Sunday, October 04, 2015

Worth the Wait

I have realized something about myself; I am a patient person.  Over the years I have learned to calm the need that demands everything be instantaneously self gratifying.  I think it is what makes me a good gamer and a good teacher.  The shot above our house in the Sky Element world. I razed almost the whole island on my own after taking down the jungle trees while hubby is building an amazing lower basement under the island.  To me, it was relaxing work and I truly enjoyed it.

As a teacher of knitting, there is many times when I will have to work on a project with a student so I can see where they are in order to help.  I have rewritten lost patterns by slowly deconstructing a piece and charting it as I go so that the knitter could have a new pattern to save and work by.  I have fixed errors and ripped back for knitters in order to get them back on track.  I have spent hours learning something that I didn't understand when a question was asked that I didn't know myself so that I could turn around and give good advice.  All of these things I really enjoyed doing.  They challenged me and allowed to me to give back to the knitting community...most of all, they helped me empower someone else in the process.

I can't tell you the number of students who come back and tell me that now they are passing on and teaching someone else...this brings me great happiness.  There is always someone who can teach me and someone I can teach; it is an endless spiral of give and take and sharing and community and it makes me so happy to be a part of this beautiful fiber world.

I haven't designed any knitting for a while.  My focus has been on enjoying the process again; but I'm starting to feel the urge.  Pictured above is where I am on the sweater with the scarf that needs to be blocked in the driveway to reach the 7 foot mark that the pattern calls for.  So much lovely green.

I have been creating herbal concoctions and this is an enjoyable but slow process.  Herbs take time to steep in vinegar and oils and I am patiently waiting as they do their thing.

In the meantime, I have been writing new recipes where the herbs all blend together to form something a community.  I've been slowly gathering new essential and carrier oils and creating a good strong foundation of essentials.

It feels good to watch things slowly come together; to have a supportive community that is eager to try my new herbal recipes and I am so thankful for all my testers who have helped me rediscover my love of herbs and how they can help us heal.

This weekend I played with red peppers.  Red chili peppers contain capsaicin which is a chemical that increases blood circulation and stops the pain transmitter receptors from reaching the brain by overloading them.  I am making an red chili pepper oil which will become a base for my new muscle rub.

If you do this be very careful, red chili pepper can burn the eyes and mucous membranes.  Use gloves when touching the peppers and never ever lean over to smell how yummy your peppers are.  I might have done this in my youth while I was know multi tasking.  And thank the Goddess that it didn't end in disaster because my eyes were burning to the point of there was nothing but pain in my head.  Blind, I wandered outside somehow and then found my neighbor who was gardening and who gave me a cup of milk and I poured it on my eyes.

That was the best...feeling...ever.  Beautiful, instant glorious relief.  I was covered in milk but that was fine and dandy.

Thankfully, the iron was upright...the whole thing is laughable now and my hubby loves to tell the story of the day I was making homemade chili powder and basically pepper sprayed myself x 10.

Moral of the story; always use caution with chili peppers and save your ironing for later .  Oh, and in case you are wondering the homemade chili powder was the best my boss had ever tasted.

I've been looking at different options and listening to what people have asked for and I'm trying to accommodate everyone on some level.  First of all was the smell; the man who asked for this rub didn't want it to smell medicinal.  So I went for musky, mysterious and homey.

I'm not sure which of these warming oils are making the grade yet or if I will have a woman's and a manly rub...but I was thinking about:

Chamomile - anti-inflammatory, eases muscle pain and spasms

Frankincense - anti-inflammatory, reduces stressed muscles and eases pain

Ginger - eases back pain, improves mobility, eases rheumatic and arthritic pain and eases spasms

Lavender - anti-inflammatory, relieves muscle tension and spasms, eases joint pain and headaches

Nutmeg - warming, used in massage oils to soothe soreness in overworked muscles

Rosemary - anti-spasmodic, reduces muscle and joint pain, eases backache and headaches

Sage - anti-inflammatory and spasmodic, eases muscle tension and spasms

If it all works out right, I should have a nice warming deep penetrating anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic pain reducer that smells good too.

Yay!  A very productive and varied week.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Hodge Podge Post

I know that I promised you some pictures and I'm sorry to say that I'm not quite done with either project.  I ran into something that I can't talk about and can't explain but it is causing quite a mental hurdle for me and will continue to do so until next year.  I wish I could say more...but I hope that you can understand that sometimes you just can't control life...the most one can hope is to find a way to cope and go forward.

Speaking of coping...we found this amazing map.  It is called Sky Elements and is full of something for everyone.  Be warned...there are monster spawners...everywhere.  They are in trees and in boxes and under the ground.  We spent a good two days just blowing up every two steps trying to clear out the jungle.  But now we have it under control.

I tried to find a path into the heart of what I wanted to say and couldn't find one.  So shifting gears...

In the old days, the well of the community was it's heart.  Water is necessary for survival.  Everything would spiral out from that water source and without it a town would surely become a ghost town.

The "well" in our body is our gut.  The human body houses about 100 trillion microorganisms in the gut.  Good gut bacteria take energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the product of the absorption of fatty acids.  Many of these bacteria act like organs in the way they perform metabolic jobs around our body.

Bacteria line our intestines and help us digest food, they make vitamins that are vital for life, they send signals to the immune system and they make small molecules that help our brain to work.

Over the years we have learned that these symbiotic bacteria help keep many functions of our body running smoothly.  The numbers are constantly changing as science starts to really look at the bacterial in our gut.  A study I read in 2013 said that on average the people they tested had 200 strains from 100 different species.  Another that I read said that there are somewhere between 5,600 different strains of gut bacteria; but about 99% come from the same 30 to 40 species.

The point is this is a new frontier and we are just on the cusp of understanding how important these gut flora are to our well being.  The helpful bacteria in our gut outweigh our own cells by a factor of 10.  We only know what a fraction of these good bacteria do; there are still so many unknowns.

The most well known of these is Lactobacillus.  This bacteria that resides in the small intestine is responsible for producing lactase, the enzyme required to break down lactose.  Lactose is the sugar found in milk.  It also ferments carbohydrates in the gut to produce lactic acid.  Your gut is acidic so that it can discourage the growth of bad bacteria which thrives in an alkaline environment.  Lactic acid also helps to absorb some important minerals like copper, calcium, magnesium and iron.

If you break it down further by strain you can see how involved this bacteria is in our well being. Some of the many strains are:

L. acidophilus - helps to maintain the integrity of the intestinal wall, ensure proper nutrient absorption and supports healthy overall digestive function.

L. plantarum - produces hydrogen peroxide to defend against bacteria consumed in food it also supports immune function

L. rhamnosus - can survive in the GI tract, is excellent for female health organs, eczema and depression

L. salivarius - can survive in less then ideal conditions and is found in the mouth, throat and sinuses, intestines and female organs.  It also helps to prevent the colonization of the bad bacteria

The Bifidobacterium species lines the walls of the large intestine.  It helps to ward off invasive bad bacteria, including yeast.  It also produces lactic acid which provides up to 70 percent of the energy required by cells that line the intestinal wall, this helps to strengthen the protective barrier in the gut. It also helps to keep the pH for the large intestine acidic to discourage growth of harmful bacteria. The lower pH helps the absorption of minerals.  Bifidobacterium also produces B-complex vitamins and vitamin K.

Some of the strains of this bacteria are:

B. bifidum - this strain is one of the first that we receive as babies and travels our life with us as one of our good flora that is found in the large intestine sometimes the small intestine as well.  It promotes bacterial balance, prevents the growth of unwanted bacteria, molds and yeasts

B. longum - is very common and has an ability to break down carbohydrates and to scavenge and neutralize toxins.  There is research being done right now that suggests this bacteria also practices chelation of metal ions and the scavenging of free radicals.  Regardless, this bacteria supports immune health.

B. infantis - this bacteria is found in babies and declines as we age.  It regulates our gut and decreases bloating and bathroom difficulties

So why is this suddenly such a a big deal.  Two big reasons:  the foods that we used to consume because fermentation was a necessary part of the diet are not being eaten as much...especially in this country.  Kimchi, sauerkraut, unpasteurized cheese, buttermilk, fermented cod liver oil, kefir, kombucha, miso, natural pickles (not the ones on the shelf), tempeh, apple cider vinegar and yogurt are a few of the foods that are full of these helpful bacteria.

The second reason is antibiotics.  Antibiotics are amazing when you need them but they kill gut flora. If you were on a broad spectrum antibiotic you might have killed off an entire strain and not even known it.  And since each of those above listed foods only have certain bacteria in them, you might not be able to repopulate your colony and may lose out on their previous contribution to your well being.

An example of this might be, say I killed off my Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain.  This strain is responsible for the GI tract which might be handled by another strain.  It is hard to know the extent of losing one strain can have on the body.  Many people with eczema and skin inflammation are found to be deficient in this bacteria.  Further study has also linked this bacteria with the happy feel good feeling that your brain needs to have to maintain good emotional balance.  Without this enzyme this balance is lacking and many times depression is present in individuals with a L. rhamnosus imbalance or deficiency.  It helps with weight loss as well.

If I would hypothesize the lack of L. rhamnosus starts a chain of events that in the beginning might not be noticeable but as time goes on would start to become apparent.  If the GI tract has lost some of it's guardian forces then maybe some bad bacteria would start to grow.  Bad bacteria eat processed food, sugar and sugar free substitutes.  It is very easy to feed them which is why you need a strong army to keep them at bay.  Bad bacteria create inflammation and encourage weight gain.  When you are craving sugar it is probably your bad bacteria needing a fix.  So during this process the scale is probably going up.

The effects of the harmful bacteria start to move through the body in this example into the skin and brain.  We know that there are bacteria which fight the brain fog that is one of the first signs that your gut is out of balance.  Anxiety which is another thing that L. rhamnosus helps to keep in check starts to spiral out of control and maybe there is trouble sleeping or focusing which both raise stress levels. Stress supports and feeds the inflammation and now there is a mental and psychical imbalance.

That is just a hypothesis but I feel it is close to the truth.   I have watched health, sometimes my own spiral out of control and if I looked back I could see the warning signs for what they are.

My gut right now is very sensitive.  I feel foggy a lot of the time.  My anxiety has gotten worse over the last year.  I have patches of eczema that just came out of no where.  So that example could be me.

I have been struggling with the sugar cravings but thankfully been able to hold my weight and I may be an anxious easily stressed mess but I am happy and thankful.  Last year I could not say that as easily but I am constantly working with myself...working towards a balance of spirit, mind and body.

When I had my spider bite I took a broad spectrum antibiotic and I never really through about it until I started researching probiotics for my family...but I think that I have compromised by gut flora and it is out of wack.

I'm going to try probiotics and see what difference they make and report back to you.

Shifting gears again...the foot scrub sales are going good, people like the product and I have repeat customers.  I have a bunch of new things in the works for fall to take people into winter.  I also had a few requests for products which, is really nice.

I find that I like putting together the herbal concoctions as much as I like writing up a pattern.  It takes the right combination of oils, and herbs and a good base to create a quality product.  I am also learning about layering scents.

A scent that really grabs you has notes of different intensities.

There is the top note: this is the one that grabs you first and then just as quickly it fades.  It is can be something like peppermint, nutmeg or frankincense.

There is the middle or heart note:  this one imparts warmth or fullness.  It can be a floral like rose, jasmine or chamomile.

There is the base or dry note:  this one is what stays after the others fade.  It can be something like sandalwood, vanilla or patchouli.

I am really excited about working with scents again.  This is something I did when I was younger and I really enjoyed it.  I have some ylang ylang which smells fruity and floral and I can't wait to see what it pares well with.

The thing I like about scents is that you can use their aromatherapy properties for healing, stimulating, invigorating, warming or cooling and many other things as well.

Anyway, this post is really long and disjointed so I should probably sign off.

Hugs to everyone!
May the seeds you planted in the spring be bearing beautiful and productive fruit.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The lay of my skyblocks world from my mob spawner
Skyblocks is an older survival world where you are dumped onto an island in the sky with a tree a bucket of lava and a block of ice. Your island is made up of dirt and you want to save each piece of it like gold.  You must generate cobblestone to build with and you have to get a sapling off of your tree or you have to start over because you can't make a pix axe to harvest your stone.

There is a second island with a slice of melon and pumpkin seeds that is made of sand and has a cacti on it.  You have to get under it and harvest it carefully.  There is also 10 pieces of obsidian to build a portal.  Don't make a mistake or you will be done.  There are no diamonds here!

Finally there is a third chest in the nether that has your second ice block so now you can make a continuous water source.

From there you build out.  You move your grass slowly...always leave blocks with green on them...because grass has to move from block to block one at a time.  When you make a 7 x 6 area of grass then good mobs will spawn.  I was so happy to get my first chicken and bunnies! 

But it was the squid that was really hard to get.  There is this list of achievements for this game and one of them is to have 10 blocks of black wool; so I needed squid.  They spawn between 46 - 62 so I had to make pillars off of the platform and make my way under everything....twice.  Finally, I got beautiful black, frolicking squid and I was so happy!

I finally got two pieces of iron from zombies so I could make shears!

My sister stopped by my Skyblocks world and did some really helpful building.  She worked on my mob dropper.  I had trouble with my mob dropper.  The rules for each version always get me messed up and it was nice to learn a few things. Actually, everyone ended up helping me with my mob dropper.  The spiders kept causing problems.  It is nice to be able to reach out to family members when you need some help with stuff; it is even nicer when they come to your world and lend you a virtual hand.  :)

My sister build me this nice cobble generator.  I really love the way it works!

So, the Nether in this world is nothing but a red haze and you have to build it out.  After making some cobble pathways and platforms I found some new friends.  I thought the 5 gold block achievement would be hard to get but it was really easy thanks to these guys.

After doing some research, I made a new mob dropper and I have been getting the most amazing things!  The problem is that if a creeper sees me then there is sheer panic in trying to fix the thing as I get blown up over and over.  But that is okay because the drops are amazing!  Both my son and my hubby encouraged me to use trap doors so I could get loot when the creepers aren't there and that works really well.  I've gotten records from mobs hitting mobs and a lot of really neat stuff.  Witches have dropped some potions and I have a bunch of enchanted items.  I even got 5 pieces of iron!  If I get clothes I just put them on since I only have one cow still so leather goes to books and I get it while fishing.  Never forget fishing, especially in the rain, can bring you really great stuff.  

But yeah, here is my achievement chest all completed and I am really happy.  This was a fun survival experience...frustrating at times...not all together easy...but fun.  I still want to play with the Nether to see if I can get a blaze rod because I myself, am trying for the actual Minecraft achievements as well.  The lack of a few essential things is making it really hard and maybe quite impossible...but I want to see how far I can push it.  :)

Which reminds me of what I wanted to talk about.  Excuse me as I switch topics to knitting. In knitting when you make a mistake you can tink back to fix it.  Tink is knit backwards.  You can rip back to fix it.  In ripping you take the stitches off the needle and either throw caution to the winds and just rip out your stitches or you can rip back to an inserted needle or previously inserted life line.  You can ladder down and fix a stitch under your row of stitches and then ladder the stitches back up.  There are many ways you can fix a mistake.

Many times I know that a mistake needs to be ripped or tinked to but I just don't want to do it.  So I try and fix it and then I am left with oodles of yarn that now has no where to go.  In this case it is probably better to rip back to the mistake and retake the yarn.

But then there are times that I amaze myself by fixing something that I thought there was no hope maybe it is better to try then the throw in the towel?

Down in my knitting room is a drawer of things that I lost my way on for one reason or another and I just made a note and put them in there.  One of these is my sister's sweater that I was trying out a new pattern on and then I ran out of yarn.  I was at Starbucks and didn't write down where I stopped can see where this is going...

I pulled out the sweater Monday and swore I was going to figure out where I was and at least finish the lace this week.  Usually I can read a chart and figure out where I am.  If I could have done that I would have done that long ago.  So I did my last resort and tinked back recreating the chart as I ripped it out for two rows; this determined exactly where I was.

Now why was that so scary?  Why did I wait so long to figure it out?  Why didn't I believe in my talents more?

So many questions...and I have no answers for them.  I have a drawer of things like this where I just stopped for one reason or another.  I'd like to work my way through them, but for now, I am knitting a sweater and I need to focus on that.

I should have some knitting pictures to show you next week.


Sunday, September 06, 2015

End House

This weekend we went to the End in Minecraft.  The newest snapshot has added some really neat new blocks and plants.  My favorite is the chorus Plant.  You can see it pictured above.  Those spiky, twisty turning purple plants have stolen my attention this weekend. They have flowers on top that you can use to use to replant the chorus plants and when you cut them down then they rain down fruit which can be used to make the purper blocks, pillars, stairs and slabs that are a delightful mauve color.

The End City Buildings
I was really happy by the changes in the End.  The new structures are innovative and fun to climb.  The shulker are a new mob that will drive you crazy.  They look like big purple blocks until they split open and reveal the creature inside.  That creature will spit spiky balls of damage at you.  But these are not normal projectiles; besides doing damage they give you the levitation effect and up you float into the air.

The sensation can be disorientating but very helpful in the parkour climbing you need to perform to make it up the towers.  It is better in my opinion to leave a shulker there to assist you in making the harder jumps that one must make to get to the treasure. And what amazing treasure it is.  I have never seen such booty of enchanted wonderfulness!  

The whole thing is still a work in progress so look out for invisible blocks and other weird anomalies.  We even found a note that something was in the works and we can't wait to see what that is.

Fighting was a bit of a learning curve with the new cool down on attacks and learning to use a shield but all in all it was a bunch of fun and we enjoyed ourselves.  I love the new spectral arrows; they fly really far and light up the mob with an aura that can be seen through objects.  Pretty darn neat!

The chorus fruit surprised me when I ate some in the End and teleported to a new location.  I tried it in the Overworld and this did not seem to happen; I just got happily full.  I think these may be one of the easiest fruits to grow and use on long journeys. All you need is a bit of End Stone, which can now be made into bricks, for the chorus flower to grow on.  You could easily bring a block with you and put it in the ground and then pillar up for the night and in the morning you would have more fruit. That would be great in a pinch.  Or you can plant them in a cave at your staging area and then when you run low on food you will have more fruit.  

When I take a plant or tree from the land in Minecraft I replant it.  In the villages if I take their stuff I replant it.  If I need meat and I have to kill animals, I always leave two so they can be bred to repopulate the area.  Managing resources is something that every player learns about who plays a survival scenario.  In a limited world you only have so much coal that you can find so you have to use wood to make charcoal.  Trees can be replanted but coal is gone once you have mined it all.

In a normal world this isn't really an issue since the chunks are never ending...but I always play as if I am part of an ecosystem, because I am.  I find it hard to live as if there is always more.  I need to be part of the process of  giving back to the cycle of renewal in any world.

The Earth that we live on has limited resources like coal and oil.  Plants if they are not replanted will die out just like animals who lose their habitats.  There are many herbs that are on the endangered list and I find myself wondering what I can do to help.  If real life were like Minecraft I would clear a hill away from the houses and plant species that grow well in that biome...but real life is not like Minecraft unfortunately.

This is something that I am going to be thinking about as I take my herbal classes and make my different salves, balms, scrubs and vinegar preparations.

There is so much on my mind right now.  

We are trying to eat a clean meal once a week as a family.  I shoot for 3 times a week for myself.  This is a new buzzword, but the concepts are not.  Eating clean means eating healthy, whole, unprocessed foods.  Choose unrefined over refined foods.  Eat ingredients you can read.  Be mindful of how the food got to your plate.

Tonight I am making ratatouille.  It is wonderful for this time of year when we are overflowing with zucchini, squash and tomatoes.  The first time I made it I layered everything like they did in the Disney movie.  It was really beautiful and delicious.  Sometimes I chop everything up and cook it that way.  

We get our meat, dairy and produce from local organic farms.  If we can't eat organic we try to eat in local places that get their produce or meat from the local farms.  We know eating in these restaurants help to support the local farms.

More places are changing their menus to cleaner options.  People want to know what is in their food and more and more people are educating themselves before using a chemical they don't know...and this is good.

For example I eat KIND bars because I know what is in them and they taste good.  But taste is not just what it is about.  A company has to care what their impact is on the world around them.  AT KIND they believe in creating and maintaining the conditions that nurture a sustainable environment where humans and nature can exist in productive harmony. 

Plants need time to regrow, they are not a magical inexhaustible source.  Plants have natural seasons and times of year where their growth is in harmony with the environment around them. 

There is so much to consider because, everything we eat comes from somewhere.  I have been focusing on brands that care more about the world around them then the bottom line. I've been trying to switch to environmentally friendly brands and we use companies that focus on natural solutions for health, body and house cleaners.

This is nothing new for our family; we have been striving to cut down on toxic solutions to our body and our environment since our son was born 14 years ago.  Any relationship takes work and the bond we have with the Earth is no different.

So many things to think about...

I finished another Caitlin and I love the colors!  I also finally got it up on Ravelry.  It is a free download.

Also, I made Happenstance this week from Sock Yarn Shawls.  I love the way the tonal colors dance throughout this pattern.  I really enjoyed knitting something for pleasure again.  I have been so crazy with designing and making comissions that I started to forget the "why" of it all.  And that is most simply that I love to knit.

I love the feel of a soft yarn slipping through my fingers.  I love to watch the colors change and form new colors as they touch on a different hue.  I love to watch a ball of yarn turn into something so beautiful and new; and to know that a bit of me went into that creation.  I love the way knitting connects me to to something bigger...and ultimately that connection brings me back to the Earth itself.  I love the deeper connection to my ancestors that all knit as a way of keeping warm and giving back.

I really just love knitting.


I looked today at my brioche pattern and it has almost 1000 downloads!  Wow!

There is so much going on right now.

I'm working on some new herbal products that are targeted to the dryness that comes in winter.  They should be ready in a few weeks.  My foot scrub is doing really well and my client base is slowly growing; which is great.  I like slow growth it gives me time to breathe and catch up.

I passed my first exam so I am off to unit 2.

The house smelled so good this weekend.  On Saturday I did a healing and we smudged with frankincense, myrrh and dragon's blood and then on Sunday we crocked a pork roast with garlic, turnips, parsnips and sweet potatoes.  The scent was heavenly as the roast danced with the healing smoke.  I felt so balanced and at peace with my talents and myself.

I realize this post is long and disjointed, but really it is not because these are all facets of my life coming together in a beautiful dance that I really am blessed to be a part of.

Hugs to everyone.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015

This Is Who I Am

This is my meditation spot in Hawaii.  I spent our trip in the wee hours of the morning watching the sun rise over the water and thinking about my life and what I want to be doing with it.

Which is why I haven't written for a month.  I needed to figure some things out and I think I have.

Hawaii was, in a nutshell, life changing for me.  DH and I have always loved the way the spirit of the island takes you by the hand the minute you land and all those things which make up the day to day grind...just melt away.

Yes, this happens on any vacation, but Hawaii for us is somehow different.  It feels like home to us.

I would be remiss if I didn't show you a few shots of our trip so here we go:

Rainbow Falls in Hilo

Madame Pele during the day

Madame Pele at night


South Point, the southernmost part of the US

Kealekekua Bay
Back to my life.  I love my life.  I have a beautiful family, wonderful friends, 3 awesome cats and many talents and skills.

I've been trying to focus myself into knitting; which I absolutely love to do.  I love to teach and I love to create new patterns...but knitting for profit and deadlines...not so much.

Madame Pele and her Mother taught me that I don't have to be one thing.  I don't have to focus my creative juices into one little shining moment; I can spread them out and give each thing I create my focus.

So after much pondering on me and the Universe I realized it was time to get back to basics.  Deep down I've been missing something and I didn't really realize what it was until I took some time to think and be alone with my thoughts.  I miss my herbs.

I used to have an extensive herbal collection that was cataloged and labeled by ailment and spiritual property.  I used to make teas for everything or little mojo bags for different needs.  I loved the smell of the herbs on my fingers and I felt very connected to the hearth and my healing energy through my herbcraft.

When we had some little children come into our house I knew how dangerous some of these herbs could be and abandoned this part of myself.

Last year we had the front bed and walk lined with plants.  What did I insist was planted?  Yep, herbs.  Rosemary, thyme, sage and lavender greet me every time I walk out the door and I adore taking a moment to smell their lovely scents before getting on with my day.

Last week I made a rosemary / peppermint foot scrub for some eager testers and it had rave reviews. I used coconut and sesame oil because they are absorbed into the skin quickly and really penetrate the layers to smooth and soften.  I used sugar because it is not as abrasive as salt and this was a restorative type scrub.  I also mixed in some Bach Essences to aid in washing away the stresses of life.

Feet, after all are what you stand on and they support you throughout your choices, they take you where you need to go and they take a beating every day.  This isn't just a scrub; it is an experience. The oils are both ones that relax the body through their scents.  They are full of many properties that help strip the feet of their toxic layer and pamper and support the new emerging skin.

I am very proud of this scrub.  I put love and Reiki into it and it gave me a sense of peace to create it. I used organic, healthy products with no preservative or additives.  The herbs shine through in this scrub and connect one back to nature if only for a few minutes.  My testers said that the cooling effects stayed with them for quite a while during the day and their feet were both softer after using it for a week.

After talking with DH we decided some things about our company Vixenpath.  We are making Vixenpath an umbrella that will house our other interests and they may or may not get sub names...not sure on that yet.

We have always done a myriad of different things and it feels good to have them all under one roof, so to speak.  DH makes silver chain mail jewelry, I make beaded jewelry, I knit and crochet, I teach and design knitting, my Sister crochets, knits and is an artist (she drew our beloved logo) , I am a Reiki healer, I am an herbalist and I love to write...hence the blog.  lol

So, yeah, all that is Vixenpath.  Just like me, it was never about one it feels good to let it breathe and evolve.  I think my foot scrub took of more then a layer on my feet; I believe it cleansed my whole outlook on everything.

This week I joined the Herbal Academy of New England.  I have been waffling on this for a while. I finally decided to do it and I signed up for classes.  I like that you have to make tinctures, salves, oils and other concoctions to pass a class.  They have a huge herbal resource that I can access anywhere and that is a wonderful thing.  I feel like taking this refresher course will be really wonderful for my soul's connection to nature and I'm really excited about it.


I got to teach this last weekend as well and it was a lovely class with amazing ladies who each added something special to our time together.  Here is my Caitlin in yet another amazing colorway from Done Roving Yarns.  This one is #19 Rainforest.  I love this pattern and the way the yarn makes up.  I do love to knit and feel the fiber between my fingers.  After a month's hiatus...this is heaven.

So yeah, this is me...changing...evolving and circling back to my center and I feel radiant and full of happy bubbly goodness which I am happy to share with all my readers.

Hugs and happy crafting!

Sunday, June 21, 2015


This is Kitsune our new baby boy.  He is sweet and fun.  He likes to wrestle and cuddle.  He loves his soft new bed and is striving for the high score in the fish game.

Frost is cool but Shadow is really out of sorts.  I know he will settle in a few days but right now he is a grumpy cat.  :(

No knitting happened since I ran out yarn.  It is making its way from the UK.  

I hope this summer is a wonderful one.  Happy Midsummers...and Happy Father's Day!


Sunday, June 14, 2015

New Directions

So, the pink did not work out.  So I will have to go back to it later when I have more focus.  It is humid and hot here and it has been playing havoc with my brain.

So I figured a change of sensory input would help get some creative juices going.  The above yarn sitting on the thyme is CASHSILK, Linea Pura by Lana Grossa.  It is a luxurious 15% silk, 15% cashmere, 30% viscose bamboo and 40% polyamide.

This is the most wonderful yarn.  It feels like liquid silk running through my fingers.  It is thick and knits up quickly and I have failed at the gauge I need 3 times now...but that is okay.  I want to make something I can throw on for the beach and I found a cool pattern but it felt stiff to me so I changed the needle size and added a few repeats in theory.

I wanted to show you something.  But I couldn't get enough done after ripping it out so many times.

This week I got the Chariot as my tarot card.  Usually this is a card of choices but in this deck it is a direction has been given, guidance has been offered and you are firmly on your path.

If you ask me what this actually points to I would have trouble answering you...yet...I feel this sense of rhythm in my life.  I know what needs to be done and it gets done.  The things I couldn't due because of time or limitations...are getting done.  Everything is different, yet, on the outside it seems nothing has really changed.  But the little things...they really do make a difference.  And that is what I think my card was trying to tell me.

When you take essences, they peel away layers and at first you can't always tell they are working. But then one day you wake up and everything is just a little feel just a little off from what you felt the day before.  That is a layer being peeled away to reveal something new underneath.  Then this new layer becomes your new reality until that too is peeled away.  This keeps happening until you find the core, the answer or the meaning to it all.

In some areas of my life...I have reached this point of utter happiness that works in harmony with my goals and aspirations.  

Hugs and happy crafting,

Sunday, June 07, 2015

And Now For Something Pink

Caitlin's Caitlin is fini!

I am very happy to have a FO to show you this week.  I really like the way Caitlin's Caitlin came out.  This yarn came all the way from Italy and it really has some rich tones to it.  Yay!  I hope she likes it!

So this is what I'm working on now.  Just a little dabbling to see if my numbers were right.  This is Nightfall from FibroFibers.  It is a yarn that starts in one color and works into the second color gradually.  The effect is stunning and I have been chomping at the bit to try it.

There is something almost magical about a yarn that changes colors gradually.  You get to enjoy each stage as the hues shift and blend and then change color again.

When I knit with yarn like this I am reminded of all the journeys that I have taken where the steps themselves were almost more important then the final result.

I'm not sure if my numbers are going to work out on this one, but we will see...and in the mean time I get to play with lots of pink!

This week has been gray and dismal.  I really want to send the rain somewhere it is needed...but c'est le vie.  The constant dark skies have made it very hard for my internal clock to stay set and I find myself dozing off early when I get home after work.  It has been hard to stay awake past 9.

So here we are at the weekend and I just want to sleep...but there is knitting to do and blood fiends to find...we have never found any.  I did find some werewolves and now my character is one...but is all steps on the journey right?

Happy crafting,

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Journey

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones."
-- William Faulkner

Sometimes you just keep on doing the same things because you are heading towards something; far off in the distance there is a goal that you are tying to obtain.  I have been knitting on Caitlin and I have about a foot done now...I have 6" to go.  I  have brought it everywhere with me this week. When I visited the Doctor I was able to get a bunch done in the waiting room.

This is where my crafting focus is and I have the goal of getting it done by next week.

There is something to be said to be able to follow through with something even if one hasn't completed the journey yet...we spend most of our time in medias the middle of things.  Most times it is the journey itself that is as significant as the goal.

In ESO my son wants to be a vampire.  This has been one of those rare gaming goals that take planning and conviction.  You can only do this when the moon is full which is roughly every 5.5 real time hours and only at special spawn points.  The moon changes phase every real day and goes through 8 phases before it becomes new again, which is 8 real days.

We have yet to see a blood fiend...and we have looked and waited and ran up and down the roads to the places that they haunt.  We have a chart of times and a map of locations, we are prepared and not giving up.  This is important to him; so it is important to us.

Along the journey our characters have gotten stronger and learned new things.  For my part in things; I have learned to be a better healer and I now know an uber spell that I can cast to heal my party back to full.  All this waiting has not been in vain; whether the blood fiends show up or not...I am stronger and I have become better at kiting (keeping the enemy chasing you where they cannot attack you but you can hit them with long range attacks; the enemy looks like they are on a string...hence the word kite) and strafing (moving side to side instead of forward and backward...sidestepping).  I am getting good at dodge rolling to avoid attacks as well.

Gaming has taught me how to live a better and stronger life.  We all use tools to cope or to conquer things...each of us has a different path and a different view of life and we have to figure out what work for us.  Eating well, getting enough rest, moving and devoting a portion of my day to Spirit all contribute to my well-being.  They all make me stronger.

So even in a week when it seems as all I have done is knit another 6 inches on my Caitlin and search for blood fiends; in truth, I have been creating a better me on many fronts.

Congrats to all the behind-the-scenes things you have done to better yourself this week.

Happy crafting,

Sunday, May 24, 2015

What's In Your Glass?

"If a pickpocket meets a Holy Man, he will see only his pockets."
-- Hari Dass

What one focuses on is the window in which the world presents itself.  Is the glass half empty, half full...or do you wonder just what in that glass?  Is it worth drinking at all?  Is it worth worrying about or even caring about?  Why are we even talking about glasses?

If I judge myself on the progress that I made this week on Caitlin's do I do that?  I actually knit quite a bunch and I should be proud of myself.  Could I have knit more?  Sure.  Could I have knit less?  Yep.  So, what do I see when I look at my progress?

It is so easy to judge ourselves with negative eyes, but I choose to see that I accomplished something.  I knit exactly what I was meant to knit this week; not more, and not a stitch less.

I have stayed focused on this project.  I have not cast on something new.  Enjoying one project is something that is hard for me to do, but I am doing it.  I am actually quite proud on the rows I accomplished and that is what I will focus on.

It is easy to get lost in the beauty of this yarn.  The colors are bright and full of enthusiasm.  I am really happy with it and I hope Caitlin enjoys the subtle shades of her new school colors represented in this colorway.

This is my sage.  It has overcome so many things.  It was moved twice.  It endures our harsh Winter year after year.  Yet, each year in the Spring it sheds the cold and embraces the sun to bloom again.  The blossoms are such a lovely purple / blue mix (this photo made them more purple then blue).  These are a little past their prime but still their blooms give me such joy.  The scent is sweet and mixes with the aromatic woodsy smell of the sage.  I love that delightful fragrance that sage has.  It is somehow calming to my entire system and I adore that this wonderful little plant greets me every morning and every evening is waiting at my door as I transition between work and home.

This week has been a challenging one and it has helped me to focus on the positives in my life that I take for granted, like this sage...or...the fabulous bounty of veggies that we got delivered with fresh herbs to boot!  There is always so much to be thankful for!

My tarot card this week was a card of enjoying and embracing family though sharing a meal together and really connecting.  This is easy enough since it my goal for every day.

I wish you a beautiful weekend full of blessings and happiness.
Happy crafting,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

I Don't Doubt It

Nature hued Ostara Garden
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
Wayne Gretzky

Every day I play a game of Sudoku, Ken Ken, Crossword and Crossword Cubed.  Mom used to do puzzles to keep her brain sharp and I've been doing the same for a while now.  Sudoku is one of the puzzles that can be really frustrating to me because if you mess up it is hard to fix.

But If I mess up then I just start again.  I don’t go into it thinking I will mess up and I don’t worry about the numbers not working as I am figuring out what goes where.  It is a puzzle and I work it out.

In games this is easy; in real life…well it’s just…not.

Those thoughts that creep up like a tangle in a skein of yarn and grab you, are not so easy to work through. Doubts, worry and indecision can wrack your brain and drive you into an anxious fretting mess if you let them.

My Mom was a chronic worrier.  She worried about everything.  I think at one point worry becomes the norm and it just starts to seep into everything until you worry about everything. 

I am trying to stop the cycle before it takes root.  My mantra is:
I choose to see peace, instead of this.

The this is anything that is bothering you.  I believe all trials and tribulations can be slowly overcome through faith, family, friendship, tenacity or sheer force of will.  Death and taxes can’t really be negotiated; but other then that…in most cases you choose how you are going to live.  Each moment you decide how you will see the world and everything that surrounds you.

If I am going into a boss battle I’m gird my loins and have the best of everything that I can manage at my level.  I will stock up on potions and buffs and be ready for that boss.  If I fail, I will learn from my mistakes and I will change my attack.  If I fail again, I will watch how the boss moves and see what patterns might be helpful in defeating him.  After gaining new insight I might change out my spells and or use a staff instead of sword.  The point is, just because I lost, I don’t become afraid of the boss.  I learn from my mistakes and go forward until I beat him or her.

In real life it is not so easy it seem to fight the fears that way us down with their white noise chatter.  How can we gird against these unseen foes?  If you are a person of faith then that is one way.  Faith is a very powerful weapon.  Everything for me goes back to one thing:  I am a beloved child of the God and Goddess.

My faith is about love and light. The doubts that are created in my mind are 90% of the time totally not based in reality and devoid of love or light.  Fear is all in our head as well…doubt…worry…they all hit us from within and they can be brutal.

When the negative emotions start, I pray.  I take essences and breathe relaxing breaths.  I count my blessings: my awesome family, my supportive husband, my kind son, my sister who gets that part of me that is still 5...and the list goes on.  I am thankful for my friends from all walks of life who are there for me and help me in myriad of little ways each and every day.  I am thankful for a roof over my head and a man who mows my grass.  I am blessed by my little Rhoomba who saves me a bit of cleaning each day by sweeping up the downstairs for me.  Every Friday I get a delivery of healthy veggies and meats that allow us to live a better life style. 

The truth is this is very long list and when it gets going, no fear; no worry and certainly no uncertainty can last.  I gird myself in my Faith; I take potions of gratitude and blessings.  My sword is the light which drives out the shadows and the love that surrounds me is my magic.

That is not to say, "poof" that all my troubles fade away like dew on a Summer's Day, because that would be a lie.  Life will always had us obstacles; but it is how we face them that matters.

My finances were a mess about ten years ago.  It took saving, changing the way I looked at money, doing without and a lot of prayer to get where I am now.  It wasn't a microwave quick dinner fix, it was a slow simmer crock pot meld of new concepts and ways to look at things kind of dinner.

When I was grieving, it was a long and emotional roller coaster.  It takes time to heal.  It takes time to do anything really.  There might be set backs along the journey...just keep getting up and try again.

Life and knitting have a lot in common.  Every thing I make is a journey of sorts.  As you can see all those flowers got together this week and made another Ostara Garden.  My first commission is done. Fini!  It is very earthy and naturesque.  I really like it.  I still want to make my awesome neon and sparkly one...but not for a while.

So, someone asked me how I put them together and the answer would be the most wonderful mattress stitch.  If you have never used the mattress stitch then you are in for a treat.  It does a bit of magic that is fun to watch.

Just a FYI...the mattress stitch is also used to close wounds securely and distribute the tension across the skin evenly.

So there are different ways to do the stitch based on preference and the type of fabric that you are seaming.  I have used 2 flowers to demonstrate.

The first pass goes in the vee on the left-hand flower towards the left, the second pass goes in the vee on the right-hand flower towards the right.  You are always stitching away from the center.

When you get a little way through you give the working yarn a tug and watch those stitches disappear...just like magic.

This is a great technique when you don't want the colorway to show through.  I hate seaming, but this stitch is really fun.

I hope all your troubles melt like lemon drops!
Happy crafting,

Sunday, May 10, 2015


Flowers and radiant ideas are the only things that I accomplished this week,
but that is okay because progress is still progress.

Everything of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart desires must come to you. -Shakti Gawain

When I try too hard to figure something out is when I can't see how to make it happen.  When I immerse myself in happiness and family then suddenly I know the answer.

For  Beltaine, May 1st, I drew the rune isa as my lesson for this turn of the wheel.  I have talked in length on this blog about isa and it's meanings, so it is a very familiar rune for me.  I didn't understand why I would get standstill as my rune to celebrate spring and new life until Sunday when I was working so hard to figure something out.  I was so immersed in making it work that I didn't allow it to work itself out.

When you ask the Universe for something you don't really know how the Universe is going to get it to you; you just have faith that it will.  The intent, the belief, the emotion behind it all is the most important part of the process.  The how is not really our concern.  The Universe knows the best way to bring our desire into our lives in its own time.

Its kinda like when someone has a vision of something they don't want to happen and in trying to make it not happen...they actually create the perfect environment for it to occur.

This principle really applies to anything and everything.  You can feel when you are humming in time with the rhythm of the Universe and you conversely can tell with every fiber of your being when you are in disharmony with the energies around you.

I was trying desperately to fit a lace block into a tiny little space and yet still achieve a design motif that would work with my project.  I had tried everything and I was at a standstill...there was no way this was going to work.  I walked away from it all frustrated and went to find something unrelated. My sister was busy making some mitts knitting and purling and as I ran down stairs it was like a bolt of lightning and I could see the Universe working it out in a way that I wasn't open to minutes before.

The lace wasn't really the important part of this equation.  I was so stuck on it that I hadn't allowed myself to be open to anything else.  The heart that I was trying to create; that was the crux of the issue and that could be made with knitting and purling as my sister was doing.  I could easily fit a reverse motif in the space I had and it would work perfectly with the pattern.  Voila!  Problem solved...thank you sister...thank you Universe...thank you Odin for giving me isa and once again showing me that I have so much to learn.


I've been trying to keep my focus on my project list so I've been making flowers for a Ostara Garden commission, knitting a Caitlin and getting ready to do a test run of Maureen.  Also, I have been polishing up patterns and hopefully I will get them up next weekend.

It was hard to believe but I couldn't find the right yarn for my Nana Cowl commission at Sheep and Wool...I did find it at I will be working on that too when the yarn comes in.

I found something really disturbing, most of my needles are missing from their cases, I have no more cables to make new circulars and I have started way too many things.  If I finish some projects on the needles, it would take away my focus on the things that have to get done, so I bought new needles and cables.  Just a I can cast on these commissions.

Until they come in I am making flowers.  I have 12 out of the 20 I need to knit.


If you are a Mom in any way shape or form, have a beautiful and special day.  Hugs!  :)
Happy crafting,

Sunday, May 03, 2015

It Is that Time Again :D

Fiber Optic Yarns - KnittyandColor - Avalon Springs Farm

Here in these parts, the first weekend in May is MD Sheep and Wool.  There is something for everyone at this wonderful event.  Yummy food, sheep dog trials, books, tools, cute animals and every type of yarn or fiber a person like me could ever dream of.  The above is my haul.

There is so much going on this weekend.  Every weekend at this time has also been a Marvel Event and Age of Ultron is one of the biggest so far.  And while the way Marvel has built to this movie has been amazing and I have loved each and every story (Including Agents of Shield and Agent Carter) the reason this movie is so significant to me is it has the Scarlet Witch in it.  I have always loved the Scarlet Witch.  I have her original comics as you can see.  Over the years she has popped up in games and cartoons but when I saw that last sneak peak / spoiler / trailer at the end Winter Soldier I squeed with wild abandon like a little fan girl.

And I found this at the new toy exchange.  So much love.


Finally I can show you the secret project.  I am very happy to have finished this before S&W!  This is my sisters Awesome Trellis in Miss Babs Gradients.  It is a twin to mine that I did in the pink color-ways.  Her yarn is absolutely awesome, the hues are so lovely and it is such a joy to work with.  That is why I was happy to wait in a long, long line to get more at S&W.

All in all I feel very accomplished.

This week it was back to making more flowers for the commission.  I want to keep this forward motion going so I'm going to make a flower a day, since I have a June deadline.

In between my flowers I am going to make a Caitlin in some lovely yarn I just got from Italy on Etsy. Caitlin is going away to a crimson and gray school and I wanted to give my lovely model something special for all her hard work on the photos.  I think this will be perfect!


There is also some designing going on as I have grabbed the next item from my very organized list of patterns I am in the process of creating.  This is something I have been dabbling with for a while and finally the dust has settled towards some forward progress.  I just love this yarn!

I just had to totally reverse gears when I talked to the intended person I was creating this for and she told me she hated shawls.  So a cowl it is then.  Her birthday is on Valentines's Day so I interspersed hearts on every other block of the entrelac in lace.  I'm going to name it Maureen after my friend who has been with me through all the ups and downs and we knit through it all.  She inspires me with her fearlessness in fiber and she makes the most beautiful things.

I've been trying to work on this for a while but maybe the Universe knew that a shawl was the wrong direction all along and I just wasn't getting the message.  I have trouble with getting the message sometimes it seems.  I have gotten the 2 of Pentacles (Boulders in this deck) for my card of the week for 6 weeks now.  You must understand that I shuffle and cut the cards for about five minutes each time and still I get the card of two fighting witches.  This card is usually about juggling your priorities in an equal fashion.  But this card shows two girls fighting tooth and nail over beets and beads.  I read somewhere that they were going to a swap meet and one heard beets and one heard beads.

So is this a lesson of perception again?  One girl was hoping for some lovely ripe beets and didn't want the shining beads and the other girl was hoping for a bauble of a different nature?  Is it about disappointment because what you thought was not the reality of what you were supposed to get?

Obviously I do not know or I would not keep on getting this card.  But I keep going forward, doing my thing and working on goals and being happy.  Eventually, I will figure it out right?

I hope your day is full of happiness and joy and some forward progression on your goals!
Happy crafting,