It's Giveaway Mania!

Want a chance to win your very own copy of Crafting the Resistance? 

Crafting the Resistance Cover.jpg

 

Simply fill out the form below and be entered to win. FIVE winners will be selected (AT RANDOM) on Friday, September 15th. What do you have to lose?


Name *
Name

On The Town

The third section of the book gives you projects to show your support for the cause while out and about. How about a coffee cup cozy to make a statement without saying a word, or a cowl that is a bit ladylike, a bit nasty girl, or how about some free range pussyhat symbols, resistance ornaments and pussyhat bombs you can put on community boards. It's all in this section!

Morning Coffee

HeForShe Cozy

You can pre-order a copy of Crafting the Resistance from Amazon right now!


Or you can enter to win one of five free copies of the book!

Name *
Name

At Home

The second section of the book is called At Home. These are projects that help you tell the world you are part of the resistance right from the comfort of your home. You beloved fur kids can have something special from this section and there are plenty of projects for self care and pampering.

You'll find pillows, slippers, book marks, ornaments, a whole assortment of projects you'll be excited to make. 

Pamper

tired feet? Luscious lounge slippers will help.

Pre-order your own copy of Crafting the Resistance from Amazon right now. 


Or, enter to win one of five free copies in our giveaway!

Name *
Name

On the March

Lara and I conceived a book that would provide projects for three different areas of life where we can show our support for the cause: on the march, on the town and at home. Over the next three posts I'll give you a sneak peek of each of these areas and the first three giveaway opportunities will be at the end of each post. 

Today we talk about On the March. Protesting is exhausting work. It requires dealing with all manner of weather conditions, large crowds (sometimes unfriendly ones), and security personnel. This section of the book has great projects to improve your march experience. From clear tote bags, to bandanas, we've got you covered. 

Mobility Ankle Pocket

Mobility Ankle Pocket

Lara designed this awesome ankle pocket to cash, an ID, etc. safe and secure while you are on the march. And it would work great in any situation where you need to stash something safely while out and about. 

Want the pattern? Pre-order your copy of Crafting the Resistance today from Amazon. 


Enter below for a chance to WIN one of five free copies of the book. 

Name *
Name

My first book!

In March a publisher approached me and asked if I was interested in writing a book called Crafting the Resistance. It would include 35 projects for the resistance movement. I loved the idea but didn't know if I could hack it. The deadline was one month away! But the AMAZING Lara Neel  jumped on board and I KNEW we could do it! 

In one month, the two of us dreamed up, designed, sewed, knit, felted, crocheted, and generally busted our collective butts to write this book. We have some other wonderful contributors as well: Donna Druchunas and Heidi Harris of West County Fiber Arts. We are proud of it and we think you'll love it too. 

It comes out at the end of August but you can pre-order now through Amazon.

Stay tuned to this space to get a number or design previews from the book as well as a book giveaway! I'll be giving away five copies of the book so keep an eye out for each drawing.

For now, here's a photo preview of one of the many awesome designs inside!

In Action

Resistance Ornaments, designed by Donna Druchunas

How Do You Work?

How do you work?

Sounds like an odd question right? But there are many ways to work productively. For YEARS, literally years, I've been filling out my calendar with small time blocks for everything, including meals and work outs and specifics about what I should be doing at which times each day. That type of schedule always worked well for me when I worked a full time job. It helped me fit in all the meetings, all the social obligations, etc. But I've been noticing that it doesn't actually work for me now that I'm my own boss.

For at least the past three years, I've been religiously filling out my daily calendar and religiously failing to meet all the requirements I'd set for myself. There are a few exceptions obviously. I mean, the kids have to get taken to school and picked up, doctor's appointments and meetings must be attended. But the "work blocks" that said either "Design Knit" or "Writing/Blog" were rarely met. And for years I've been feeling guilty. Guilty! Guilty that I wasn't meeting the demands of a regular workday. Guilty that I wasn't getting stuff done. Except that I actually was.

For years I've been slower and seemingly unproductive in the winter, with my energy picking up for spring and fall and waning again in summer. I've always blamed this on maybe being a little down, or uninspired, or ill health, and sure there was some of that. But what I've discovered, when looking at what I've ACTUALLY accomplished during each season of the year, is that I AM getting stuff done. I AM being productive. It's just not the stuff that I tried to regulate myself to do on my calendar. 

This realization was an epiphany. I am not lazy and unproductive half of the year, I'm simply in a cycle that mirrors nature. It's real. it's natural and it goes against everything you read about how to be productive, especially if you work from home.

Winter, when most creatures hibernate, slow down, or otherwise, rest.

Winter, when most creatures hibernate, slow down, or otherwise, rest.

For many of us, those systems, "write for 15 minutes a day", "schedule every workout on your calendar", etc. not only don't work, but they make us feel like failures BECAUSE they don't work for us. We aren't broken, we just need a different system.

So this new found freedom has given rise to a new system for me. My calendar is SO much more functional for me now. Of course there are still the non-negotiables. I still have to walk my son to school every day. I still have to pick him up every afternoon. There are still meetings and sports and piano lessons. BUT, now instead of having 1.5 hours for this and 2 hours for that, I have a solid block each weekday between 9:30 and 2 that simply says "Work Block".  What do I do during these work block periods? I do whatever I'm called to do. Do I feel more like writing today or would I rather spend the day scouring, carding and spinning wool? Do I feel totally uninspired to blog but my camera and nature is calling to me? I can do what I actually feel called to do. I cannot explain how liberating this is.

Sample of my new calendar and my freedom work block.

Sample of my new calendar and my freedom work block.

When there are deadlines, like for an article or pattern, or a lecture, etc. I can prioritize those things. I still practice the "Top Three" technique wherein each morning I pick three things that I really need/want to get accomplished that day. If those things are really crucial, they get done, if not, I give myself the freedom to push them off to tomorrow.

I still need a driving set of goals and I still set up the main goals for the year as well as goals for each quarter, but these goals are living, breathing things. They are malleable and can change and grow. What is almost more important than the goals are the action steps that get me there. At the end of each quarter I look back at what I've accomplished and see what I need to push harder on, what I can pat myself on the back for, etc. 

I love this new way of working. It is more authentic to who I am. And most excitingly, it removes the guilt.  

So how do you work? Is your method working for you? Are you a cyclical person or can you address multiple large tasks in a day in segmented blocks? What kind of changes have you made over the past few years that has improved the way your work?

On Spirits, Ghosts and Things That Go Bump In the Night

My 9 year old son has been having a lot of bad dreams lately. This morning he told me that he actually hasn't been having bad dreams but he keeps getting woken up and seeing shadow figures near his bed or in the hallway. 

This is not the first time he's seen things in this house. When he was three years old he came into the bathroom one morning while I was putting on my makeup. He stood behind me and asked, "Mommy? Who's that?" 

"Who are you talking about Aidan?" I replied.

"The lady in the mirror next to you." he said without fear.

My heart skipped a beat and I kept a calm face and asked him, "What does she look like?"

"She's kinda old and not smiling." then he skipped out of the bathroom.

I was a bit freaked out but not surprised. Since we'd moved in three years earlier, when Aidan was just two months old, plenty of unexplainable things had happened. I would hear someone walking around in the crawlspace above the living room during the day. Doors would close by themselves. The faucet in the upstairs tiny bathroom would come on ALL THE TIME by itself. One night, my husband and I were reading in bed and we heard the faucet come on. I got up and turned it off and twisted it tightly.  I got back in bed an not a minute later, the water came on again. We both looked at each other, a little freaked out. 

My brother in law lived with us for a time in the room off the garage and said he felt like there was someone in there with him. This room was built originally to house the old lady who'd lived here and raised her children here. According to our neighbors, she'd gotten quite ill and her sons moved her into this room so she didn't have to come down the stairs anymore and they put in a little half bath next to it. My neighbor said she didn't think the lady actually died in the house but after she did pass the sons didn't want the house and it sat empty for a year before my landlords purchased it and we moved in.

After the first few years, the activity abated and it's been quiet for some time. The kids have always been scared to be upstairs alone, day or night, and especially in the bathrooms. It's interesting that Aidan has been seeing shadow figures because the other night I woke up feeling like there was someone standing next to my side of the bed. I didn't see anything but I definitely felt it.

Aidan comes by this honestly. I have seen spirits/ghosts since I was a small child. My sister has had precognitive dreams. And I was raised to trust my experiences and instincts. I feel very grateful that Aidan felt totally fine telling me what he saw, He didn't worry I was not going to believe him. He told me in the hopes I could help him.

So I told him all about the veil thinning this time of year. I told him that most of the time these things we see mean us no harm. Aidan believes they are trying to communicate. He feels less scared now after our talk. I told him I would tell whoever is in the house that they can stay but they cannot show themselves to my sons. I also told Aidan that what he has is a gift and although he might be scared, it is a pretty cool thing to see the other side.

I think having paranormal experiences is a lot more accepted in our society thanks to shows like Ghost Hunters. A Harris Poll in 2013 found that 42% of Americans believed in ghosts.

Have you ever had a paranormal experience? Do you live in a haunted house? If you feel inclined, share your story and I'll share it with my son. It helps him to know he's not the only one experiencing these things.

Happy Halloween!

Decadent Chocolate Coconut Haystacks

Decadent Chocolate Coconut Haystacks

It's tough when you have dietary restrictions to satisfy your sweet tooth. These little yummy bites nip that problem in the bud. The coconut oil provides so much satisfaction and great mouth feel. You feel like you are eating a real treat and yet, it's healthy! Give them a try and see what you think.

If you know anyone who might love these please share!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil melted

1/2 cup raw cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1/3-1/2 cup agave nectar (I exclude this because I'm avoiding sweeteners and they still taste awesome)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup ground golden flaxseed  OR 1/2 cup coconut flour

2 tbsp. sunflower butter

Dash of cayenne pepper.

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan and stir in all ingredients except coconut. When the sauce is completely melted and all ingredients are incorporated, remove from heat and stir in coconut. You can also add other things like cacao nibs or dried goji berries, etc. at this point if you like.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, drop spoonfuls or roll spoonfulls of the mixture and then pop in the freezer for about ten minutes. 

Now you can eat and enjoy!

These can melt at room temperature so I suggest keeping them in the fridge. They will last for weeks, if you don't eat them all up right away!

What is The Eternal Thread?

Whether you are a spinner or a weaver, whether you knit or crochet, every time you practice your craft you are touching history. You are touching a part of that universal tapestry which has been woven by countless artists before you. We are tapping into an ancient knowledge, an ancient set of skills which were crucial to our survival as a species. Without wool, cotton and other fibers, spindles, wheels, looms and needles, there would be no cloth, rope, baskets, rugs, etc. The act of taking a fiber, be that animal, vegetable or mineral, from its raw state and turning it into a thread or yarn, is quite simply magic. 

Different techniques are needed for different fibers and the archaeological record reveals these technologies across cultures are the same. For example, spindle whorls have been found at archaeological sites around the entire world. Made of wood, shell, clay, or stone, they are beautiful evidence that spinning was a part of daily life in nearly every culture. It’s no wonder that there are detailed mythologies linking much loved deities to this craft.

Roman spindle whorls.

Roman spindle whorls.

Nearly every culture has a goddess of spinning or weaving. The Greeks worshipped Arachne and Athena, Ariadne, Leto, and The Fates. The Egyptians called on the Goddess Neith. Among the Norse and Germanic cultures we find the Goddess Frigg, Holda and Perchta and The Valkyries. The Celts worshipped Brigid and the Baltic people a goddess named Saule. The Goddess Weaver was the fiber goddess in China and many Native American traditions speak of Grandmother Spider Woman.

Grandmother Spider Woman.

Grandmother Spider Woman.

In modern traditional societies in Central Asia and parts of the Middle East, spinning and weaving are solely men’s work. However, everywhere else in the world fiber work has always been within the female sphere. From the tending and shearing of fiber animals, to the carding or combing of wool, to the spinning, weaving and later knitting of these yarns, this connection between women and the fiber arts is apparent in the mythology of many cultures.

Walking Wheel.

Walking Wheel.

So how is this relevant to us today? Let’s begin by taking a journey through the evolution of fiber art. What are the origins of the fiber arts? When did spinning first appear and which Goddesses are associated with it? How did weaving evolve and are there goddesses who helped guide women’s hands as they pushed the shuttle back and forth? When did the truly addictive art of knitting with needles arrive on the scene and how creative can we get with it? 

Want to learn all of this and more in a nurturing group environment where you can learn at your own pace? Want lifetime access to the course and a handful of fun projects as well as patterns to go with it? 

Autumnal Equinox: The Harvest

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, the day when the daylight and the darkness are equal. From here on the darkness will increase and the daylight recede until the depths of winter and the Winter Solstice where the tides will turn once again and the daylight we being to gain power over the dark.

The fall equinox is traditionally the main harvest marking the end of summer. Harvesting and storing food for the coming winter was critical for survival. Some of us still harvest foodstuffs in our physical gardens, but I'd like to invite you to ask yourself what you can harvest on a less physical level? What did you grow during spring and summer that you can reap now? Did you start a new job and can you now look at the last 6 months and see progress and change? Did you have a baby or get married? How has your life changed in the past 6 months?  

Harvest time is also a time to feel closer to nature, closer to the earth that provides our nourishment, our means of survival. It's a time of grounding and re-connecting. Spend time out of doors, walking barefoot on the earth, or next to a body of water where you can feel linked to Mother Earth. 

Make an autumn wreath by using hot glue to attach pinecones, fallen leaves, dried seed pods, etc to a grapevine wreath. Plan a harvest feast for your friends and family including food items perfectly ripe this time of year: corn, apples, pears, pomegranates, nuts.

Replenish your bird and squirrel feeders. Tidy up the garden. Play in the leaf pile! Enjoy this beautiful time of year.

Yarn Spotlight: A Yarn From North Ronaldsay

When we went to Scotland this summer my goal was to get my hands on local wool. I didn't care what form it came it, skeins of yarn or unspun fiber. Turns out I got both. I was lucky to find a large bag of washed and combed North Ronaldsay wool which I then spun and knitted into a hat. 

I was also luck to find three skeins of North Ronaldsay yarn in a shop in Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. 

IMG_2426.jpg

A Yarn From North Ronaldsay began as a community based project and then became an actual company in 1996. The idea was to buy fleeces from the farmers at a higher price than the wool board was paying, send it south to a mill to spin into yarn and then sell it as yarns and as knitted garments locally. 

It became harder and harder to find mills willing to do smaller runs and after many years of fundraising they opened their own mill on the island of North Ronaldsay in 2003. The result is a line of wool, batts, yarns and knitted garments that are 100% produced on North Ronaldsay Island. 

North Ronaldsay Sheep eating seaweed.

North Ronaldsay Sheep eating seaweed.

The North Ronaldsay sheep are very unique. These sheep subsist on a diet of seaweed for most of year! The locals say that for generations the cattle were considered more important than the sheep. In 1832, the farmers on the island built a six foot high fence around the ENTIRE island keeping the cattle inside with the grass fodder and the sheep on the foreshore around the island limited to seaweed forage. They are a unique and rare breed with only 600 breeding females left as of 2014. 

North Ronaldsay sheep, the wall and the lighthouse (which houses the mill) in the background.

North Ronaldsay sheep, the wall and the lighthouse (which houses the mill) in the background.

They produce a beautiful wool that comes in a variety of natural shades from fawn to dark brown, nearly black. The staple length is between 4 and 8 cm and it is easy to spin. There is a nice crimp to it and is great for items such as hats and garments that need not be next to skin. 

You can purchase yarns from the company here. And read more about the Orkney Islands here

The Eternal Thread: Frau Holle or Holda, the Winter Goddess

Join us beginning October 1st for the self-paced Eternal Thread online course. Here is just a sample of what we'll be covering. The course is a learn at your own pace course and hosted here on my website. There's also a private Facebook group where we can discuss course topics and share.  

HOLDA

In German lore, Holda was the protectress of women and women's crafts. She is likely equated with the Scandinavian goddess Hulda. She is also equated with Frigg, Odin's wife as we learned previously, and "the Mistress of the Wild Hunt" in Norse mythology. 

Of all female crafts, Holda was most protective of spinning. She is said to have taught women how to cultivate, harvest, and spin flax into linen. Holda inspires and rewards the hard worker and punishes the lazy and messy worker. Indeed she is best known from the Grimm fairy tale in which she praises her industrious daughter (as the loving mother) as the girl sits at her spinning wheel and bloodies her finger as she spins, but rails against her "lazy" daughter as the old crone.

We cannot overstate the importance of spinning before the Industrial Revolution.  Think of how much thread needed to be spun in order to weave fabric to make garments?!  "Girls learned to spin as soon as they could toddle, and women spent much of their time with a distaff tucked under one arm. Holda might reward an industrious spinster by finishing her work for her overnight. A lazy woman was punished by having her distaff burned or her flax spoiled." (Idunna 30, 1997)

She is honored during the 12 days of Christmas and there are prohibitions against spinning during this time. In Swabia, in Southeastern Germany, all spinning must be finished on Christmas Eve and no new work can begin until Twelfth Night. 

In the Horselberg region, the opposite is true. Flax is loaded onto distaffs on Christmas Eve. Holda makes her rounds promising as many good years as there are threads spun by Epiphany. In some traditions, Holda is like Santa Clause, she delivers gifts to children on Christmas Eve and determines who is naughty and who is nice.

Holda is a goddess associated with winter and all the crafting that takes place indoors during that time. When it snows, it is said she is fluffing her feather pillows. She is described as both the maiden, with a mantle of white (often resembling snow) and as the crone, with crooked, decaying teeth. 

"Holda's connection to the spirit world through the magic of spinning and weaving has associated her with witchcraft in Catholic German folklore. She was considered to ride with witches on distaffs, which closely resemble the brooms that witches are thought to ride." (From the Canon Episcopi, quoted in Ginzburg, Carlo(1990). Ecstasies: Deciphering the witches' sabbath. London: Hutchinson Radius. p. 94. ISBN 0-09-174024-).

Raven Folklore

Falling leaves, autumnal colors, crisp temperatures, all of this means autumn has arrived. For me, one of the symbols of autumn is the beautiful Raven. Ravens and crows are my favorite birds. They are extremely intelligent, remembering people who are nice to them as well as people who are not. There is a little girl named Gabi who has befriended crows in her yard. They bring her treasures of beads, shells, screws, any shiny thing they find. She has an entire collection of gifts from the birds. 

Ravens and crows can recognize human faces, mimic human voices, are very social animals and wonderful problem solvers. They even mourn their dead.

Ravens are one of the most common symbols in cultural myths around the world. In most Northern European cultures the Raven has been seen as a harbinger of death. One thousand year old Norse mythology calls the Raven a symbol of evil as they are scavengers. But the God Odin had two Ravens whom he would send off into the world (and sometimes the underworld) every morning to observe everything they could and return at night to inform Odin of all they'd learned. Because of this, they are as symbol of his ability to see into the future. 

Huginn and Muninn sit on Odin's shoulders in an illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript

Huginn and Muninn sit on Odin's shoulders in an illustration from an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript

Native American cultures view the Raven as everything from a creator being, a symbol of transformation, a shape-shifter, a magical creature, as well as a trickster and a sage. When it flaps it's wings it causes strong winds, lightening and thunder. They are revered and protected. Raven is often called upon for healing purposes. 

At the Tower of London, Ravens are respected, beloved and cared for. It is said that if the ravens ever leave The Tower, the kingdom will fall. Charles II declared the ravens must always be protected at the tower and cared for. Today there are seven resident ravens at The Tower and they only respond to the Raven Master. They eat 170g of raw meat a day plus biscuits soaked in blood.

Beefeater kissing a raven at The Tower of London. Gives you an idea of the size of these birds.

Beefeater kissing a raven at The Tower of London. Gives you an idea of the size of these birds.

I have to admit that given the chance to get within inches of one of The Tower ravens I was in awe. They are such large birds and very regal. I felt the need to ask his permission before taking my photos and didn't want to get too close so as to infringe on his personal space. 

A beautiful Tower Raven agreeing to be photographed.

A beautiful Tower Raven agreeing to be photographed.

If you'd like to form a relationship with your local murder of crows or ravens biologist Dr. Kevin McGowan recommends the following:

*Feed them something healthy—unsalted peanuts, with or without the shells are recommended by the crow experts themselves.

 

*Don’t throw the nuts AT them, and don’t feed them too much. These are wild birds accustomed to gathering their own food—so a few peanuts are plenty.

 

*Also, make sure you’re not luring these birds into a dangerous situation—a place where cars are coming or an area where neighbors might get angry about loud crows hanging around.

Ravens and crows are a special part of our world. Let's appreciate the magic they bring and what we might learn from them.

The Orkneys

I was nervous about flying there (I'm a horribly fearful flyer and this was a small prop plane) but it was better than the hour plus ferry ride in rough waters. The flight turned out to be just fine and it was so worth it. Orkney is amazing. Windswept, ancient, there's so much history from the Neolithic to the Vikings and beyond. It was once a Norse community and the names of things reflect that. It's home to the most well preserved Neolithic site in the world, Skara Brae, beautiful cliff tops above a wild sea, rolling green hills, tiny villages seemingly stuck back in time, and of course, sheep. Cheviots and some other breeds dot the landscape but on North Ronaldsay Island, a few hours on the ferry north, the famous seaweed eating North Ronaldsay sheep live. Truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever been and made me wish I owned a small crofters farm there. It was summer of course and that meant daylight from roughly 4:30 am to 10:00 pm or so. Plenty of time to get out and experience all Orkney has to offer. Below, another photo essay for your viewing pleasure.

We rented a cottage in Holm (pronounced Ham) and this was the view out the kitchen window.

We rented a cottage in Holm (pronounced Ham) and this was the view out the kitchen window.

View from our back garden.

View from our back garden.

The beautiful Orkney countryside.

The beautiful Orkney countryside.

Some of the many fiber related Neolithic artifacts found on Orkney.

Some of the many fiber related Neolithic artifacts found on Orkney.

The Burnt Mound at Tomb of the Eagles.

The Burnt Mound at Tomb of the Eagles.

Majestic cliffs above the sea.

Majestic cliffs above the sea.

Inside the Neolithic burial cairn The Tomb of the Eagles.

Inside the Neolithic burial cairn The Tomb of the Eagles.

Expansive sea views.

Expansive sea views.

Sheep residents.

Sheep residents.

Baby following mama.

Baby following mama.

The incredible Skara Brae.

The incredible Skara Brae.

Lovely Kirkwall.

Lovely Kirkwall.

St. Magnus Cathedral and grounds, Kirkwall.

St. Magnus Cathedral and grounds, Kirkwall.

The Magic of Edinburgh

We did a lot on our UK trip this summer. But there are a few things that really stick out. Great times with family and dear friends, visits to some remarkable places. Without a lot of text to clutter it up, I'd like to take you on a photo journey of Edinburgh. Tomorrow I'll take you to Orkney, one of the most amazing places I've ever been. Enjoy!

What International Travel Taught Me

I've been fortunate enough to travel internationally a few times in my life. In the 1990s I worked in Belize, Central America as an archaeologist and was able to visit parts of Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala while I was there. 

In 2005 I traveled to Italy with my husband and family. I trip I hope to do again someday because at the time I was pregnant with my first child and a pretty big disaster. 

This summer my husband and I were thrilled to take our two boys to the UK. My mother in law lives outside London so we visited with her a few days and then traveled to Scotland for the bulk of the trip, including a few days in the magical land of Orkney. 

As I've written before, I suffer from Lyme Disease. One of the worst things about this disease is that over time, just like any chronic illness, it makes you avoid living. I had become afraid to go anywhere, make any plans, because what would happen if I got a migraine or had some other set of symptoms come crashing down on me. This has happened enough times to make that fear legitimate. So heading into our UK trip I was a bit nervous. And indeed I had plenty of tough days while we were over there. But in my desire to not want to miss out, I took care of myself and then got back out there as soon as I could. And you know what? Some of the worst that could happen did happen. And I still survived. 

I find now that I'm excited to plan new trips. I'm not nearly as fearful of going out, if I get sick, I get sick and it will SUCK but we will deal with it. The trip to the UK, and honestly, trips to my other destinations, helped reaffirm my strength and that sense of adventure that I had lost. 

I'm ever so grateful for my experiences this summer and I know that someday, I'll be able to return and not have any bad days because I will actually be cured of this disease. That is a very exciting prospect.

Homemade Coconut Curry

Having food sensitivities makes it real darn hard to eat out safely. Even when you tell the servers that you and your child will get really sick if you eat wheat and soy, that stuff still sneaks in sometimes and you spend two days sick as a dog. It makes us nervous to eat out much and ordering delivery is even trickier because you can't really have a conversation about food safety online or on the phone.

The other day I was really craving coconut curry. It's one of the things that even my kids like. So I looked online and found a handful of recipes and tailored them to suit my own needs, i.e. no grains, no dairy, no soy. I posted a photo on Facebook and loads of folks wanted the recipe. So here it is. Feel free to make your own substitutions where needed. For example, feel free to use soy sauce in place of the coconut aminos. My son and I are allergic to soy so this is our sub. Also feel free to use regular sugar. I use coconut sugar because it has a very low glycemic index.

Ingredients

1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk

1 garlic clove minced

1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cardamon

2 tablespoons of coconut amino acids 

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Fresh Basil leaves julienned

Salt to taste

2 large carrots sliced into ovals or rounds

Asparagus spears in bite size pieces

Red and Green Bell pepper slices (these are not AIP compliant so I do not add them)

Your choice of protein (chicken, tofu, etc.)

To make the sauce

Pour the coconut milk into a medium sized bowl.

Add the sugar and aminos and stir.

In a pan heat half the coconut oil on medium.

Add the garlic, curry powder, red pepper flakes, cardamon and salt to taste.

Toast the spices, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk mixture to the pan and cook for 2 minutes or until sauces thickens slightly.

Pour the sauce back into the bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining coconut oil to the pan and cook your protein and veggies till nearly done.

Add the curry sauce to the pan and simmer the whole shebang till the protein and veggies are cooked through and sauce begins to thicken.

You can pour this over rice or if you can't have grains like me... you can pour it over riced cauliflower. 

My advice? Make a double batch. We loved it so much, all four of us wanted more.

Enjoy!

Did you know?

Prior to the spinning of wool to make yarn or thread, it's believed felting was the main method of wool production for fabric creation. Many cultures have myths surrounding the origins of feltmaking. Among the ancient Sumerians the discovery of felting was attributed to Urnamman, a famous Sumerian war hero. In the story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher we are told that men fleeing persecution stuffed wool into their sandals to protect their feet. At the end of their journey, all the movement, sweat and heat created felt.

Pope St. Clement 

Pope St. Clement 

 

The oldest archeological evidence for felting hails from Turkey. Wall paintings dating from 8,500 to 5,000 years ago show evidence of felt applique. A tomb in Southern Siberia containing felted fiber was found with a nomadic tribal elder dating from 7,000 years ago. 

This is the Pasyryk Horseman, part of a larger felt carpet which covered a chieftan's mummy. The Pasyryk culture dates from 600 to 300 BC in the Altay Mountains of Siberia.  There are many surviving felted artifacts as well as woven rugs and saddle blankets from this culture.

Fall 2016 Mood Board

Yes I realize it's only June but in terms of design planning, I'm beginning to work on fall and even winter. Some of the designs that I develop will be for my upcoming book, others will be patterns available on my Ravelry page. I like to start by finding inspiration. I find a lot of inspiration on my daily walks but I also sometimes just love perusing my collection of fall (okay mostly Halloween) magazines. Halloween is my ABSOLUTE favorite holiday and I have a rather large collection of magazines and books on the topic spanning years. 

This is just one of three cubbies of Halloween/Fall books and magazines. I collect these as much as I collect yarn!

This is just one of three cubbies of Halloween/Fall books and magazines. I collect these as much as I collect yarn!

So I thought I'd share with you my mood board for Fall 2016. So far I've planned fingerless mitts, gauntlets, a scarf or two, at least one shawl, hats and potentially a tunic which I envision wearing over a long sleeve top on cooler days. Enjoy!

 

 

Oh Tulsi How I Love Thee

I've recently begun drinking Tulsi tea. A lot of it. It's treating me very kindly and I'm now considering growing it myself. 

Tulsi plant in flower.

Tulsi plant in flower.

Tulsi, (Ocimum tenuiflorum) also known as Holy Basil, is a lovely aromatic plant native to the Indian subcontinent with a long history in Hinduism and Ayurveda. It promotes healing from colds, flu and coughs and in Ayurveda is said to lighten the body, cleanse the respiratory tract of toxins and improve gut function. 

If you follow Ayurveda, Tulsi primarily works with the Kapha dosha in the body.

Tulsi essential oil has benefits in reducing stress due to its high antioxidant properties. It has a high concentration of eugenol and thus may be COX-2 inhibitor like other painkillers on the pharmaceutical market.

For me, I just love sipping the tea and find it relaxes me, calms my gut, doesn't make me tired, and tastes lovely hot or iced. I've been using the products from Organic India., a fabulous company which produces all organic products. (P.S. I get no kick back from promoting them, just really like their products and how they do business). 

So give it a try and let me know what you think. Do you drink Tulsi or another tea which promotes health and wellness? Comment here or send me an email. I'd love to hear from you!