Plumbing 101

Well, still no word back about a buyer for Aurora property. Meanwhile, back at the farm......

I got to practice my plumbing skills. I noticed a leak under the kitchen sink at the apartment. I tightened and tightened the drain pipes only to find out there was a small problem with one of the pies......a hole! So, I figured since this job was turning into a little more plumbing than I had anticipated, I would just replace the bad sink baskets, too.

When I finally realized those suckers were NOT coming out....even solicited the opinion of a neighbor....my next step was a new sink. Fortunately the same neighbor who concurred the old one was not letting go of those sink baskets, also volunteered to give me an old sink he had at his place. One sliced thumb and three trips to Mennard's leaves me with a repaired sink and new sink baskets. I'm calling it quits here even though I noticed there are NO shutoffs under this sink! Too bad! I am done plumbing!


Stop Resisting.........MOVE ON!

I say it is time to call the realtor and lower my asking price one more time. I don't think this old body can take another summer of loading and unloading mowers.....mowing two yards, etc. Besides, I have barns to paint and how can I do that if I am on the road mowing? So, I'll be making that call before I leave Aurora today and stop "stubbornly holding on to things".
My Destiny Card for Today is the 9 of clubs:
The Nine of Clubs literally means 'completion of plans or ideas'. When this card appears it will signal a time when some ideas, ways of thinking or communicating, or some personal plans of yours are ready to end. If you choose to resist this ending, you will experience great disappointment, stubbornly holding on to things, ideas or plans that are no longer useful or helpful to you. If it seems that things are going against you when this card is present, it is probably because you are resisting letting go of something, that in reality, is no longer doing you any good.
On the positive side, you are ready to awaken to a new and higher way of thinking that will be better than you have imagined. The Nine of Clubs has been known to signal a time when powerful spiritual experiences may occur, such as universal consciousness, and also indicates the success of any endeavors that involve spreading higher truths to the world.


Number Sequences, 10/16/11

The first thing I saw this morning was 555, then I made my way down to the kitchen - and, although I thought I had tarried a bit before making the decent to start my morning coffee - there it was again on the stove clock, 555.

The significance of this number sequence according to Doreen Virtue who believes number sequences are one of the ways angels have of communicating with us, says this about 555Buckle your seatbelts. A major life change is upon you. This change should not be viewed as being “positive” or “negative” since all change is but a natural part of life’s flow. Perhaps this change is an answer to your prayers, so continue seeing and feeling yourself to be at peace.

The fairy above resides in a neighbor's yard.  I wish she would fly on over to my place.  That would be a nice change.


My friends and I got together to make hair feather extensions.  Would you believe we spent hours sorting through the feathers and creating our "beauties".


Homemade Soap

I made two batches of homemade soap on 9/19/11. I used recipes from Delores Boone's book, Handcrafted Soap, The first batch Down Home & Broke Soap uses readily available ingredients:
32 oz lard or tallow, 24 oz canola, corn, sunflower, safflower or any combination of these four vegetable oils (I used canola), 21 oz distilled water, 7.2 oz lye.
I added quite a bit of fragrance oil....and the large block of soap was taking forever to harden. I had some individual bars that did air dry to a suitable hardness. After 1 week (I know I should have been patient and I have one mushy bar left to see if it will eventually harden) I rebatched the soap in the microwave. I put a couple bars at a time in the microwave for 5 minute  intervals, at 30% power, stirring when it volcanoed. When it looked all gel and rather transparent, I glopped into individual molds. It hardened within hours.
The second recipe, from the same book: Green Tea Soap, hardened upon cooling. This bar is a carmel brown color because of the green tea water used in the recipe. In this recipe, I substituted the 8 oz almond oil and 8 oz avocado oil with 16 oz of canola oil. :
Green Tea Soap: 8 oz almond oil, 8 oz avocado oil, 12 oz coconut oil, 24 oz olive oil, 16 oz cold green tea brewed with distilled water, 7.2 oz lye, Optional: 1 tsp green color, 2.5 oz green tea fragrance oil.
So, I am not sure what happened to the first batch.  Did the essential and fragrance oils (about 2 oz liquid) make it unstable?  Did it need to cook and be stirred longer?  Not sure.  I still am not happy with the fragrance (too weak) of these soaps.  I thought the hot process, which makes them useable within 6-8 hours, would solve the escaping fragrance problem.  I read somewhere that you could put the soap in a closed container with oils and it will absorb it.  That just doesn't seem like the solution to me.  I want the fragrance IN the soap.  Maybe I am not using the right oils.


The Power of a Stone

I found this old necklace. It is small but I like it. I read the Properties of Snowflake Obsidian Stone ala Melody. I wish wearing a stone would actually solve your issues. Wouldn't that be a simple fix?

Snowflake Obsidian: a black obsidian with inclusions of a white mineral (phenocryst), whose structure within the obsidian, when polished, resembles a snowflake.

It allows one to recognize the unnecessary patterns which remain in ones life and to re-design ones thought patterns to provide relief from undesired conditions.

It assists one in actualizing the serenity of the isolated state, when isolation is manifested, stimulating the surrender to the totality of the meditative state and further promoting a sensitivity to the most vital powers in the universe - love and beauty.

It is a "stone of purity", bringing both purity and balance to the body, mind, and spirit. It can be used in the treatment of disorders of the veins and the skeletal structure. It can also be used to smooth the skin (an elixir is recommended) and to clear the eyes.


Baby doves

Two baby doves rest on the deck ledge in Aurora. Mama is hovering nearby.


Lavender Jelly and other Recipes I am sending to the Garden Club

Lavender Jelly
Source: The Forgotten Art of Flower Cookery

2 1/4 cups bottled apple juice (the clearest you can find)
1 cup lavender flowers
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 (4 ounce) bottle liquid pectin

Place apple juice and lavender in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then strain.

Return 2 cups of this juice to the heat, add the sugar, and stirring constantly, bring to a full boil. Stir in the liquid pectin and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, skim off the foam, and pour into jelly glasses with a sprig of jelly in each glass and seal. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Makes about 5 medium glasses.

Note: Back in 1940 “thrift” and “economy” were catchwords of the day and this recipe was a winner in Woman’s Day’s contest for low-cost frankfurter recipes. (Kielbasa has been substituted for the original recipe’s franks.) My grandmother used to serve us this dish and we called it Red Kraut. We ate it with mashed potatoes, so the potatoes can also be omitted from this recipe. Since the kraut is rinsed well before using, it is much sweeter than normal kraut.

Sausage with Tomatoes and Sauerkraut (4 servings)

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped (1 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans or pouches (16 oz each) sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1 can (about 16 oz) tomatoes, undrained and tomatoes broken up
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
8 small, red-skinned potatoes (1 ½ #) narrow strip of peel pared off around
the middle (optional)
1 pound fully cooked smoked kielbasa (smoked sausage or frankfurters
may be used.)
Chopped parsley for garnish.

Heat oil in 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in rinsed sauerkraut, tomatoes and caraway seeds. Put potatoes in single layer on top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are almost tender. Stir potatoes into sauerkraut mixture; place sausage on top. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and sausage is hot. To serve, cut sausage into 1-inch thick slices. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 4 servings.


No-Weep Meringue

Cook till thick and clear:
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. water
Pinch of salt
Cool slightly. Beat 3 egg whites to soft peaks. Continue beating while slowly pouring cooked mixture into egg whites. Beat until shiny. Add 6 T. sugar, little at a time, and continue beating egg whites until stiff. Cover filling in pie shell with meringue, sealing edges to crust and bake as follows:
Hot Filling: Bake 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Cool Filling: Bake for 15-18 minutes at 350 degrees. (This is recommended for banana cream pies for best flavor.)

Oatmeal Coconut Crispies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup chopped nuts
1 ½ cup quick cooking oats
1 ½ cup flaked coconut

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Sift flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold into creamed mixture. Blend in oats, coconut and nuts. Drop by spoonful onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.


World Book Day - Let's Play

It's World Book Day. Game rules : Grab the book nearest to you and turn to page 56, write down the 5th sentence. Don't choose your favorite book - choose the one nearest to you right now! Post the sentence here in comments and we can see what we collectively have learned...let's share.

Here is what I got...and it is very pertinent...ah the Universe and it's messages.
"Strangers in pastel portraits (purchased at garage sales) stared unnervingly out of dusty. ornate frames."


Home work space

Here is my beading work area. Across from this little desk is another storage area where I keep supplies, books, etc, The picture has a funny reflection thing going on because the orange beach picture is a mirror. There is also a closet full of more beads, feathers, fasteners - so much stufff!
It's a long story how I ended back on the farm where I grew up but this is my room when I was a little girl. One drawback about living in an old house is the electrical outlets. In the "old days" you needed one outlet for a light.......that is all that is in here. Now with TV's, alarms, lights, DVD players, computers, printers, glue guns, etc, etc, etc.......the outlet situation can be a little daunting.


Goddess necklace - cystal, pearl and leather

This is an upcycled piece made from a discarded earring. She is a combination of wild woman and sophisticated lady. This OOAK upcycled goddess necklace features found vintage components, faux pearl, bone, and glass beads. The handcrafted leather spirit goddess is suspended from a 1-1/2" bone bead and holds a small natural crystal point above her head. She is approximately 4", chain length 22"


Teapot Tissue Covers

Several weeks ago I started to make some Teapot Tissue Covers. The sewing machine I am using is one that my parents gave to me for a Christmas gift. I think it was around 1970, or earlier. It does basic stitches, nothing fancy. I don't know if the machine is the problem or if I really just do not like to sew, but it certainly is taking me a long time to complete these.


Shamrock Seed Bead Earrings

Here are some earrings I created for a March "Make Something Green" Contest being sponsored by the You Can Sell It Guild of Artfire.
The color in this picture is really off. Yesterday I tried to take a picture outside. I couldn't see anything on the screen. There is no "viewfinder". I guess a $99 camera has it's drawbacks. I can probably do some adjustments for the color problem, but how do you fix nothing showing on the screen?


Witness Pin

Here is my version of a witness pin. I created this one after seeing G. Cyr's version in a book called Crafts for the Spirit. According to Cyr, its purpose is to help you contact the still, small voice - your witness - during your times of contemplation. It is also helpful to make contact and listen to it while dealing with the stress of decisions and the perceived failures or disappointments of daily life. A tailsman to remind you of your witness can be a useful tool. This witness pin can be worn over the heart to remind you to listen to your inner voice at any time.


Materials and Background Info

Creating a Sacred Woman Quilt

Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers made quilts in a private mind, heart and hand meditation, or in a circle of women friends and relatives. It has always been a womens’ ritual. Pieces of cloth of different patterns and colors were sewn together to unify them into one tapestry. They were sewn together over conversations which created a spirit of togetherness. We sew ourselves into a tapestry as we heal ourselves with each stitch. As we embrace new pieces of consciousness in our journey through the gateways we gathter ourselves into a cloth of unity.

This is a ritual of beginnings and endings, linking one piece of cloth, one piece of self, to the whole by hand and spirit.

After the shawl/quilt is completed, sew a silver or grey strip of cloth completely around the edges of your shawl or quilt as a border. You then may choose to applique’ a patch of silver or grey on all the other colors to represent the overarching of Divine Spirit.

1) Observe what signs and symbols appear in your life. How do these signs and symbols represent you as a Sacred Woman? Collect items you wish to sew onto your shawl or quilt.

2) As you sew, meditate on thoughts of wellness in your life, stitch the thoughts and your highest vision of yourself into your design with prayerfulness.

3) The first color goes into the center. The other colors surround your center. The last thread is sewn as you leave that particular gateway.

Materials needed:
Material (preferably cotton, linen, silk, wool) squares in the following colors: 1-light blue or light blue with some white; 2-yellow; 3-brown; 4-orange; 5-green; 6-purple; 7-red; 8-white; 9-midnight/indigo blue. Gold material for trim around the 9 squares. Silver or grey for backing/border.

Notes on Colors:
Gold represents ceremony.
Grey or silver stands for spirit. It is a mixture of black and white.

Notes on the labyrinth, gods and goddessess

The labyrinth itself is quite meaningful.

As a unicursal (one way in, one way out) path, a labyrinth is showing and teaching centeredness. This differentiates a labyrinth from a maze which has many paths & dead-ends leading to confusion. Like life & destiny, a labyrinth may be a long journey but it has a specific beginning and a definite end. Like mandalas, a labyrinth offers a holistic route (meandering radius) from the periphery to the center. A labyrinth imprints a 'royal groove', a ceremonial pathway designed according to principles such as Harmonic Proportion and Alternance of Energy. For instance, the clockwise (sunwise) and counter-clockwise (moonwise) spins of the meanders map out a balance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

The seven circuits of the classical Cretan Labyrinth pathway have also associated with the seven primary chakras of the body. Chakra is a Hindu word meaning 'wheels of light.' They are spiralling vortexes of energy that make up the energy field of our bodies. Yoga works with the chakra system as do various complimentary healing modalities.

Notice that you don't walk these paths in order from one to eight. The sequence of the paths is 3-2-1-4 and 7-6-5-8. This is a pattern that repeats itself twice: 3-2-1-4 and then 7-6-5-8.

While I am on the subject of creation here is a word about gods and goddessess:

When you study the mythologies of ancient civilizations, you realize they are all designed by the same geometric blueprint that follows into humanity's current timeline. In the physical we find duality on all levels, especially in the pantheons of creational forces linked to one another. We further find the pattern of creation and destruction ... repeating in the cycles of time ... embracing the human experience. Designing the gods and goddesses falls into the same categories of duality - good and bad - light and dark - forever seeking balance and the return to full consciousness.

The study of Ancient Alien Theory allows one to understand that creator gods more than likely were aliens who created the race presently called humans, in its various forms, by biogenetic experimentation and manipulation.

Always we find Gods who came from the sky (higher frequency) and those that came from the sea of creation (collective unconsciousness). Their creation myths speak to us about a beginning and an end for Earth, giving rise to something greater. We are reaching the end of the current programmed experience. Reality is a holographic projection seen through the eye of consciousness in time. The eye is a metaphor for the place of creation through which all things emerge as consciousness and are experienced and archived as it moves to the next.

Who the Gods are, and what they symbolize, are all part of the myth, math, metaphor and magic of realities.

More on creation square

I can’t believe a month has passed since I have taken the time to work on the symbolism in my sacred woman quilt. I can only try to do better.

I will continue with notes on the symbolism of the “Creation Square.” It includes my version of the Man in the Maze Labyrinth because I feel strongly that we are the creators of our lives through the decisions we make. Honoring our role as creators, I have included the Man in the Maze on my quilt.

The figure known as the “Man in the Maze,” depicts a man entering or exiting a labyrinth. It is a theme seen on baskets from as far back as the nineteenth century and in Hopi silver art. Such depictions of labyrinths are also found in ancient petroglyphs (Native American rock art).
The symbol can represent a person’s journey through life. The maze contains many twists and turns, meant to represent choices made in life. The center is round and dark, so the journey can be from darkness to light or vice versa depending on which way you are headed!
Some interpret the center as a representation of a person’s dreams and goals. When you reach the center, you have reached your goals and the sun god there blesses you and helps you pass into the next world.
Another interpretation of this symbol is that the man represents the human seed and the maze is the womb. As the man enters the maze, he creates new life which represents reincarnation or eternal life.

The Man in the Maze labyrinth, an archetypal symbol of the Tohono O’odham Nation, describes not only the path to wellness and wholeness, but identifies life as a spiritual journey that invites one to find deeper meaning in life. That deeper meaning is Himdag. Himdag is a gift from the Creator. It describes the culture, values, and general way of life of the Tohono O’odham people. Embracing the individual and the communal, Himdag becomes a life-long journey nourished by maintaining strong family relations; respecting self, others, and nature; engaging in cultural rituals (storytelling, music, games, crafts, ceremonies, hunting and harvesting); and celebrating the uniqueness of the four seasons. Through these activities, spiritual, emotional, physical and relational health is maintained. To embrace Himdag is to walk in balance, alone, with others, with nature, and with the Creator.

There is an emergence story associated with the Man in the Maze as follows:

The Man in the Maze labyrinth, an archetypal symbol of the Tohono O’odham In the beginning there was only darkness, inhabited by Earthmaker and Buzzard. Earthmaker rubbed dirt from his skin and held it in his hand, from which grew the greasewood bush. With a ball of gum from this bush, Earthmaker created the world. As Buzzard created the mountains and rivers with the passage of his wings, the Spider People sewed the earth and the sky together.
In time Earthmaker brought about a race of people in the desert. They lived for several generations, but they all became sinful except for one, Iitoi, the Elder Brother. Earthmaker saw that Iitoi was true and told him that a flood would kill all the people. The Creator placed Iitoi high on the sacred mountain Baboquivari and let him witness the disaster. Afterwards Iitoi helped create the Hohokam peope, from whom the Tohono O’odham descended. He helped teach them the right way, and they lived in harmony for many years.
But in time some of the people turned on Iitoi and killed him. His spirit fled back atop Baboquivari, where he remains to this day. From time to time Iitoi’s spirit, in the form of a small man, cunningly sneaks into the villages and take things from the people. Despite their attempts to catch him, the twisting path he takes returning to his home always confuses them. Thus in the labyrinth one can see Iitoi on the pathway and trace the mysterious and bewildering turns he makes on the journey back to his mountain home, Baboquivari.