day…after work. NOTHING was open. I was kinda shocked. No gas, no bank, no post office…all the food establishments were down. The town was black and everyone was wondering what to do with themselves.

At home I couldn’t do laundry, open the fridge or freezer, turn on hot water or see without a lantern in most areas of the house. I called my sis and my BIL to tell them we were without power. I called Mom to see if she was faring okay since she is in the same town I am. And as I hung up the phone I realized the Goddess was giving us a day to just be. The list of things that I had to do would get done at a later time. They could wait.

Our power strip blew and a few of the circuits were tripped but in all reality we were doing fine. I gave DH a massage since his shoulder was hurting and we just laxed for a while. There was no reason to rush or hurry since there really was little we could do. It was like we were, for a moment in time, absolved of all duties and worries.

We went out to I-Hop for dinner 30 minutes away where they had power and ate a leisurely meal. Mom called to say she was okay. We played the games on the kids mat with our son. It was a nice divergence from the norm.

When we got home there was enough light to stuff mice with my son. He really likes the stuffing part. When the power came back on four hours later, I didn’t rush or hurry to catch up because I wasn’t behind…I was right where I should be.

Namaste,

Bright blessings,

Ruinwen
:)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Sheldon is Born

Sheldon
SheldonSheldon
Sheldon and  ShoesCool Shoes
Sallee's BagNana Sadie Rose

Wow! When my son asked for Sheldon for his teacher's baby I never imagined how much fun it would be to make the little guy. My son reasoned that he should have a tail and I changed the pattern to include it. I'm going to make another in a few months. Guess I should finish some WIP's first! *grin*

The shoes are the most amazing thing! They feel like walking barefoot and get your toes to stretch and relax. You have better balance with them too. They come in different colors and when I ran in the rain yesterday, they did not even slip or attempt to come off. Love them!!!

And another beautiful bag from Sallee! I love the black cat, pumpkin theme...love, love, love it! :) And I added a little flickr badge on the side bar for her bags that I have...2 are missing I think....I really love, love, love anything she makes!!! :)

We cleaned yesterday and I'm pretty wiped...but I'll get in my Wii Fit workout and then sit back and knit!

Have a lovely weekend,

Happy Crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sharing the Light

"Any fool can run towards the light. It takes a master with courage to turn and face the darkness and shine his own light there."
-- Leslie Fieger

Last night I had a vision during my weekly Wed spiritual bath. It was clear as day and I felt like I was there. I could hear the water in the stream that the Goddess was standing in. I felt the cold water shock my system that I was standing in. It was amazing and has redirected my purpose.

You see I wasn’t going to take my spiritual bath at first because it had gotten late and sleep is so important to me. But lately I’ve been forcing myself to do it anyway and last night was no exception.

As soon as I hit the water everything changed. The vision hit quickly and I was trying to keep up. The Goddess came to me and told me that I was doing okay with everything…in fact better then She had hoped. That brought tears to my eyes because I feel so scattered and like nothing fits right now. And to prove my point I fell apart in front of Her; fragmenting into a thousand shards of light.

She laughed and held out Her hand and I sprang back together but as I did I saw a core of pulsating, warming…love. I saw everyone’s faces or blog names that have reached out to me and their light combined with mine. It was beautiful beyond words.

But then She opened this gateway between two trees and She showed me that my light was in everyone I touch, write or connect with in anyway. She shared with me a few people I have moved deeply that I never even realized. I cried the whole time at the beauty of giving and receiving and the power of friendships…even with people I’ve never met.

And then She said the most incredible thing that had me stunned. “I want you to take this experience and make it into a shawl. Make one side flow into the other and show the center…show the balance between give and take. When one wears it let them be immersed in a center of love through the shared community of all they have touched.”

And then I saw it. And it was beautiful. So I give you the beginnings of the Joanne’s Shawl. I am dedicating it to my giving, wonderful MIL who has always been there to support me in times of trouble. She gives to her community and family with her whole self. She cares for all creatures, great and small and will lovingly feed any animal that comes close. lol She always is quick with ideas to help people when they feel all is lost and she will always lend her time to help someone in need. She is an inspiration and a beautiful person. I love her so much!

Hopefully I will have some time on Monday to lock myself away and work on this a bit. I know that any pattern takes time and a shawl like the one I saw is a whole new design to me. But I’m excited about the whole process of creating something beautiful without a time table or deadline. This shawl as much as it is for my MIL, it is also for me. It is a balm for my soul, a gift from the Goddess and a spiritual connection to all I hold dear.

When I looked into the darkness of my inner despair I saw all of you. Thank you for helping me to find my light again by sharing yours.

Namaste,

Bright blessings,

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spring Fest

First and foremost I wanted to thank everyone who reached out to me after my last post. I am so blessed to have you all supporting me!

Second, here is the Glady a beautiful interchangable needle case from the amazing mind of Sallee. I love mine. Alas...I do not have a single needle or extension to put in it because I have so many projects. I must remedy that. *sigh*

Sallee's GladySallee's GladyThe Glady

Spring Fair Set UpSpring Fair JewelrySpring Fair Sockcs and Mice
We spent the weekend at fair. Saturday was a nice day followed by a terribly rainy Sunday. No one was buying and for the first time ever we did not make back our site fee. Very depressing. But these things happen.

We did both get projects done. I finshed some baby sock for the LYS and got halfway through a car seat baby blanket and DH made some new pieces of jewelry. So that was nice. It is always nice to be alone for the weekend too. It's kinda like a date with hundreds of people popping in. :)

The community was there for us. One store loaned us displays for the jewelry and we think we will buy some for fall. Another store had a food delivery service which brought us coffee and food goodies so we didn't have to trek out in the rain. My LYS let me warm up and gave us yummy chicken yesterday to snack on.

And my family was there for us too. Nana and Pop Pop watched our child and let us use the truck to haul stuff back. They are such a blessing. :)

So maybe we only made $5 but we are surrounded by people who uplift us and support us. So really it was rainy and a bit cold but it was a wonderful weekend. We have a lot of ideas for fall. I'll let you know as they take form.

And usually at Fair I load up on things I shouldn't...so I saved my bank points for the weekend and I had enough to share a funnel cake but they packed up and left because of the rain! So I noshed on this and that but I had healthy snacks too. I had to have coffee...which can be high in points with the syrups and stuff I like. And then we walked there and back the first day and there the second day which is a nice little walk. So I was pleased as punch this morning when I found I had lost another 2 pounds!

So that's what's going on. Things with Mom really aren't any better. My sis is home safely from her trip...I can't wait to talk to her. The rooms in the basement apartment look really nice. One more coat of paint and I think they're done.

I'm trying desperately to cultivate serenity in little moments here and there. And for the most part it is working. Life is good, I am blessed...Namaste.

Bright blessing and happy crafting

Ruinwen
:)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Adaptation

"The successful man is the average man, focused."

-- Source Unknown



Mom's Shawl
I finally finished Mom’s shawl! Can you hear the halleluiah chorus? I’ve been knitting this with a friend and just decided to start another to knit with her. It actually is about 4 feet long and works perfect with her wheel chair. Yeah finally an FO!

Deer up close

A family of deer came grazing the other day. Deer to me mean many things but these coming to me when they did seemed to be telling me to adapt. That is why they are grazing in my backyard; they’ve had to adapt to a new food source. Deer are also one of my personal totems. They usually are telling me to really look at what is around me and listen to what is being said. They also come to tell me to take care of myself when I am spreading myself too thin.

I was recently talking to a friend about her blog and that it was hers to vent or rant or say whatever and I guess this post will let you see a part of me that is hidden beyond the heartfelt smilies I always feel. It will be totally scattered like I am right now and might not make a lot of sense so be warned.

I’ve really been trying to find some harmonious balance between all the elements of my life and at times I feel I am just barely making due and others I feel the water over my head and I can hardly breathe.

Nana and Pop Pop built the basement rooms for my BIL and his kids and they look amazing. Pop Pop is a genius with electricity and wired each room with separate switches and everything. Goddess bless for such wonderful family!

Having Nana and Pop Pop there was really nice because I could retreat to my room and knit when it all got too much. And last week was too much for me to handle.

Really I’m just a big kid who can be a Mom and an adult when she has to be…and maybe I’ve always been the one people come to and I’m good at figuring things out. But you can’t help someone who just doesn’t want to change or maybe now is incapable of changing…I just don’t know…

My Mother whom I love deeply hates living. She was on suicide watch and it broke my heart to think she was that unhappy. All she is living for is family she tells me. When I get up to go she gets upset and panicky. It hurts to walk out the door knowing she will be miserable until I return.

I don’t know if it is for attention or she is slowly loosing her faculties or a combo of the two. I just know it hurts to see this proud woman I knew so lost and confused. She calls me her lifeline and it scares me that she counts on me for everything because I know I continually fail her expectation of me.

I just can’t keep up. There is always something else wrong…always something else to fix. And I really try to take care of everything I can. I mean she’s my Mom and I would do anything to help her. That’s why I moved her up here so I could see her on my way home from work…so we could run and get her stuff when she needs it.

I know I’m not the first daughter to do this…I really shouldn’t say anything because at least I have a Mom still on this Earth. I feel torn between being selfish for leaving and wanting time for myself and selfless for wanting to give up all my time to help her like she did for me when I came into this world.

So I’ve split into two selves to cope: the happy helpful me that just rolls with everything and the me that as soon as I am out that door runs in the other direction as fast as she can.

I am not adapting well. I have nothing new for Spring Fling this weekend…I mean I did make that jewelry a while back…but there is no time for anything really. My old crafting time I now spend at AL.

On the weekends we are cleaning out Dad’s house and then we have to go through all the stuff and get it to the right place…recycle, consignment, etc. This last weekend we cleaned up until bed time. I really didn’t get a Mother’s Day except for having a wonderful lunch, I missed my son even though I saw him there was no time for us, and I was dead tired. I know BMC Ruinwen…

So that is why there is little FO’s or no posts or no pictures. I really need to take a picture of something wonderful I got but I just haven’t had the chance. *so please forgive me*

I did want to say on the positive side of things I joined WW again because I knew that I should do something. I do very well with organized stuff. I can even deal with chaos as long as it is organized. lol But I’ve been on now since the 7th of April and I’ve lost 8 pounds. I’m not starving myself either. I’ve been enjoying rediscovering veggies and fruits and then on the weekends I have all these extra points. I’m back in my size 12 jeans and they are loose. So I’m pretty proud. :)

So that’s what is going on. Thanks for letting me say all that. So this weekend when the thunderstorms hit think of me and DH in our little tent. I will be blissfully knitting away as he weaves metal.

Bright blessings,

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Monday, May 05, 2008

MD S & W

Ravelry Crowd
This was the Ravelry crowd on Saturday in the rabbit building. I'm actually in this picture. They did a super job organizing the event! Yeah Ravelry! :)

In between cleaning and helping out Mom I visited the Fair. I'm really blessed that I'm about 1/2 hour away. DH and I went on Sat and it was a great day. I had the best lamb kabobs! And the yarn...such beautiful, wonderful, yummy yarn!

And then I went back on Sunday with our wonderful LYS owner and we had a lot of fun and scored big! :)

Maple Creek FarmMaple Creek MerinoMaple Creek MerinoMaple Creek Bamboo

Maple Creek Farm was my favorite and I went back the next day and got more yarn! The two thicker hanks are merino and the thin is merino and bamboo. I am in love with this yarn! The owner Eileen Garges is wonderful and talented lady. She was all smiles when she saw me coming back and bringing a friend! :)

Brooks Farm Silk Yarn
I might have made it out of the Fair without spending anymore dough if it wasn't for the most wonderful Knitting Fairy. She made a shawl on the way to the Fair from Texas so it doesn't even have a picture on the pattern. But I fell head over teacups for it. She works at Brooks Farm Yarn which has lovely yarn. I sat their resisting for a long time even though the colors are so lovely.

But between the shawl and the Solo silk I fell down the rabbit hole and there was no getting around it. I must say this Solo is really just divine. It feels like heaven and has such a lovely sheen that my little photo cannot do it justice.

But I'm in in love. I want a blanket of this for my bed...or a throw to wrap myself in. It's such a nice yarn that I didn't mind casting on for the shawl three times because it just felt that good. If chocolate was a yarn...this would be it. :)

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hehe


Kimberly tagged me with this hehe about DH.

May 3rd is our 11 year Anniversary and I am blessed beyond belief to have this wonderful man as my best friend and mate. :)

Where did you meet? I was at a Con and my boyfriend at the time put me on DH’s lap and told him to watch me. DH wanted to kiss me but I didn’t let him. Then my friend dated him years later and I realized what a great guy he was. Finally when I needed a roomie to help with the rent he moved in and the rest is History!

How long did you date? About a year and a day

How old is he? 40 years old or young depending on your point of view

Who eats more? He does unless I’m craving something

Who said “I love you” first? I did.

Who is taller? Hubby. He's 5' 10", I'm 5' 9"

Who sings better? Me but that is not saying much I suppose

Who is smarter? He is a tech genius and I’m good at figuring out solutions to stuff.

Whose temper is worse? Tied. We both can be pretty bad but it really doesn’t happen that often.

Who does the laundry? Mostly me. He did a few terrible things to different outfits over the years…but he’s gotten way better.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? He does.

Who pays the bills? We both have our own bills we are responsible for.

Who cooks dinner? Usually me. But he can cook and does a good job of it when he has the time. He makes a cheese cake that is to die for…did I mention it is chocolate?

Who drives when you are together? Usually me. I get freaky sitting in the passenger seat and sick if I sit in the back.

Who is more stubborn? Me I think, but he can be really bull headed when he is set on something

Who kissed whom first? He did. He’d been wanting to since that first day.

Who is the first to admit to being wrong? I think it depends on the situation but we never go to bed angry.

Whose parents do you see the most? Mine live here so I guess we see them more. But I adore his folks and I’m so happy to be part of their family.

Who proposed? He did. He asked me to write our wedding ritual.

What’s his best physical attribute? His eyes and his sexy grin

Who has more friends? Me, he is more of a loner

What are you most proud of him for? He’s always had trouble reading ‘cuz he’s LD but he conquered it so he could finish college and get a degree. Every time he reads to our son it brings tears to my eyes.

Who has more siblings? We each have a sibling.

Who wears the pants in the family? We share the pants. But I run the household. We always include each other in all the decisions. It’s an equal partnership.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Learning My Limits

Pink snow
“Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise, open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life. Certainly it is worth the risk.”
-- Leo Buscaglia

Pink snow
As the seasons finally decide to shift from winter to spring we are blessed with a myriad of color and texture. This was my parents driveway after a thunderstorm. It got me thinking of Puff the Magic Dragon and that phrase, "along the cherry lane". I grew up with this magical, flowery gift every spring. Few people get to experience pink snow. It was very cathartic to my state as of late.

I'm in this happy / chaotic mood that I'm desperately trying to work through and I think truthfully I just took on a bit too much. *stop sniggering* Last week we added my BIL's two adorable wonderful kids to our household and now we are a family of six with two cats. Which, is super. I am truthful here when I say I am so happy that we can provide a safe, happy place for them to live. Family is everything to me.

The downside is that I used the closet they will need as storage and I have no idea where in Sam's Hill I am going to put it all. So I've been looking at projects stashed that will never come to be and letting them go. I just can't do it all.

Before we had my beloved son I used to do a little of everything and there just isn't time for that anymore. Over the last six years I've figured out what is important to me and those are the things that I find time for so those are the things I will hold on to.

Also I'm trying so hard in being a half-way house for my Mother's things not to get lost in her stuff. Because every other week we clean at my parents then move everything up here and then distribute it as is needed. I want to make sure anything that is important to Mom gets to stay with Mom...who kicked on Wii and beat everyone in golf and bowling BTW.

And truth be told I am tired. This back and forth every other week is exhausting...the dust alone kills us even with masks for about three days. So after hard contemplation we've decided to quit the MS&W lamb cook-off. It is just too much. I admit it. I said I'd stop taking on more stuff when it got to be too much so this is me being good to my word. (If you want the recipe I'll be happy to send it to you.)

Sock Family

I finished the sock from 06...sorry about the color...and I really enjoyed it. I will make the other one but I'm going to take a break until after Fair in May and try to get stuff done for our booth. Knit Picks got some new sock yarn and after the nice woman at the local Italian deli asked me to help her with some itty bitty socks...I just couldn't resist. This Felici is scrumptious...I'm in love with it! Another gift from the parents was the Harmony double points and I love them too. There's not much about socks I don't love.

Oh, KnitterC is having a contest for her 500th post. Quite a milestone! If you stop by please mention I sent you. She is an amazing spinner...crafter...healer.

Thank you all for your birthday wishes. :) We did Wii and have really good BBQ and it was so fun my parents stayed until 7:00 p.m.! My wonderful in-laws came and it was quite a special day with a full house of loving family...a day I will always remember.

Take care...happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ever Connected

We are a strand in the web of life. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are connected.
-Chief Seattle-

You would laugh if you saw me today. Most people try and look their best on their birthdays but this is my day to work out at lunch and the health of my body is very important to me: hence the sweat attire.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I walk at lunch because it is the only time I really have to do so. I go at least a mile and where as that may not be a lot, it is more then nothing and it makes me feel good. I like to feel good.

Today is also Family Fun Night which means from the time I walk in the house to the time I go to bed at 8:00 p.m.: no IPod, no TV, no video games (even handheld ones), no computer…I even try not to use the microwave or oven by picking up a healthy meal on the way home.

Even though today is my birthday and I’d like to pick a video game and have some fun I will not be selfish. The family time we have is priceless. We all enjoy the change in pace…although not checking e-mail is hard…harder for the DH. lol

I admit fully that I’m a hard core gamer. I really love my video games. So for my b-day celebration when the family gets together on Sunday I told them what I really wanted: to get food from Main Street and to Wii as a family…just to have fun with the people I love.

I’ve always wondered why kids get to have so much fun on their b-days with celebrations and themes and stuff. I’m all about themes. I’m starting my own tradition. I’m 40 this year and I’m darn proud of where I am and I think one day of having fun like a 5 year old (without the tantrums…as long as I’ve had my coffee) sounds cathartic.

This week my tarot card was the 9 of Swords. The normal translation for this card is misery, sadness, terrible things…but the way I read it is different. I usually take the card and find out where it is on the Kabbalah tree of life before resigning myself to a reading.

This card is in the 9th sephiroth (or sphere) which is completion of a cycle and making way for a new cycle. Swords are air and representative of communication, creativity, learning and other air correspondences.

To me this card is saying you are still working on a bunch of things that are in their end phases and you just need to get them done so new stuff can come in. But I have also been listening to the people that surround me and their communication has been cruel and petty this week. I have chose not to get involved or offer to help when people are starting from a place of anger. I’ve just backed off and left politely and quickly shielded myself from the onslaught of negative energy.

This week I feel like I am in medias res. Caught in the middle of all my project where the beginning was a long time ago and the end is far from sight. But that is okay because at least I am somewhere right?

I’ve been teaching socks everywhere it seems…and it feels good. Socks are a little thing. But warm feet can make a person warm enough to turn down the heat a bit…thus helping the Earth a bit…because every little bit makes a difference…because we are all connected.

Bright blessings,

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

You Reap What You Sow

My Oldest WIPEvery week I pick a tarot card to kinda guide me through the week and help me to make the right choices. I used to pick one a day but that was way too much thinking ya know? LOL

Anyway, this week I picked Death. Now most people when they see this card balk. But my name means Reaper. I am supposed to take the Grim One as a sign that there is much work to be done in my life and get rid of the old to make way for the new.

I always thought my parents were pretty smart to give me a name that might help overcome my enormous amount of startitis in one house and nothing in the completion one.

So after saying a prayer for all my friends, family and other assorted loved ones I got a’reapin’.

I sent out goodie boxes
I finished our taxes
I tried lamb until it was just right and sent the recipe to the judges at S&W
I cleaned up and organized

And just when I was feeling really good about myself…I find this sock in my drawer at work, pushed to the back and long forgotten. It was last blogged about on January 21st, 2006. It seems a reaper’s work is never done. *sigh*

So world meet my oldest WIP. This is from a sock class that I took on line with one of my blog friends who, is probably sniggering in her coffee at me. Which, I deserve. I really do.

But with my new attitude…I see this little sock as a good thing. When I started it I had no idea how to use all those fun socky techniques that are second nature to me now.

I played with it yesterday at the LYS and not only figured out where I left off but made quite a leap from 1/21/06 to the sock you see above. Besides we are on my favorite part; the heel. I love heel shaping. :)

So While I may reap what I sow…or knit in this case. This sock was patient and waited for me to get to a point where I understood the method and the stitches before making its appearance. Now I can’t wait to finish it.

I can't wait to see what else I can finish before the week is done! :)

Have a great day!

Ruinwen
:)

Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm Awake Now...Really. :)

“It's important to be heroic, ambitious, productive, efficient, creative, and progressive, but these qualities don't necessarily nurture soul. The soul has different concerns, of equal value: downtime for reflection, conversation, and reverie; beauty that is captivating and pleasuring; relatedness to the environs and to people; and any animal’s rhythm of rest and activity.”

-- Thomas Moore



Thanks for your concern and well wishes! Your words mean more to me then you know!

So after Friday tearing me into the ground; I had no choice but to step back and take it easy. Here is a goodie that came to me. The Woolen Rabbit makes such lovely yarn. I saw the colors on her blog and had to have them. I can't wait to dig into this beautiful...yummy yarn!
Woolen Rabbit

As much as Friday wore me out I really came away with accomplishing a bunch of things that were very close to my heart. I've been working on a way to make a ritual necklace that embodied my way of praying. Kind of like a rosary... Anyway I spent three years researching and figuring out the correspondence of each stone as it fit what I belive and finally...here is is. You can't believe how happy I am to finish a project that has been on the back burner for three years! And a special shout out goes to Willow who really helped me to think about a bunch of things I hadn't before. I don't think this would have been possible without her words of wisdom.
Port-a-pagan

Ladybug bracelet

Do you ever buy something thinking how cute it would be in such and such only to horde it away to never see the light of day again? Well these cute little bug beads were bought years ago for fair. I thought they would make nice little spring bracelets for the kids.

I actually made 5 of them this Friday. And they have been kid tested and approved by my sweet niece.

I made a bunch of other jewelry too. Finished by sock class write up...bless you DH for taking all those photos *kisses* you know you are the best! I also *gasp* organized all my beads, findings and cords. So on Wed when I go to bead all I have to do is load the board with my ideas!

We worked on our Sheep & Wool lamb entry which, has to be in by the 5th...but it just didn't make the grade and we are buying more lamb today and marinating it to try and enhance the flavor.

And then there was taxes...which are in no way complete. But I did feel that I really took a bite out of a lot of little things that needed to be done.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Ruinwen
:)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

And the Winner is...

Sallee! Congrats! :)

I guess I should let you in on a little secret. Sallee is the reason I started this blog. She's given me the courage to do many a project and is always has a shoulder to cry on when I'm in need.

But again I could wax poetic all day about each of you that I call friends...

Not today though...my mental processes have given up. I feel like a Mac truck ran over me and then backed up again for good measure. I did too much yesterday but it needed to be done...so what can you do?

I finally got all the clothes to the consignment shop...12 bags and 6 trips later I made it to Dad's house to grab more stuff to start the process all over again. I was D-E-A-D tired when I got home but I made jewelry for Fair and I will post it when we are done with taxes. The clothes are washed and put away. We took Mom out last night for a lovely dinner despite I was running on empty. I finished a project that I've been working on for 3 years....

I'll post pictures when I can.

I hope you all have a nice weekend.

Ruinwen
:)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What's My Name Mean?




What Ruinwen Means



You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.



You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way.

And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life.

You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it.



You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.

You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.

You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.



You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.

You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.

You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.



You are very charming... dangerously so. You have the potential to break a lot of hearts.

You know how what you want, how to get it, and that you will get it.

You have the power to rule the world. Let's hope you're a benevolent dictator!



You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.

You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.

At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.



This is downright scary how accurate it is. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Let the Light In

Silky Leaves ScarfSilky Leaves Scarf
Ring the bells that can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
-Leonard Cohen

It is spring, a time of renewal and nourishment. It doesn’t matter that there was frost on the ground today or that our flowers aren’t warm enough to bloom. Because nature knows when She is ready and won’t make Her appearance a moment sooner.

Not me. I’m the Queen of Horrible Timing and Wrong Shoe Wearing. I am always doing things bass-ackwards at the last minute. But that’s me and I accept that.

I have a friend who is always late. She says she will be late to her own funeral. We always told her events were an hour later then planned so she would be on time. You learn and adapt because the only person you can change is yourself.

As I am in charge of all holidays until the end of time, I’ve learned to adapt. For Easter/Ostra dinner we had an appetizer of Tuscan soup (Safeway Select…very yummy), a main course of shepherd’s pie and spinach savoy (a family tradition) and raspberry and apple puff pastries for desert.

You see I learned from Thanksgiving that I try too hard to please everybody and then I end up 1) making more food then four families could ever hope to eat and 2) driving myself crazy trying to be perfect.

Well this spring I said, “The heck with perfection.” I know that only the Gods are perfect. I learned this from crafting. You always make a mistake for the Gods…not that I don’t make plenty anyway. The Navaho, when weaving, deliberately weave a thread that looks like a mistake. That “mistake” keeps the rug from being perfect and serves as a path for Spirit to enter. That “mistake” allows a little light in.

This Easter/Ostra I tried letting a little light in. We combined our traditions and read from the Bible for Dad since he missed church this year. We blessed the spiritual representations of our seeds and all the kids participated. We had a wonderful dinner full of different tastes and textures. And finally we sat back and played Wii as our family does every Sunday. After doing scads of dishes I was ecstatic to get my Pro in bowling and get a Turkey.

This year I didn’t try so hard and I think the air of stress was missing that usually hangs around the holidays. It was a really nice day. I was tired afterward but not wiped.

In knitting news my LYS asked me to make this scarf from Sheep Shop. It is a delightful knit. I had to get used to starting on a purl row and my knit rows being evens…but after that everything is going well. I think I will make this again. I don’t have the label for this yarn so I have no idea what it is. But I love the way it is making up and as my LYS said, “It is nice to challenge yourself with something new once and a while.”

I like lace, it lets in the light. :)

Happy crafting,

Ruinwen
:)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friends and Neighbors

Felted MiceFelted Mice

Ramblings of a Witch tagged me with the task of coming up with three blogs that stand above the others as my favorites and that I cannot do. Every blog on my side bar is special in some way to me; that's why it's listed.

Yesterday was Sweater Day . A day to honor that man who asked me as a child, "Won't you be my neighbor?" I loved Mr. Roger's neighborhood. I remember parts of the show very vividly like Miss Lion or the Trolly.

But see that is what the people on my sidebar are: neighbors..friends. Through our blogs we've interacted in some way. Some of you are so close I consider you family.

So last night I asked my DH who he would list. And of course he said Sallee (who is having that contest two posts down) and Christine who are like sisters in other states. If I had to pick a brother I would want it to be John who is not only funky fresh but he is a jack of all things fiberly. My family knows him on sight due to the fact we watched him on Knitty Gritty a few times.

Then there is Kim who's visual eye-candy of a blog has me believing that hot tea is brewing in front of me while I am knitting too beautiful for words yarn that she spins, dyes...she is just amazing!

Geraldine can fit more interesting things in a post from yummy recipes, to crafts to amazing little tid bits that fill up my appetite for knowledge.

Really I could go on and on because something from each blog on my sidebar pops into my head. Like what an amazing designer Marnie is while having such adorable pups as Panda and Thea. Of course if you are talking cute pups I'd have to include little Moses on Christine's blog and prize winning Skyy and Cleo on Kim's blog.

And I could go on about cats...all the wonderful cats that these people have...because these are vibrant people to me...special friends, net-neighbors and family who I can't survive without. You are my life-line. Your names are inscribed on my heart and I am so thankful that you found your way into my life. :)

I've run out of time I had hoped to list more...but the clock is telling me that clothes are in order if I'm going to leave in 15 minutes.

So Happy Easter, Ostra, Spring Equinox...may the seeds that you plant in your heart grow in abundance throughout this season of life and renewal.

Bright blessings,

Ruinwen
:)

P.S. At the top there are my felted mice. Two are stuffed and were given away as gifts yesterday. The man at Starbucks was very surprised to see those little eyes in there...needless to say they thought I should have bunnies not mice in my purse. And all the way home I started thinking about how easy a bunny would be... *grin*

P.P.S. I totally forgot that I wanted to do a contest...I have way too many herbs to store and I want to share them with someone who wants them...and if you are fiberly then I will throw in some yarn too. It makes very ecological shipping material. :)

Ok all you have to do is visit a blog in my side bar that you don't already read...and tell me the first line of their latest post in a comment on this post. Remember a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet!

Cut off for the contest is next Friday the 28th. I will put your names in a hat and let my son draw one. Good luck. If you are new to the blog; welcome! The list of herbs is in the saffron post and now I really have to run!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When Life Gives You Saffron Make Paella

I have a very clear memory of watching the Avengers on a little black-and-white TV and eating paella. It was chock full of chicken, sausage and shrimp. It was my introduction to saffron and it was love at first bite.

For my Ostra bag this year I decided to use saffron. Usually I frown on using saffron because of the cost. But this year I reasoned that this is one of my most important rituals that I do that sets the tone for the entire year…and if that isn’t worth some quality herbs then I don’t know what is.

I also decided if I was going to buy saffron it wouldn’t be from the grocery store. Something you might not know about me is I love working with herbs. I love how they awaken a sense that we don’t really use every day. The sense of smell is actually one of the most potent of memory triggers. When I smell an herb it reaches down into a part of me and tugs on the tendrils of my past joys and sorrows like nothing else can.

Herbalism was my focus when I got my N.D. I am also certified by the American Botanical Society. I used to have over 200 herbs that I used for everything from teas and tinctures to mojo bags. But since becoming a mother I found it hard to keep up with every one of my passions. And unfortunately where I live we have drought conditions making it hard to grow anything…although my sage still lives through drought and ice.

I’ve missed making teas and more then once I’ve found myself reaching for a bottle that is long gone and it hurts a bit. You don’t realize what is really important until it is gone. So this year I opted to buy fresh beautiful herbs from all over the world:
Pink rose petals from Chile
Cinnamon from Indonesia
Vanilla beans for Madagascar
Blessed thistle from Hungary
Saffron from Spain

I have to say I was very impressed with HERBALCOM. The herbs are fresh and full of aroma. Which brings me back to saffron. Even now I can smell it on my fingers…mmmm. I know there is paella in my future.

Paella is named for the pan, a paellera, that the Spanish cook in. It is a flat pan with two handles. Everyone has their own version of what to put in the paella. Two years ago I made one with muscles, crab, clam, white fish, scallops, shrimp and lobster and it was *sound of lips smacking* divine.

But DH is allergic to seafood so I will make it with chicken and sausage. My son is excited to try saffron and has also approved the chicken sausage combo. So here is my recipe. But the thing about paella is that you should make it as your mood dictates. I also like a bit of spice in mine so you can change that too. As long as you have some rice, saffron, and olive oil it should be okay. If you want to make it vegetarian just substitute the meat for veggies. Also follow the instructions on your rice for the liquid amount. All rice is different.

Note: If you have saffron threads they need to “bloom” or soak in some liquid in order to let their beautiful flavors develop.

Ruinwen’s Paella

¾ cup of olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
One clove of garlic per person, minced
One piece of chorizo sausage per person
One piece of chicken per person
½ cup of rice per person
3 cups of broth chicken or vegetable broth for every cup of rice (check package)
¼ tsp of saffron
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup red, orange, or yellow pepper
½ tsp of cayenne if you want more spice

Brown sausage and set it aside. Drain sausage grease to ½ tsp and sear chicken.

Heat the olive oil in a separate pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and red pepper to the oil and cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant or about 5 minutes.

Pour in the rice and let it absorb the oil and become translucent, which is about another 5 minutes. Add sausage and chicken, broth, paprika, saffron and cayenne. Cover and cook per rice’s instructions. In this case it is 25 minutes.

Remove from heat. Taste. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Stir. Cover again and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy.

:)

I don’t mean to limit the use of saffron to paella. Countries all over the world enjoy its unique flavor. Here are but a few dishes from over the globe:
Bouillabaisse from France
Risotto from Milan
Some tajine recipes from Morocco employ saffron