Nothing Like Time….

Half of the library piled into the dining room
Half of the library piled into the dining room

…to make the heart grow fonder. Or something like that. I’ve been away for some time. To say things have changed would be an understatement. But in the way of all things, they are still pretty much the same.

My gardens are growing and maturing bit by bit. I am still knitting and crocheting away. I have even added weaving to the list of crazy fiber pursuits. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my herbs in my apothecary, concocting new blends for incense, smokes, oils, and other sundry things. Been working on organizing the library too. It is a bit daunting, but it needs some love. I have a craft room, set up and ready for lots of fun. Just need to get up there and get to it.
I feel like dusting off the proverbial pen (and hopefully the camera) and seeing what I can make out of this place again. Not sure where I am going, or at what pace I shall travel.

Herb Spirals

With my growing interest in gardening, recycling and permaculture I’m exploring ways to make my life easier and my soil better.

One thing I found today is an herb spiral. This looks like something I would find entertaining, and the benefits to the plants sound great! By creating many little micro climates in one place I will be able to grow a wide variety of herbs without running all over the yard.

I am not sure where to put it, but I am sure that will come to us as we work on planning things out.

Elsewise around here I am working on crocheting a hassock, all made with recycled stuffing and structure. The cover is from several scraps of acrylic yarn I have in my stash and I am working several tapestry crochet designs into it as I go. So far I have started and then ripped out six different tops. I gave up on the top for now, and decided to work on the sides. Since I seem to be coming up with all the ideas for what I want on the sides while I struggle with the top. I am on the bottom area right now, and this is the chart I am adapting for the tapestry crochet pattern:

I have nine repeats of it going around. So far I am using a gold colored yarn and one called ‘Claret’ it is sort of a dark Burgundy color. Looks very much like the Griffindor colors from Harry Potter. I am not sure where else I am going with it.

Inside I still have about 20 tomato plants in small pots. Two days ago (on Wednesday) I did manage to plant the 4 pumpkin vines over on the north side of the back yard near the grapevine trellis. I had to dig out a big chunk of bricks to get them in. Almost all of our pathways in our garden are filled with bricks, but I still have tons more. I did line the front beds of iris with them. The whole family spent an hour and a half Wednesday night putting in the beds and planting the iris bulbs. Our neighbors came by and chatted while we were working, and Superman took them back and showed off our veggie garden. I also planted some peppermint under where the hose drips on the north side of the house in the front, and some chocolate mint in the south bed with the roses. My mom gave me all the mints and the iris. Hopefully this coming Monday I will get some papyrus. A good friend of mine has a big plant, and we are going to cut it down and make some papyrus paper and she is going to give me a small chunk to start in my house. Right now I have a pot for it in the living room in our southern bay window, but I am not 100% sure that is where it will stay.

I have also started working on another book. Right now it contains all of the almanac info for my area for 2009 and the first two months of 2010. I am going to see where it goes. I know many friends in other areas who want some of my books calculated for them, but it is a lot of work to calculate all of that out. So far I have included about 800 or so holidays and their history, along with how they are calculated, all of the retrograde charts for the first 19 planets, the moon phases and signs, moon void of course data, planetary hours of the day for sun and moon, and various notable astrological configurations, along with lots of astronomical data that is visible from our earth spot. I would like to work it into a daily planner format. But the problem becomes that there is six or seven pages of data for each day. Which seems a bit cumbersome. Even adding the days planetary hours onto a day chart breaks it over into a two page spread per day, if there is room to write in appointments.

I would like to add our local planting and harvesting data for our county. But getting it down that small seems like it would really limit its usefulness. I just have much more testing and puzzling to do on the whole matter.

Basket Progress

Here is where I am currently at on my basket project. Things are coming along nicely. I am not sure where to go once I get this pattern finished though.

I am debating whether or not to continue with the twisted stitches method, working increases between the black diamonds, and decreases inside. The other option is to switch to charted diamonds and work them that way. I also have four more colors to add in. Most likely I will combine the charted with the current twisted somehow. Still haven’t puzzled out the details.

I am also not feeling too fuzzy about the current shape, I think it needs to be more flat. I was working 12 increases per round for the flat bottom, and I dropped to six per round as I move up the sides. But I think I need more than six and less than twelve. Which is going to be tricky on a pattern based on six. I am also debating ripping back about three rows to start some big diamonds with their points lower in the design.

In other news, I am doing the beginning research for a new column. I am going to be writing about books, as I spoke about in a previous post. Any thoughts, hints, or tips are most welcome. If you have books to recommend, or suggestions for what you would like to see in a column about books in the pagan/occult world, please send them my way.

House Friends, Progress, and Ramblings

This little guy is one of my house friends. I love summer when they all come out and start to move around the house in the light. This little guy is about the diameter of a dime, and this picture is of him on the ceiling. I have only seen about 15 out and about recently, but I imagine the population in the house is somewhere around 50-70.

They are of the genus phidippus, and are jumping spiders. I find them just cute as a button, and I like the fact that they eat other bugs and spiders! About every three years I buy a batch of eggs from our garden center and plant them in the couch to ensure a robust population in the house.

Since we have a lot of bugs here, living by the river, it does help. Although, I am definitely not winning the war.

Here are some updates on my progress with the crocheted basket. I have just finished the flat bottom and the very next round I am going to begin the gentle curve up to form the walls of the basket.

Things are going well so far, and I have only had to rip it back three or four times. I consider that pretty well considering that I am making it up as I go, and only have a very general plan in mind.

I worked on this on Sunday. My sweet husband and kids let me relax and watch movies while I crocheted. This biggest problem I encountered was how tangled my three yarns became as I continually switched colors. Anyone out there have any tips for this problem with tapestry crochet? Or perhaps I am picking up the yarns wrong when I switch? Having to stop every 15 minutes and untangle the yarn between the hook and the holders is a bit frustrating.

Mostly I watched ‘An Ideal Husband‘ that I had recorded with the DVR a while back. I am not a huge Cate Blanchett fan, but she was quite charming in this. Although Julianne Moore was by far my favorite, but I tend to love the villains. It was a charming and very funny yarn. I wasn’t terribly into the romantic side of things, but I love turn of the century stories and Old English. The rest of the time I caught up on episodes of The Riches. I am a huge Minnie Driver fan, and who doesn’t adore Eddie Izzard? I am still a month or so behind on the episodes, but I will catch up eventually.

I am pleased to feel ahead on my writing for a change. While I have been focusing on this new aspect of my craft, the housework has fallen behind, but I am still pleased with myself. I will spend today catching up on the necessaries, as I listen to past episodes of Cast On. While knitting is not my primary fiber pursuit, I still enjoy the podcast immensely. Stop by and give Brenda a listen if you haven’t already.

In the mean time, I am trying to keep track of column ideas and articles seeds. I think the next one will focus on books. Not only recommended reading lists and book reviews, but how to find out of print books, how to care for old and damaged books, and how to use bibliographies. I think this information would be of use to the greater occult community, both new and old. I may even delve into the depths of book creation and repair.

I also spent a portion of yesterday refreshing my memory of wood kilns, for pottery. For many years I have built and fired my pottery in wood kilns. Living near the river, I have access to natural clay deposits, and enjoy harvesting in the summer, when the organisms have had a chance to deposit a good layer. It then takes time to clean it, and form it. Then I have to build a kiln and chop the wood and fire it. But as a work of Craft and a trans formative process it is a great teacher. A friend and I are exploring taking a group of young Warriors out to a local site for the same process. I think we will build a small tunnel kiln in the ground, and perhaps mix some low fire clay with the local clay we harvest. Time constraints will probably limit us to only 3 hours of firing time or so, since we will have to remain on site for the cooling also. Or perhaps, we may explore building the kiln here in someones backyard. More things to explore and ideas to pursue that call me away from folding laundry and doing dishes. But alas, the family deserves my care, and so I part for another day.