autumn days

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Child-Led Sewing

When I think of sewing, I think of attaching two pieces of fabric together to make a new object, such as a pillow or skirt.  My daughter Hannah declared yesterday that she wanted to start a sewing project with her own sewing kit (from Great Grandma's stash, delivered by Santa).  She raced through her homeschool tasks and jumped right into her kit.

On a little fabric from Grandma, she drew out a city train, threaded a needle, and attempt a knot at the thread's end.  She jumped right into embroidering her train onto the fabric as if she'd done it before.
While Hannah spent an hour on this project, her brother Liam got into the mix embroidering with his own large needle.  He had a great time sewing the fabric into a ball.  I wouldn't have thought of that!  I appreciate my daughter's creativity and perseverance in planning and accomplishing her own complex task.  And I appreciate my son's enthusiasm for doing what his big sister is doing and beginning his first sewing lesson.

Garden Fairies of the Australian Persuasion

Our garden fairies have been quite mischievous this year!  It seems they have planted Queen Anne's lace, moss, various squash, grasses, pansies, tomatoes, and black-eyed susans into our garden beds.  Who am I to remove flowers from the fairy garden?

Every two weeks I cannot see the beds of kale through all the weeds and must again dig them out.  This morning I went out simply to water and spent four hours pulling out dead peas and buckets of weeds.  Under all those weeds, I found kale, cabbage, squash, many pollinating insects, and the sound of myself unexpectedly speaking with an Australian accent.  (The latter must be a side effect of reading Dreamkeepers: A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia.)  I've picked hundreds of pounds of weeds and still the garden is full of grasses and invasive happy weeds, also known as herbs to some.  With a garden this adventurous, it is tempting to cancel all our other plans and sit back to watch it all grow.  Most of it is edible, so we can stop and declare ourselves ready for a snack (in our Australian accents) whenever we wish.

Herbs & Hyssop Oxymel

We have so many dried herbs just waiting to be put to use.  Our little kitchen apothecary is bursting with rosemary, sage, chamomile, mint, raspberry leaves, rosehips, lavender, and calendula.  I make teas and scented rice heating packs, but what else is there?  Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health is our starting point for making the most of our herbs with tinctures, salves, and more.  

Here is a simple Hyssop Oxymel recipe we received from  We planted hyssop for the bumble bees and now we will put it to use as an herb for colds, flu, fever, bronchitis and more.

  • Hyssop (fresh or dried) Buy dried hyssop here
  • Good quality honey
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Jar with a plastic lid                                                   

  1. To make your hyssop oxymel, fill a jar lightly with chopped fresh hyssop herb. (If using dried hyssop just fill the jar half way.)
  2. Next fill the jar about 1/3 of the way full with honey. (For a sweeter and thicker preparation try filling the jar half full with honey.)
  3. Then fill the jar the rest of the way with the vinegar.
  4. Vinegar can corrode a metal lid, so you’ll need to cover it with a plastic lid, or place a barrier between the metal lid and the liquid.
  5. Place a label on it and let it sit for 2-4 weeks.
  6. Strain it well.
  7. Oxymels will keep for a long time. You can keep this in the fridge for longer preservation (I never do though and it lasts for the entire winter).

Lessons & Blessings

Gosh, there is so much life to live that I haven't made the effort to stop and reflect on this little bloggy blog.  There are so many life lessons to learn, as a family and on my own.

As a full time mother, my children are attached to me almost all the time.  After talking to a new friend who needs time to be alone with herself each day, I am currently learning to ask for time alone.  At this moment, alone time is allowing me to write.  My husband has graciously taken my two sweethearts out to play and left me time alone to bathe, think, sing, reflect, drink water, journal, and type.

I am also learning that I choose what my life is like, from those I choose to have in my life, how I speak and listen to my children, what foods I put on our plates, to how I feel about the whole shebang.  Perhaps it is an autumn sluffing, as I watch the trees shed their rustling red leaves, that encourages me to evaluate my relationships.  And with ending the occasional unhealthy relationship every couple years, I appreciate so deeply the wonderful loving healthy relationships I choose to continue in my life.  I see that my life is surrounding by incredible women, children, and men, and that I truly love each of them in my lives.  I make more efforts to spend time with them and I go out of my way to show them I care.

So while I learn these lessons of my own, my children are growing so quickly.  They are learning and expanding in amazing ways and I so appreciate being present enough to see and acknowledge their accomplishments.  My daughter is jumping into the swimming pool on her own, putting her whole head under the water, printing her letters so clearly, learning to play the piano and speak Mandarin, and now swimming by herself!  My son is jumping into the pool on his own, singing the alphabet, learning to do handstands on the wall, doing dot-to-dots, couldn't get any cuter, and more clearly articulating what he needs and wants.  These two children are gorgeous flowers that are slowly unfolding.  And their smiles and laughter make all my tiny efforts so worth it.  It is such a privilege to be the mother of these two children.  My largest accomplishment as their mother is that they know how much they are loved by myself and others in their lives, this warm supportive healthy community in which we live.  Blessings abound.

Getting sassy with Merlin in Camelot