Thursday, November 27, 2014

Knitting and a Coupon Code

I think I mentioned yesterday that I have been uploading lots of new items to my etsy store.  I love knitting and crocheting but I am so bad about adding items to my shop.  My shop is what pays for my yarn habit.  I love buying new yarn, wool, alpaca, cotton, hand dyed especially beautiful.  Love trying new patterns, but you know eventually your friends have all the hand knit items they can handle so I have an etsy shop, "Gifts for the Goddess".  Lots of great gifts for you or another Goddess in your life, for the holidays.

Here are a few pics of items I added a couple of days ago.

I still have a few more items to upload to my shop, will get to that after I finish one more knitting project. And in the midst of all this I am going to be away from home for a week.  So if you have read this far, I am offering a 10% discount on all orders of $18 or more from now until I get back from vacation on December 4, 2014.  All orders will be shipped on December 5, 2014.  Just a way to say thank you for understanding the delay in shipping, and as a thanks for reading my blog!  That coupon code is GODDESS1.  And thank you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Winter Altar

I was uploading things to my etsy store today and my Winter Altar kits were one of those items.  So I thought I would share with you, what I have written about the Winter Altar.  Maybe spark interest, or give you some ideas for an altar of your own, if you don't already have one.  I love it, love my altar and change it with the seasons, maybe something here will ring true for you as well.  

I start with the altar cloth, so rustic, calming and full of the energy and colors of the season, blues and white.  This is a great size for your bed side stand or a small space on your fireplace mantle, as well as an ideal size for a dining table center piece.  There is enough room for the items included with the altar cloth, as part of the kit, plus room for you to add your personal touches and make this a truly unique altar. 

The candles are votive size candles.  I have included a white candle, and a deep red candle, which represent the colors of winter. On my altar I have my candles on a small charger, one that is just big enough for two candles (which can be purchased at a craft or department store).  But you can also purchase clear glass votive holders at your local craft store here in the USA for around $1 each.  The clear glass holders are just beautiful and really allow the vibrant colors of the candles to shine.  Remember to never leave a candle burning unattended. 

I have chosen small artificial holly and fir branches, that represent the evergreen plants of the season, reminding us that spring is just around the corner.  As well as two hand knit white snowflakes.  These are so beautiful and add so much to a Winter altar.

I have this years Holiday card on my altar, it reminds me of family so far away.  I also have a sea shell, that reminds me of my home, where I am from, where my heart is, the ocean.  I also include a rose quartz crystal, to purify my space, and a pewter letter opener, which you can’t see in the photo, that a dear friend gave to me.  Finally I have my winter travel altar, I just love the colors and inside are one tea candle, a book of matches, a couple of cone incense and a clear quartz crystal, for when I travel. 

You can add cards from family and friends, jewelry that makes you smile, your portable music player with your favorite music so you can listen to music when you are at your altar, a prayer or poem that reflects your mood or the season, one you have written or found, one you enjoy. 

Think about including items that bring back wonderful memories, or bring you to a special place in your life.  You want this altar to be for you, and
represent you and the things you love. 

Special altar items for this season could include cinnamon sticks, real fir branches, or pine cones.   They make great additions to any altar and bring a piece of nature into your home.  Remember this is the time of hibernation, when we think about the year that has past as well as all we desire in the
coming year. 

Another idea is to include a small box for your thoughts or prayers.   You can purchase a small cardboard box from a craft store or you can reuse a box you already have at home.  Just cut it to size and paint it or decoupage the inside and outside to suit you.  Have small pieces of paper nearby and write down your thoughts or prayers or wishes for the upcoming year and leave them in the box. 

I enjoy changing my altar with the seasons, it is a great reminder of the changes we go through yearly and throughout our lives.  Some items on my altar stay year round, and some I change with the seasons.  My altar holds a place for my meditation practice, it reminds me of what is truly important in my life, and creates a flow of positive energy in my home. 

Enjoy your Winter!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

More About Roots

This week, my friend, Nancy, and I are blogging more about roots. (such a deep subject. LOL)  The question for this week is "The root that I most need to cultivate within myself now is...."

OK that does take a little thought, it seems like I am always working on myself in one way or another, growing, changing, moving forward.  But this is a perfect time to think about what I would like to cultivate, what needs to be brought to the surface, worked on, focused on.  It is December, the time I like to look at the year behind and the year ahead, think about where my focus will be, where life will take me, goals, etc.

Maybe it's time to draw an oracle card for this year.  Last year the card I drew said "stay in your own skin".

This was perfect this past year.  Having the card our on my bed side stand helped me remember to "stay in my own skin".  It was very freeing to not get caught up in drama, to be upfront with people, not assume things but try to always ask and be OK with other's thoughts and feelings without thinking it was "my fault" or that "something happened".  I still think I need to keep this card out and work on this root again this year. Work on creating my "bubble" so that I don't take on the feelings of other people, sometimes if a friend is sad or angry, I find I can go home feeling the same way.  I need to be able to keep a safety bubble while being there for support.  

The card I drew just now and will work on this year says "vibe check".

OK what an awesome card, and so relates to what I was talking about above.  This card is about being keenly aware of the vibes you are getting/feeling from your surroundings, your environment, wherever that may be.  And striving to keep yourself in the positive, surrounded by positive vibes.  Which doesn't necessarily mean only a positive, supportive, nurturing environment, to me it means a safe environment as well.  An environment that is safe emotionally, physically spiritually.  And using your tools when the environment is not giving off "positive vibes" to keep yourself safe.  So I think this is the year to be vibe checking my environments and cultivating those tools that I need keep myself in a positive place.  

What roots will you be cultivating this year?  Great journaling prompt.  If you would like to see what my friend Nancy will be cultivating, visit her blog, A Present Moment, and check.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Vacation and Journaling

I am getting ready for a vacation, so I haven't had a lot of time to blog this past week.  I was thinking about my journaling.  For months now I have made daily journaling part of my morning routine, so nice to clear my head, write things out.  But I don't want to take my large journal with me, just too big, especially when an "extra" checked bag is going to cost $200, I am trying to keep extras to a minimum.

Last week I stumbled on a facebook group about junk journals, I can't even remember how I found the group but these people are making simple, and more complex, journals out of things they have around the house.  I knew I could do that, I have a ton of crafting supplies.  And the smaller, one signature, journals are so small, they would be perfect to take along on our vacation.  So I made one, it only took a few hours, and so I then made another.   One is for the vacation specifically, and the other is a December journal.  I will probably blog my thoughts through December as well.  December is the month when I think about the year behind, and the year ahead.  Think about my oracle card for this year, things like that.  So a journal is a perfect way to document this, jot things down, remember special quotes that I would like to focus on for the year ahead.  These are small journals, one is about 5 X 6 inches, and the other is 6 X 6 inches, and they are thin so will fit nicely in a suit case. Lots of room to journal plus a few pockets to hold pamphlets, receipts, tickets from our trip.   Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Knitting Meditation

As you have probably guessed, I knit....A LOT!  And I just find it so relaxing.  I was thinking about this the other day, how much knitting, for me, is a form of meditation.  So many other things I do, I find easy to multitask, but knitting not so much. Can't seem to get the hang of knitting and painting.  I am forced to sit in one spot and just knit.  I may be able to watch TV or a movie while I knit but that is about it.

It is just so relaxing, I find when I first sit down there are a million things running through my head.  Generally it starts out with my todo list, what I need to get done today, things I would like to get done and things that can wait until another day.  From there my attention turns to things going on in my life, maybe some of the stress producing things, like traveling to Germany, maybe just relationship things.  But I just let these thoughts come into my brain and then leave.  But if I just keep knitting, soon my thoughts empty, my brain clears all the junk, and I can just be in the moment, not thinking about anything.  This is especially true when I am knitting a project where counting stitches isn't important.

I find that my focus changes and soon I am hearing the clicking of my needles, and the swoosh of the yarn as the stitches drop off the end of my needle.  When my mind starts to wander off I can start counting stitches and it brings me back to the now.  My breathing will slow down just a bit and I lose track of time.

I can knit for an hour or two with ease. But I also like taking a smaller project along with me everywhere. I like to work on a project when I have a few minutes here and there in my day, but I also like having knitting along to pull out when I need to relax a bit.  I can easily just fall into the rhythm of the click, click, click of the needles and it pulls me out of my head, out of any type of rushed, stressed feeling and makes me relax, makes me pause.

I am sure there are other things people find meditative, that they never even thought of before, things in our daily lives that we rely on to take us out of "thinking" mode and into mindful relaxation.  Enjoy those moments, find something that helps bring you into this moment, and enjoy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Being Rooted Means To Me.....

Wow, that is such a hard topic to think about, so many things run through my mind.  I love nature, so to answer that I turn to plants and trees and what the roots do in general.  Bringing nourishment and water to the plant/tree itself, providing sustenance for the plant.  Also holding that life force over winter, or in drought. Many plants will die back to the root during a crisis, and the root holds tight, so that in more prosperous times the plant will have the life to move forward, grow and flourish.  The root goes virtually unnoticed so the plant will have what it needs to shine.

The root also provides stability, so that during winds and rain the plant will remain secure, held tight to the ground.  Such an important purpose, the security of the plant itself, the root.

So in thinking about being rooted I need to think about what it is that holds me tight to this earth, what nourishes me and, during crisis, will make sure I survive so my soul can grow and shine/bloom when things are back on course again, when the crisis is over.

I would like to say that family provides that for me, they are my roots.  But I have learned the hard way that when family is ripped away from me, I will survive.  I will learn to live in a world without those family members.  So my family members are not my roots.  I think they are more like the water and nutrients that feed me, they provide love and inspiration, they provide trust and a soft place to fall.  Or maybe they are more like the flowers and leaves, the product of love, hard work, attention, effort, energy, growth.

Another thought is my creative spirit, it really inspires me and is a way to express myself without ever showing another soul.  But again, that isn't my root, it is an expression of who I am, but without those creative endeavors I would survive, I would be changed yes, but I would persevere.

I think the trust in my spirit is at least part of my roots.  My own perspective on the world, my drive, my love, my spirit.  I think those feelings are my roots.  Without my soul, I would be nothing.  Without my drive, or my energy or my spirit, what would be left.  Without those things I would certainly blow away in the wind, I would shrivel up and die in a crisis.  The essence of who I am is what holds me tight to this earth, it is what feeds me, it is what allows me to grow and flourish, it is my security, my stability,  and allows me to shine in my own space.  That is what being rooted means to me. Having that which allows me to make it through the storm.

OK it took a lot to get me to this understanding, such a thought provoking question and process, I hope you all give at least a minute of thought to this.....What does being rooted mean to you, and what are your roots?

This is a cooperative blogging project, if you would like to see what my friend, Nancy, has to say about being rooted visit her blog, A Present Moment.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Reflections on my week....

This week has kind of flown by, I have spent most of it with friends, which is nice.  Sometimes I need some "friend time".  Wednesday was art day and we just played around with watercolors and I brought my acrylics and some other things to work with.  Thursday we spent a good chunk of the day in Weaverville and Asheville, ahhhh, nice.  Nice time looking around Weaverville, checking out a couple of galleries, buying a couple of Christmas presents, followed by lunch and time chatting at the Well Bred Bakery and Cafe.  

Then off to Asheville to a wonderful yarn shop, The Knitting Diva.  They have moved and their new place is about three times larger than the old place, lots of yarn, almost overwhelming, although I found a few nice pieces to buy.  And then to the Herbiary, oh wonderful.  It is so nice to see an herb shop with such variety, they carry bulk herbs! I picked up a few things I needed as well as a couple of books.  I just had a wonderful day.

Tonight is a birthday party for a friend, which brings me to....

What's on the menu:  For the boys I am making bread right now.  For the party I am making a gluten free, dairy free chocolate cake with "cream cheese" frosting (dairy free), and I am making gluten free, dairy free brownies.  I am also going to make a new recipe, it sounds oddly delicious.....dill pickle soup.  I know it doesn't sound good but sounds delicious at the same time.  I am making the original recipe, which is dairy heavy, and going to try to make a dairy free version that I can eat.  Will let you know how it turns out. I am using some of Jackson's fermented pickles, which should make it extra delicious.

So you can see I am busy today.

I haven't really watched much on TV or been to the movies, not much for music either.  I have been painting some when I get a chance as well as knitting, and putting a few things up in my etsy store.  I need to do more of that, I have half a dozen pair of socks to add as well as a couple more shawls and scarves.  I much prefer to be doing the knitting than maintaining the store, but the etsy store feeds my knitting addiction, which means I get to go yarn shopping again.  Ahhhhhh

If you are sharing your week in review, please leave me a link in the comment section so I can visit your blog as well.  Hope you all had a great week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Projects Completed

I, of course, have many projects going at once.  I mean you never know when you will get tired of working on one thing and just need something else.  But I have finished two beautiful projects that I could not be happier with, they just turned out beautifully.

The first is one I mentioned a while ago, an afghan for myself.  It has so many different crochet stitches and they all merge so beautifully, I really enjoyed making this.  Of course the dogs love it as well so as soon as I fold it up on the back of the couch they will paw at it until it comes down and scratch around until it is in a nice bed.  Can't have anything "nice" with dogs around.  I wish I could make this in wool, and some day, once my spinning technique is perfected, maybe I can, but for right now it is in a cheaper acrylic yarn, still soft but not a nice wool.  I couldn't justify, in my mind, spending hundreds of $ on an afghan that, more likely than not, the dogs will use at least half the time.  Here is the pattern for this afghan.

The second tiny afghan in the photo is a baby afghan for a friend.  It just turned out beautifully.  Again, this is a pattern that was fun to crochet and the end product is so soft and will be warm and comfy for baby.  I think it is called a popcorn stitch but I didn't really follow any pattern. I alternated sc row and a row with 5 dc decrease in 1 sc, sc in next sc, 5 dc decrease in next sc, sc in next sc etc.  That was it, but it turned out beautiful.  If you google popcorn crochet stitch I am sure you will come up with some lovely patterns.  

So these are two finished projects.  Now onto something new!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Introvert With a Thousand Other Women

OK so I have been thinking about this post since the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference.  It is an amazing conference, I always learn so much and it just always seems to add to my herbal practice each and every year.  BUT being an introvert it is so hard to be there.  The first few years I attended with one of my best friends.  It is nice to have just one person I trust, and can talk to.  Even when we attended different sessions, I knew we would connect back up after and have time to chat, share what we learned and eat lunch together.  I knew that one person was there.  If I had not gone with this friend the first few years I am not sure I would be attending alone now.

Attending alone is a different story, each day as I drive up the mountain and the conference gets closer and closer, I can feel my anxiety level rising as well.  Not unbearable but I can feel it.  I am thinking to myself that there will be two women at the gate, letting cars in, so I will have to talk to them for just a couple of seconds. I will have to register, which is another two or three people I will talk with for just a bit.

I already know the session I want to attend so I bring my own chair (those hard chairs are just so uncomfortable, especially for hours on end), my nice camp chair, and I set up in the back.  No, not in the front where I will be front and center, but in the back behind the last row, by myself.  It is a great place to be, I can see the speaker, but have no one beside me, it is just me.  So when you see that person at the back of the room, with her head down, that is me.  I am not "stuck up" I am calming my nerves until the session starts.  So many people, all around, I can feel them, the atmosphere just seems to seep into my soul. I really need to work on creating my bubble, so those feeling don't wander in.

I eat alone, I can usually find a nice quiet place where I can eat lunch, and just relax a bit.  I walk around the vendor booths, not saying much of anything.  I enjoy watching the children put on dancing demos and performances.  Beautiful, but the anxiety goes up a bit when the leader says that the children will now travel around to play duck-duck-goose with the audience. OK so yes children have a sense of when someone does not want to interact, whew.  They know.  So I can just watch and celebrate, on the inside, these wonderful young women.

My anxiety also rises whenever I hear the words "turn to your neighbor".  Luckily, that only happened in one session.  For the most part the speakers have such wonderful information to get across and only a limited time, so it is generally an intense, jump into things, kind of conference.  I hate turning to a stranger and sharing any kind of personal information.  But I don't want to insult anyone and say "no".  So I go along, and mumble through, thinking of something to say that I hope doesn't sound weird.

I go home each night and just relax, back with my family, feeling easy, things are easy at home, I trust these people.  And I decide that the conference is worth the discomfort and I go back again the next day, enjoying all the information I am gathering, hearing such wonderful, knowledgeable speakers, watching other people talk to strangers with ease.  But as an introvert this environment is not easy.  Hopefully it will get easier with time, not yet, but someday.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Linville Falls Hiking with Dallen

This time of year is so beautiful, and we live in such a perfect spot to enjoy it.  All the waterfalls, scenic views and hiking trails in western North Carolina are just a hikers paradise.  And although I am not an avid hiker, I do enjoy hiking in the mountains.  I think I have mentioned before that my youngest doesn't enjoy hiking as much but my oldest son, Dallen, really enjoys getting out there with me.

Last week we decided to hike Linville Falls.  It is really a more touristy spot but we had limited time and I knew this was not a long hike. It took about two hours including stops to take pictures and enjoy the falls. The leaves are beautiful and you can see the falls and the river from several scenic stops along the trail.  I am hoping to do more hiking in the future, trying to strengthen my ankles, which have each taken a beating in the last few years.  Working at getting myself into better shape.  Here are some pictures of our hike.  And anyone that lives around here this is the perfect time to go.  It was very peaceful, especially the higher you hike, fewer people the higher you go.

I liked this picture as you can see the river way below and I happened to catch a leaf falling, so delicate and pretty. 

Such a wonderful view all around!