So What Did I Do Today????

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I read this book …… bits of it. I read a bit, practice it, read more, practice more ……..

I woke up early because Maggie decided to jump on the bed and squeak. She was running up and down the stairs and comes flying into the bedroom and jumps on the bed. Time to get up.

I felt like crap almost all the day – there’s some kind of barometric pressure stuff going on and I think we’ve got really high pollen or something. The temperatures have been in the low 90s or high 80s for a week.  I felt like I was coming down with a cold – which I will not do. I hate colds. Luckily I think it’s just pollen and pressure.

So I decided to dye again. I can’t stay away from the dye pot – I swear I can’t. This time I cut off 3 yards in one bunch, and two bunches of 1 yard each. The first 3 yard bunch went into trying to reproduce the one I muddied up with Wet Sands. I soaked it, sprinkled on liberal amounts of Robin’s Egg Blue, Terracotta and Goldfinch. Then I poured chemical water over that. I flipped the clumped up cloth over and sprinkled the other side and I lifted the clumps in the center and hit them with some RE Blue and Goldfinch. I smooshed (technical term) this down to get the dye to penetrate the layers.

The second bunch I twisted up and sprinkled with Sun Yellow, Orange Marmalade and Pagoda Red. I did the same thing, turning it over and sprinkling more after pouring chemical water on the front sprinkles to activate the dyes.

The third piece I twisted, rolled up and poured a mixture of Parakeet (greenish blue) over the cloth in order to immerse it. The dye was mixed up with the chemical water and salt so it would just be a dye bath, not a multi-colored dye bath.

I have about 6 yards of cloth ready to go plus the ones I’ve done today. I’m really into this, in case you can’t tell. Once I have my pallet complete, the cutting up and resewing will happen. I cannot wait.

A Word About Supper

Bionaturae-Organic-Pappardelle-Egg-Pasta-799210825021I do like simple. I like simple suppers that require a few ingredients but yet taste like heaven. And tonight’s supper fit the bill ……..

I made Broccoli Pasta tonight. Years ago I found a recipe for Broccoli Pasta in a vegetable cookbook that had possibilities, but needed tweaking. You see, pasta is not pasta without garlic – lots of garlic.

So I devolved (is that a word?) my own recipe using broccoli and organic pappardelle. Here’s how I do it:

1 head broccoli cut into florets (you can save the stalks for soup or peel them and chop them fine and put them in the pasta too!

6 cloves (yes) garlic

4 sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted in warm water

1 tsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil – I use robust flavored

1.5 cups grated parmesan (please buy imported, not domestic)

Bring a pasta pot of water to a rolling boil with 2 T salt. When it boils, put the broccoli in and let it return to a boil. I like broccoli crisp tender, but in this recipe well cooked is fine.

In the meantime, mince the garlic and put the tomatoes in a bowl to soften.

When the broccoli is done to your liking, scoop it out with a sieve and place it in a large skillet. I use a 12″ with a cover. Pour half the olive oil over the broccoli and mix it up. Push it to one side and turn on the heat to medium high. Put the garlic in the skillet with another tablespoon of oil and watch it carefully. Burnt garlic is bad.

Leave the hot water at the boil and add the organic pappardelle. I can usually tell by looking if it’s done or not, but test if there’s any doubt. I like my pasta al dente’.

Once the garlic is translucent, mix it with the broccoli and add a couple of ladles of pasta water to stop the frying.

When the pasta is done scoop it out into the skillet. Mix everything well. Turn off the heat and add the parmesan, pepper and tomatoes if using. Mix well and add another ladle or two of pasta water.

Serve with a tossed salad and just wait for the rave reviews. My son told me tonight that this is the best meal he’s had for ages. He said that last week too when we had the General Tsao’s Tofu. Guess he’s glad I’m cooking again!

Layers on Layers

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This is one of those pieces that needed more work. The white spots are too white although I love the colors and the form they’re taking. Today – it is stuck in a dye bath of Wet Sands after being pleated and rolled up. The dye bath looks like mud. That made me nervous. I’m not going to batch this piece for 24 hours …… instead it will come out to play in a little over 2.5 hours. I can’t take the mud for long.

I had another piece that I have no photo of yet. It’s turquoise blue with light purple and some god-awful red in it – thankfully hardly any of the red. That – along with 3 other smaller pieces – is sitting in a batch of Kingfisher Blue …… somewhat blue-green-dark. I rolled that piece as a resist. The dye will penetrate the parts it does and not the parts it doesn’t. That also will get 3 hours and no more.

My piece from yesterday ……. what can I say? It was turquoise and ugly red. I pleated in and rolled it up jelly roll style and stuck some rubber bands on to hold it in shape. I batched that in deep marine blue overnight. Well. This morning that piece is the most incredible graphic piece I’ve done so far. It’s like looking through a screen of blue to see the other colors. Winner.

Now I ask – can I cut these up to make quilts for the wall? Yes. I can. I think I can.

Works in Progress

Some of these are just perfect the way they are …… some will have further work done to them …… all in all I could scream in happiness. What I see as I look at these formerly white pieces of cloth is something magical. Amazing what a little color can do, no? And this is just a portion of what I’ve done since last weekend. Oh my.

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And then, there’s this

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Whirlwind

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This is one of those days when, although I have stopped, I feel like I’m still going …….

I spent the morning applying the second layer of dyes to the cloth I started on Saturday, rinsed out the cloth I dyed yesterday, spent god knows how much time looking at stuff on the computer, changed clothes (one has dye clothes and not dye clothes) and ate something.

I had about an hour of knitting time before I had to get ready and head out to the mall area for the haircut/color. I needed the color. My hair is short now and I love it. No muss no fuss no standing under a blow dryer for 1/2 an hour …….. it dries and it dries fast. It looks like this – I don’t, but my hair does:

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Love my hair. Anyway that meant sitting still for 40 minutes or so and then BOOM I hit the grocery store. Needed milk and a few other things but mostly I needed something to eat that did not require the application of heat. It was 93 in the car when I left home and 94 when I came back …. before I put the air conditioner on full blast. In my mind, you cannot beat a cheese sandwich on a bun with watermelon and cantaloupe and chips. Not at all. Plus I NEEDED ice cream. Done. Haven’t eaten it yet since the cheese sandwich and fruit filled in a lot of holes.

Now I’m done for the day. Whew. Still flying though …… there’s another update for yarn tonight …… hmm. Might have something left to do.

Goings On

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First, it’s hot. I think this is the first day this summer where the temperature has approached 90. Tomorrow it will be 92. I will want to stay inside, but must troop out to see Heather and get a haircut.

I thought about making banana bread today and changed my mind. I can’t imagine turning on the oven for an hour. Thank god I have a mini-split heat pump which thank you keeps my house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I love that thing.

I dyed yesterday. Read that again. I dyed. I did a low immersion dye process with several pieces of cloth. Will give you glamour shots soon. I love it all so I dyed more today – still low immersion but larger pieces. I cannot wait to see them.

My second sweater on the needles is about 10″ now and except that I have to keep alternating skeins and have more ends to weave in than I can stand and what the hell it takes forever. Still, the sweater will be lovely in all it’s multicolored glory.

My first sweater is awaiting attention. I can’t break away from the second to do the first yet. I have to hustle because Plucktober begins October 1 and I have yarn coming for that. Yes, Bohemian Blue Plucky Knitter Crewbie – the new kid on the block. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. There’s another update in the morning so I have to set my alarm. I’m going to snag a skein of CC Bloom (coral peach thing) to go with Paris is Always a Good Idea (vivid bright electric blue) to make another sweater. Sweater sweater sweater. I also need to get some socks done ……. and of course those fiber art pieces ………

Speaking of which, my soy wax crayons arrived along with the book Vibrant Color which now has me smitten with the concept of hot wax dyeing. I’m searching the second hand shops for a griddle. I got tons of plastic containers, mini loaf pans, spray bottles and a notebook to keep my dyeing notes organized at my favorite new haunt, The Christmas Tree Shop. I love that store. In fact, it’s right behind my hairdresser so I might just have to take a teensy detour on my way home. I need stamping thingies. Things I can put into hot wax and stamp onto fabric. Lots of things. I hear tell cookie cutters work, so would almost anything that makes a pattern. And I could use a couple or more textured placemats to put under my fabric to make textures with the crayons. Ah I am having fun.

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So far I haven’t obliterated the kitchen with messes. I’m still working on my studio and hopefully by October, it will be functional.

Oh yeah ………. my chosen landscape fella came by Thursday. I mentioned “English Cottage” for the front yard and unfortunately I don’t have enough sun out there. Hmm. That didn’t occur to me. So we’re rethinking that to put with shade-loving plants. Given that I have a forest of hostas in the back, they get to go on a trip. I want color though so I’m flipping through my gardening books looking for inspiration. I am so pleased with the landscaper. I had no idea he did the front garden for my neighbor who has the most beautiful home on the block. No wonder I like that garden! And he was kind enough to say that the backyard will be fine with just a bit of “thrashing” and he has a team that loves doing it.

Since I cannot afford the time to take a nap today ……… I’m going to knit. And wonder about what’s for supper …….. something with wild blueberries I think ……..

Paldies, Inese, Paldies

Every now and again, I come across a blog that I must read from start to finish. Inese Poga’s blog at http://inesepogagallery.com is one of those blogs. And when I saw that she has available, through Fine Art America, many of her lovely paintings, I had to get my first one – on a tote bag of course. I see many more coming to my home to hang on my walls and brighten my day.

Art Work by Inese Poga
Art Work by Inese Poga

It does not hurt that this very lovely lady is of the same nationality as my late husband. In fact, when I looked up how to translate thank you into Latvian, I was not surprised that it is paldies …… I have heard this word repeatedly spoken from my husband to his mother. Most all of the conversation was totally not-understandable for me and I often asked him to teach me how to speak – but I think this would have been an impossibility for both of us. We did both speak German, he much better than I because he lived there for a long time after World War II and me, not so good because it was my major in college! You would think I would have retained more …….. but I only retain in my head what I want to retain ………

This lovely bag has made itself at home, already stuffed with yarn, ready to travel wherever I want to take it …….. I can see my latest sweater in here for a trip to the beach for some beach knitting …… before it gets cold.

Paldies, Inese ……. I look so forward to more of your work gracing my home.

Begin Again

Circular Paths

When I was 13 just 50.5 short years ago, I learned batik from my most favorite art teacher of all time. Mrs. Pond was a Bohemian in every sense of the word. And she allowed an art craving teenager the ability to participate in independent study as part of my junior high school art class credit.

I spent the years since then painting on every surface I could find until the 80s when I found Procion MX dyes and fabric. I was ecstatic.

Intertwined
Intertwined

My first truly mine quilt was made from my hand-dyed fabric in indigo, fuchsia and purple. It was unbelievable. I hand-quilted it and unfortunately used a cotton batting which like to killed my hands. I will always blame that quilt for my need to wear a wrist wrap in order to keep sewing …… no matter …… I sold that quilt to a family in Grosse Pointe for their wall. They had a home with an open two-story foyer and the quilt hung on the second floor balcony visible from the foyer. It looked incredible placed against an all white wall and it was huge – 90 x 90 inches. I went on to dye fabrics for numerous wall quilts, including The Wall seen here which incorporates 3D pockets in the stones. At the gallery showing of this, attendees were encouraged to put prayers into the pockets. The curator removed them each evening and faxed the prayers to Jerusalem where someone took them and placed them in the Wall. It was magical.

thewallI spent many years participating in juried quilt shows, selling my work, explaining to people that no, I can’t make something in colors to match your sofa because I will never finish it …….. I had to get them to understand that my inspiration came from inside, not out.

At one point, every wall in my home was covered with either art or a wall quilt. Now I again have room to hang my work and I have the inspiration to begin again.

For some reason I cannot yet fathom, I do want to work with fabric I create from the blank cloth. I may also incorporate some fabric as I find it if it appeals and suits the application. But creating the cloth is what I am inspired to do. And now comes the hard part.

I have a large home. Thank god. I have one room that is now empty – actually two rooms if I get to the old spinning room and clean out some of the textile junk left over – but one room on the first floor close to the kitchen for necessary water, etc.

I only need a few things to make my studio work for me. A table that’s at least 5′ long, 2′ deep and 35″ high, an indoor outdoor rug of some kind (cheap) to cover the hardwood floor, an electric griddle to melt wax, metal mini loaf pans to put wax/dye mixtures in and of course dyes. I have the dyes.

In the meantime, while I accumulate all the stuff needed for the studio, I will be working in the kitchen, dyeing cloth, using soy wax as a resist, coming up with strange bright colors to convey what I want to convey ……..

I begin again, where I started ……….

Sufficient Grace

Moment Living

 

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I do tend to run on – and I repeat myself – but this is worth repeating – live in the moment. Be here now. Don’t live in the past or the future because they are both a dream. Learn to live from your soul – your center – be a witness and an observer of your life.

Living from a state of crisis is exhausting. I grew up living in crisis after crisis.  For years I allowed all actions and memories of my past control my present. I worried so much about the future – in-between regretting the past – that I was always hyper, upset, forcing forcing forcing.

I started exploring metaphysical subjects at an early age, around the age of 11. Funny that 11 is a power number. Anyway – when I was very young – less than 5 – I can remember feeling that I didn’t belong here. I felt like I had come from somewhere else and I wasn’t supposed to be in a human form. I would look at myself and think how strange I looked.

I’ve fought living in the moment for absolutely what feels like a century – probably longer. I just “got” it in the last couple of years. Being faced with financial restraints, a spouse who was terminally ill and other responsibilities was the catalyst for me to change.

Sitting in my home on PEI – feeling very isolated from the kind of community I dreamed about – I found first Chopra’s The Book of Secrets. I had given a talk at the Montague Public Library on African-American Quilts and the Underground Railroad. It was a speech I’ve done many times. The librarian, a good friend, gave me a gift certificate to a bookstore in Montague that had just opened. I couldn’t have afforded to buy the book if she hadn’t done this. And that’s how I got The Book of Secrets.

In Book of Secrets Chopra talks about Vasishta and his notion that he imagined Vasishta on a meadow with all of the others sleeping. Vasishta is the only one awake. I started searching for Vasishta and found a translation called Vasishta’s Yoga. I have read this more than 700 page book all the way through 3 times and am starting on a fourth.

That book is the one that made living in the moment real to me. It made me jump from the razor’s edge to the great unknown. It informed my soul. The allegories, discussions and vignettes in the book are all geared to being awake while sleeping – don’t take that literally – it means being asleep to the world and awake to your soul. Sleeping while awake. Living in the moment.

I understand that living in the moment is a hard state to achieve. It takes determination, meditation, persistence and faith. It takes forgetting the bad things and recognizing that whatever your circumstances are now – nothing has changed because nothing has ever been created. Ah you say – haven’t I been created? No. There has always only been Brahma, Buddha, God, Krishna, Christ – there has always only been that Spirit. There is no other thing. No-thing.

Duality is present in the Maya (illusion) state of our world. Good Bad Right Wrong Right Left Love Hate Peace War Wealth Poverty ………. in the great Cosmic Consciousness, in reality – there is no value judgment on good/bad – there is no duality. There only is.

Duality is what stops spiritual growth. Ego fights to get to good states and rails against bad. I am often reminded of this when a national tragedy occurs or a world tragedy. People ask “How can God let this happen?” We automatically become vigilantes looking to right wrongs. We hate.

How can God let this happen? There is no happening in Cosmic Consciousness. God is not in unreality or Maya. God is showing us what we have created in our lives with our thoughts – he has created nothing. No-thing. If there is no creation there can be no bad or good. There just is.

This is important and hard to explain. No creation means that everything is one thing. One Cosmic Consciousness. There is only that. We are focused in the lila or play of life. We have roles to play and we must play them well. The Cosmic Consciousness  wants us to join in living with all in all and all in one. We are like drops of water in the ocean. We are attached to our body and mind. Our soul can’t be heard with all the earth noise. Unless we quiet the earth noise we become part of it.

The soul is our witness. Both the observer and the observed are the same. The lover and the loved are one. There is no other. The thought in the mind is the object. There is no object without the thought – it is the same.

Sitting on the porch one day with my friend David, we were discussing my vegetarianism. David said no where that he ever read in spiritual literature does it say not to eat meat or not to kill animals in a cruel manner for food. He said “Anyway I think there is just one Cow and he keeps agreeing that we can kill him and eat him.” Logically I looked at that thought and replied “I can get that. Just like there’s only One of us.” David was shocked. Only one person too? His reaction made me laugh. It was okay for there to be one cow, but not One Being.

Which leads to the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – well what if,  when you do unto others you ARE doing unto you? The rule makes sense either way you think about it. If you harm someone else you are harming yourself. Love one another.

We’re in the age of Kali Yuga in the Hindu religion now. The Goddess Kali is described as this in Wikipedia;

The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means “Time” or “Death” (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilator of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally “redeemer of the universe”). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess.[1]

Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva laid in path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger. She is time manifestation of other Hindu goddesses like DurgaBhadrakaliSatiRudrani,Parvati and Chamunda. She is the foremost among the Dasa Mahavidyas, ten fierce Tantric goddesses.

Black, time, death, lord of death – sound familiar? As a practicing astrologer I often found Pluto in either transit or prominent in the natal chart of a client. Pluto or Minerva brings forth all of the garbage in the world so that we may look upon it and remove it. This force has been operating for quite a few years. In this period we have had terrorist attacks, tsunami, massive earthquakes, destruction on a massive scale and murders and other crimes wherein the murderer is particularly heinous. We see the incredible and unbelievable culture of rape in the home of Krishna where it does not belong nor anywhere in our world. We see evil in all its array. But what if the evil is our creation – not God’s?

What if all of the attention we place on these murderers, rapists, horrible natural disasters and other horrendous acts of venality create more of this?  What if we are what we see? Would not then it be possible to change these manifestations of evil by peaceful means? Would it not!

And now once again we come back to moment living. We come back to reflect that there is no creator because the Cosmic Consciousness was never created. It just is. If we are all one and the Cosmic Consciousness was never created, we were never created. No notions. No death, hate, war, murder, hurricanes, tsunamis – no-thing. That’s in a perfect world – which we may never see – a world where everyone actively seeks the happiness of everyone else. Where everyone has compassion FOR EVERYONE, not just those who think like them, hold the same political beliefs as them, have the same moral values as them. That’s a world where compassion rules all other states. Because if we were never created – no hate, no murder, no rape, no beatings, no gangs, no nothing, these things would not need to be studied and a way found to stop them – because we would not create them. We would all be compassionate toward everyone.

No life – no death. Only jiva (soul)  looking for a human experience. Getting caught in Maya. And knowing deep down at soul level that we are only playing a role in the lila of the Cosmic Consciousness ……… and being determined to play that role – whatever it is – with compassion for everyone and every thing in this world.

love