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 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.

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!


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 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 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.


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,


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,


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.



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

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

knitnana is Having a Contest

Posy Sock Sack
If you don't know knitnana you are missing out on some of the most beautiful bags ever. I love mine it is sturdy and holds just what I need because she thought of putting in all these little pockets. I have a whole bunch of them and believe me I intend to buy a bunch more.

Oh the contest...she would like some input on her next creation. If you participate you get put in a drawing for her new Glady design that holds interchangeable needle sets like Knit Picks, Boyes or Denises. And I for one think it is a super idea and can't wait to have one in my Grand Mera. :)

Beautiful Things

Let me start off by saying I'm sorry this pic is so not showing the beauty of this piece. Dan is just an amazing crafter. I've been reading his blog for a while now and have watched him make lovely crochet, beautiful sea glass jewelry...then he got into art for a while...and now he is doing things with precious metals that are just amazing. I fell in love with this pendant the minute I saw it and had to have it. Seeing it now I realize that I didn't know how resplendent silver could be. Dan coaxes luminosity out of metal that I have never seen before. So if you have a sec you should go check him out...he is amazing! :)

So I realized that the leaf edging just wasn't what I wanted. No matter how many leaves I swatched they never looked right. And believe me I swatched a lot of leaves. In fact I was in the middle of one when we were waiting for our food at I-Hop and the Cat in the Hat came to our table. My son gave him a high five. I wished I'd had my camera. Actually I wish I had brought my mice with me and I could have had a picture of the Cat in the Hat with my little mouse...what a pic that would have been! But if wishes were fishes...then I'd be up to my armpits in tuna.

Needless to say sometimes the simple is better and I have begun casting off the caplet in picot edging. Happy comforting...has never let me down...picot. I'm hoping to get some good knitting time at the LYS tomorrow while my mice are felting. I love that they have a felting machine! So I can work on two things at the same time *yea*.

Goodness knows tomorrow will be the last time I can work on it with Ostra/Easter and the cleaning of Dad's house this weekend. *whew* I'm tired already.

I wish you all a beautiful day and happy crafting.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Of Mice and Impossible Charting

Winter's Fury. We had more ice then anything else this winter. This was a day that I stayed home with my son and was sick while he played video games all day. Ice in the Norse Runes stands for Isa: Reflection. It is a time of going within and finding all the resources that you already have carved on the tablet of your soul.

I think that I have done this. I have found a balance between family, obligation, hobbies, work and nurturing of self. I have found the voice to say no when it hurts to do so. I have spoken up when I feel walked on and abused. And I have found time to ruminate and renew when it all is too overwhelming.

Of course my DH is my rock, my son my sunshine and my knitting my saving grace. But knowing what you need is half the battle to getting where you are supposed to be. So as cold and bitter as winter was this year, I learned many lessons that I will use for the rest of my life.

Spring's beauty. Time to think about the seeds I will plant. Spiritually I am asking for patience and compassion. Physically I think I will plant tomatoes since I love them in the summer. Little changes make a big impact when done with a clear intent.

My caplet is at the edge and I wanted to do something special for the bottom edge. So I poured over pattern books until I found the Windblow Leaf border.
So this chart is from Knitting on the Edge and it was the hardest thing I've ever charted. There are so many no-stitches in the pattern that I felt like I had entered a black hole. But after 5 tries and more hours then I'd like to admit, it is ready for testing. Best to put it away for a day or two before attempting the dreaded swatch.

These mice are from Kitty Knits and they have yet to be stuffed or given noses and eyes. This is my first intentional felting project and I really enjoyed making these cute little critters.

So I've been trying to figure out which direction I want to go with this blog. A good friend told me to do whatever I want since it is my blog. I've been only posting when I have knitting...but with limited time I don't knit as much as I used to. So please forgive me while I figure this all out.

Anyway, have a super weekend!

Happy crafting,