Tuesday, November 30, 2010

tuesday link love

love this article about not doing santa with kids. this is exactly why i do not do santa with my kids.

i so needed to read this right now. i am struggling with sage and his (to me) inappropriate behavior.

i did it! i made it through 30 days of blogging. :)

become humus. humble yourself.

(this is part 3 of a 10-part series, a life's journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward's article on the subject. you can find part 1 and part 2 here.)

gail's third step in her ten-fold path is to become humus and humble yourself. she says:

"...Kneel on the earth, place yourself at the foot of the herbs, ask them for help. Tell them what you need. Do this day after day, month after month, year after year. Leave all your problems in the soil, they will be transformed, like everything else, by unseen soil microorganisms…"

i can't tell you how many times i have gone and just sat on the ground in my garden to think and be. or taken a walk back into the sassafras patch where the roses grow to just be. around here, it is extremely hard to get away from everyone and alone time is prime. sneaking off to the garden or woods is the easiest way to get this freedom. and while my main intent is for a bit of quietness in my head, the plants and earth always give me something more than i originally went searching for. hugging a tree or feeling my weight sink into the strength of the ground as the long blades of grass tickle my nose and scratch my back gives me such a feeling of peacefulness. 

a slow walk through the herb garden is a respite as well. stopping to rub the leaves and breathe in the heady scent of sage or thyme or the valerian when she is in bloom. touching the herbs, tasting the herbs, smelling the herbs and seeing the herbs brings my senses alive and resets my mind when it desperately needs to chill out. through my senses they speak to me and tell me to leave my troubles with them. as i connect with them, i feel their energy come into my body through my hands, mouth and eyes. i feel lighter with each breath and more at peace with every taste. even the sting of a nettle is a welcome relief and as i go throughout my day, the gentle tingle that remains reminds me to leave my troubles in the garden.
being down at ground level is such an amazing perspective as well. while my troubles are dissolving, i discover beautiful mosses that are blooming, droplets of water on leaves and the infinite world of insects, animals and plants. beauty surrounds us but we're too busy walking around up there to notice what's going on down here. 
for awhile this summer i was doing an experiment with laying down naked in our weed patch (we didn't grow a garden and instead had a field of weeds that were waist high) as therapy for depression. a combination of the sun on my skin combined with the coolness from the earth was more therapeutic than any prescribed medication could ever be for me. feelings my worries and sorrows and frustrations leave me, if even just for the moment, was such a relief.
as the weather got colder, and i got busier, i neglected to do these daily time outs from my life and my frustrations and worries returned. now it's cold and barren here and i'm not much for outdoors when temps drop below 50 but i plan to incorporate a daily walk into my routine to spend some time outside, even if it's for 5 or 10 minutes. the earth is still there and the herbs are still there, waiting for me to bring my troubles to them, even in the stillness of the winter season.

Monday, November 29, 2010

to everything a purpose

i am bummed to hear that wardrobe refashion is shutting down. i had hoped to sign up for it on the next go around. oh well. it's not the end of the world. just cuz i can't join a website doesn't mean i can't refashion. and refashion i have been doing!

all are works in progress but a lot of fun. a friend is lending me her serger so i'll be in sewing heaven this week!

this is a sweater that had a turtle neck that i removed. it is also a medium adult size but must have been shrunk in the wash because it was too small for me. so, it is in process of becoming either a sweater dress with layered sleeves (like my coat) or possibly even a sweater coat. the colorful stripy sweater behind her on the chair is going to become part of the sleeves and maybe a ruffle around the bottom or a hood.

greg has liners for his boots but he is missing one and the remaining one has a hole in the foot so i chopped it apart at the seams and used it for a template to make a new pair out of old wool socks that have holes in them.

i have part of the hood pieced together but am waiting on the serger before i sew it so i won't have to sew it twice.

of course, i'm still not thinking about solstice which is only 3 weeks away....sigh. denial is a sad, sad thing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

pay attention - observe. concentrate

(this is part 2 of a 10-part series, a life's journey to become an herbalist observing gail faith edward's article on the subject. you can find part 1 here.)

gail's second step in her ten-fold path is to pay attention, observe and concentrate. she says:

"I have lived on this ridge-top herb farm for over thirty years. The thing about living in one place for a long time is that you get to notice things. And you have plenty of time and activity behind you to base observations on. It takes a long time to notice some things; like how plants move naturally across a field, on their own, over a thirty year span. Or the length of time it took your usnea tincture to turn orange the last few times you made it. Observation is one of the most important skills of an herbalist. Whether you are or aspire to be a wildgatherer and medicine maker, a clinical herbalist or herbal nutritionist, whatever your particular herbal path is, you will need to develop keen observation skills. How do you do that? By paying attention.

An herbalist must pay constant attention to life. All of life and life processes. One way to do that is by tending a garden over many years. Goethe said that he spent his whole life in the garden and thus discovered the entire world. Start seeds and watch them grow. Welcome the same plant stands back year after year. Notice everything about your plants in every season. Notice their effects on people, animals, insects, other plants, the soil, the air. Visit your garden often, taking time to breath deeply, smell deeply, see deeply, listen deeply, relax deeply. Breathe from your heart. Watch the bees and butterflies, feel the breeze."

although i've only been on this farmette for 6 years, i have observed more activity and changes with the flora than i probably have a lifetime of living at any other place. i have observed the plants moving slowly across the garden as well as plants that completely moved to the other side of our property and start growing where they never existed before as well as plants disappear completely from the landscape.

this year, i learned there are at least 3 wild varieties of rose growing on our property simply by taking regular walks that i didn't bother to do in the past. i observed that the multiflora rose blooms sooner than the rugosa rose and the 3rd unidentified rose. i've watched small elder plants mature enough to start producing fruits, my own st. john's wort completely disappear from my garden and jewelweed slowly creeping closer onto our property. 

i've also noticed different growth patterns and plants emerging sooner than usual or later than usual. i got to see my peony plant bloom for the first time since i've lived here. also, nettles appeared for the first time after hopefully searching for them over the past 6 years. this year they flourished as if they had always grown there. 

it is amazing to see plants coming and going, moving and filling in spaces. it is said the medicine comes to you when you need it most. i hope to continue observing these plants as they come and go in my life and learn all i can from them.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

on my wishlist

this cookbook looks like a great score for wintertime cooking. i would love to be able to look through it but unfortunately, my library loan system doesn't carry it and i can't really afford to buy something like that unless i know i will definitely use it. for more information on purchasing it, you can click on the picture to take you to the website.

Friday, November 26, 2010

sense of place

gail's first step in the ten-fold path is to build a sense of place:

"The cultivation of a deep sense of place is invaluable for an herbalist. We all emerge out of an eco system, a bioregion, we are all connected elementally, as well as ethereally, to our surroundings, to our place. Understanding this sense of place and how it relates to plants and people is an important part of the herbalist’s path. It is often overlooked, as when a woman in northeastern America is offered an herb that grew in South Africa as a remedy for her ills. Cultivate a sense of place, its critical to understanding the actions as well as possible effects of combining individual plants and people."

this one is dear to my heart but for a different reason. i completely believe in using herbs from my region but i more have considered it because of 1. teaching people to be self healers and confidence starts with being able to show them herbs that grow in their own backyards and are easy to recognize and 2. if the end of the world as we know it were to happen, we would not be able to get an exotic herb so instead of trying the latest and greatest, i feel it's better to stick with what we have at our fingertips. 

being able to take advantage of the abundance in our own back yards, local parks, woods and wild places is one of the best things we as herbalists can do and teach. during the summer, my herbal study group includes herb walks so i can show plants that i cultivate in my garden and plants that grow on their own in the wild. this includes natives and invasives. invasives are here to stay whether we like it or not so we might as well take advantage of their medicine that they offer and use them. it will keep them in check as well. 

taking daily walks is a great way to have a sense of space. i try to take note of what i discover growing in the wild, where it is growing (shade, full sun, near water, along fence row, in pathway), what the conditions are like (spring, summer, fall, winter) and what stage of grow it is in (flowering, fruiting, dying back) for future reference. i have finally dedicated a watercolor spiral bound book just for my walks to keep note in and hope to fill it with my notes, sketches and possibly even a few photographs as time goes on. this will allow me to track the changes of plant species growing, what comes, what goes, and when. i've lived on this land for 6 years and already i've seen big changes to the flora.

while i view this home as a temporary place, a sort of transition to my future forever home, my roots go deep into the earth in this area and for now, this is my place in life. i love to nurture and urge plants to grow here and teach me all they can. for now, my sense of place is here and i will continue to offer what i can to the plants and people of my community.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

phase 1 complete

 i've been working on my boho gypsy upcycled sweater coat after drooling over the amazing coats some women sell on etsy that are way over my price range (totally worth the price but still unaffordable). 3 trips to the thrift shop scored me enough sweaters to make at least 1 coat and probably enough leftover for a 2nd coat for sage. jaden and adelena's coats will be different colors of their choosing, most likely red for jaden and purple for adelena...perhaps i should have started with their coats to get the hang of it and then move on to mine but so far, so good. of course, i've only done the easy part...the sleeves!
so phase 1 is complete and now i will start on phase 2, the hood. i plan to work in phases so it is completely wearable between phases, a work in progress. once it's completed, i intend to make a liner out of something warm and soft, flannel perhaps. it most likely will be patchwork as well. i want the liner removable so i can wear the coat fall - spring, a 3 season coat of sorts.
i love that this sweater has pockets so i'll be removing them carefully and reattaching them to the coat once it is finished. i also plan to sew pockets on the inside too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

my little guy's all grown up

sage had his first sleepover last night. i can't believe it! he was waiting for our friends to come over and was worried they weren't going to come and get him so he wanted me to drive him over there. he packed his bag all by himself, including pjs, a change of clothes, his toothbrush and toothpaste and plenty of toys all without my prompting (well, except the toothbrush which he forgot about...). how can this be, my little 4 year old ready to spread his wings and fly?!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

a life's journey to becoming an herbalist and short term goals for that journey

gail faith edwards wrote an article awhile back about the ten-fold path to becoming a community herbalist in response to an article that paul bergner wrote. most of them tie in nicely with quaker testimony so i plan to try to incorporate them into my daily living. here is a brief outline of the 10 things she feels are important to become a community herbalist (i've added links to them for the posts i've written and will continue to update until all 10 are covered):

1 – Sense of Place
2 – Pay Attention - Observation. Concentration
3 – Become humus. Humble yourself
4 – Learn to open your wild heart, connect with your inner wild nature
4 – Herbal Ally
5 - Study, study, study
6 – Simplify your life
7 – Cultivate your spirituality
8 – Listen to your clients
9 – Be your own refuge
10 - Practice learning

over then next few weeks,  i hope to write a bit about each item and what i'm doing or plan to start to deepen my learning as a community herbalist. as part of my studies, this will help me to focus on what is important and what i need to be doing more of (i can say what i need to be doing less of: sitting in front of the computer). i'm enrolled in 2 courses right now, both by kiva (herb energetics and her medicine woman mentorship) and i need to get back into the swing of studying on a regular habit.

i also need to start coming back to what's important to me and simplifying my life again. i feel like i not only fell off the wagon on this but i've also rolled down the hill. it's time to get up, dust off my skirt and walk at a brisk pace to catch back up with it.

things i hope to focus on this upcoming year are:

-daily yoga (helpful with posture, ballet practice and flexibility)
-better homeschooling routine
-regular studies in herbalism
-moving ahead on herbal roots zine projects
-make use of the old clothing and upcycle it into new clothing
-back into meal planning habit
-purge household goods

Monday, November 22, 2010

on being quaker

i don't consider myself solely quaker but i do identify largely with the beliefs of the society of friends. i recently stumbled across the connecticut friends school webpage and they have a list of the 6 quaker values on which they built their school beliefs. they adopted the acronym spices which stands for simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship and weave these testimonies in their daily curriculum. since i am wanting to embrace my spirituality more deeply, i feel this would be a great starting point for us in our homeschooling activities.

since this week will be a short school week, we'll discuss the 6 values briefly and a bit of history about quakers or the society of friends. we'll do a bit of study of william penn.

website resources:
http://www.qis.net/%7Edaruma/feathers.html - we'll do a craft involving adding a white feather to a wreath to hang on our door and draw a pictures similar to the one above
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oe9Q4Ecy8xI&feature=related - joan baez singing bob dylan's blowin' in the wind and other various songs about peace (she is a quaker...and really, bob dylan should be too!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVCqPAzI-JY joan baez, we shall overcome

books requested from the library:
william penn by kieran walsh
the arrow over the door by joseph bruchac
the quakers by jean kinney williams
a colonial quaker girl: the diary of sally wister 1777-1778 edited by megan o'hara
thy friend, obadiah by brinton turkle
simple gifts by chris raschka
a quaker book of wisdom: life lessons in simplicity, service and common sense by robert lawrence smith

i'm not too hip on the whole thanksgiving tradition, so i thought this would be a nice alternative to that sham, highlighting early american settlers who were here on a mission of peace and integrity.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

as it were

we're almost through november and things that are different than last year at this time:

-still tethering the goats out daily and letting sheep out to free range (when they play nice and don't go into the subdivision to eat the greener chem lawns...)

-still milking 1 1/2 goats (drying off 1 so she's only milked every other day)

-still hanging clothes out on the line

the temperatures are dropping though...fires burn daily and nightly. it takes longer to dry clothes and there are less choices on where to tether the goats. i suppose we should thank global warming for not having to have as much hay and wood on hand.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

it's creeping up on us like a bad pair of underwear

the holidays. i've been pretty ambivalent about the upcoming holidays but thank goodness that stores have holiday gear out in full force, radio stations are blaring holiday music and towns have already put up their decorations to remind me.


it's so easy to get caught up in the holiday mindset of buying, spending, overindulging...this article is a great reminder of what we should be doing and how we can downscale our holiday season.

Friday, November 19, 2010

one month of dreads

wow! it's been 4 weeks already and i am loving not having to brush/comb my hair! my only maintenance is pulling them apart occasionally, usually while i'm watching a movie in the evening or reading blogs. these pictures are a little messier than usual because i'm just waking up and haven't had time to separate them. they are also due to be washed.

there are a bunch of crazy, kinky curly dreads going on right now...i think they are partly because the back combing is relaxing and partly because of my naturally curly hair. the dreads are also flat and i find myself rolling them in my palm occasionally to fluff them.

i've washed my hair once using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. i added some rosemary essential oil to the vinegar rinse. they soaked up the water and it was hard to dry them out initially but because the ends are not blunt, the water started dripping out from them. i've read that natural tips are good for getting the water out while blunt ends hold it in more. it was a nice day outside, breezy and warm so i spent a good deal of time out there and they dried fairly once i did go out.

i took out the dreads closest to my face and divided the one on each side in to 2 dreads, adding in a good portion of my bangs that were driving me nuts. i like them better now that there is just a few strands on each side.

and for those who say you have to cut off your dreads to get rid of them, here's a photo of a woman i found via another blog who combed out her dreads after having them for 10 years! i'm curious to know if she has straight hair or curly though...it looks straight in the bangs area that was not originally dreaded. i imagine straight hair is easier to comb out than curly hair. doesn't matter though because i hope to keep these babies for many decades to come....although i can be wishy washy so we'll see!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

fun with bleach dying

 now, normally i don't use a lot of bleach in my house but my sink needed a bit of cleaning and i had just purchased 2 pieces of clothing from the thrift shop that were stark black. i wore black for years and now have an aversion to it and tend to shy away from it but i found a short sleeved top and a leotard for really cheap that i liked and thought to myself 'why not bleach them?!' the intent was to bleach them out and then tea dye them but i found the bleach turned them a lovely shade of brown in the leotard's case and a multi colored patchwork of browns and tans for the shirt.

the sleeves, upper back panel and tie all bleached out to a tan as did the eyelet lace. the rest of the fabric turned a dark brown. why the actual fabric dyed differently, i have no idea. i found it interesting and like the patchwork effect.

here is a close up of the different lace colors. i love the reddish brown hues they changed to!:
i'm thinking of immersing it into a tea bath to darken up the greyish-tan portions a bit but other than that, i love it!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

and then...

sage is becoming a person now which is helpful with his, ummm, crazy? personality. he loves to help greg split wood (thus the safety gear). he still is quite a volatile ball of craziness but with moments of self learning. he has recently taken up cutting paper with scissors and yesterday was cutting out 'bones' to make his skeleton costume for next halloween which he is convinced will be today, everyday. he's ready to go trick or treating and score all that wonderful candy so he can eat it up in about 4 hours again. thank goodness that only happens once a year! he also built himself a shotgun out of a stick, paper and tape. it even has the part on it that you move on the gun to load the shot, greg would laugh his butt off at that description but i cannot remember the proper name for it. the funny thing is, he wrapped the paper around the stick and it actually sounds like a real gun would sound.

i have a head cold that jaden caught from a friend's house last week. the worst part is i can't even sleep it off because the sinus congestion is keeping me up...having to blow my nose every 30 seconds makes it impossible. ugh.

this too shall pass.

i've been altering skirts i've purchased at the thrift store recently to fit me. a lot of them are too big in the waist, story of my life. i tend to pick skirts based on materials (cotton, silk, wool, linen) and colors (browns, olive greens, rust oranges, mustard yellows) so usually they are too big for me. i'm getting quite good at shortening elastic waist bands or adding elastic to the waist to decrease the size.

i've also got a good pile of wool sweaters to start on my gypsy coat. now to lay them all out and decide which to make as the main body and which to start chopping. this part is extremely hard for me to do. i'm so afraid of screwing them up that a lot of times, i don't take chances on chopping up clothes to make something more spectacular. i'm using etsy sellers' creations for inspiration.

i'm also in search of kids' fiction that talks about using herbs medicinally. have you run across any? it can be as obvious as the legend of the lady slipper or more subtle like the witch's brat. i want stories that use herbs accurately.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

scale down

this song is a great reminder to get rid of the clutter...every time i listen to it i am inspired. if only i could get the rest of my family as inspired, sigh.

in other news, i sewed 24 new wipes for us. i'd like to do another 3 dozen and then we'll have about 100. the downside is more to hang on laundry day, lol. it's tedious to stack and hang them 5 at a time!

Monday, November 15, 2010

more on less

my friend kathie posted a link to another blogger who is into non-consumeristic living (and is much more successful than i!). this post had me nodding my head the entire time i read it. in fact, most of the 14 suggestions i do myself.

i have been eyeing some great upcycled clothing on etsy and it is inspiring me to start sewing my own clothes again. i really want a serger to create some of the looks i like and have been shopping around. i was suprised to discover i could purchase one for about $200. i had always assumed they were much more. i realize this goes directly against what i am writing about but i think i would make more use out of the piles of old clothes i want to get rid of...i could create lots of clothes for myself and my kids. even though there's an upfront cost, the cost i would save in new clothes by sewing our own would be a great savings. even though 99% of our clothes come from thrift shops, i still can spend quite a bit there when i'm in the mood!

to make my 5 year plan an easy transition, i've been slowing purging items from our house. i have several boxes in the dining room that i need to load into the truck and drop off at a thrift store soon.

reasons/excuses i have for not purging more are:

-it's really hard to purge when your kids don't want to let go of anything. i am going to implement a 2 for 1 rule for everyone in the house: for every 1 thing you bring into the house you have to give up 2. i figure i'll start there and then try to increase the number over the next year or two.

-it is hard because as a homeschooling mom, i like to hang onto things that we could find useful in our schooling such as crafts and empty containers and boxes.

-i hold onto packing peanuts and bubble wrap from incoming packages to use on outgoing packages. i used to mail a lot of stuff with selling my herbal products, not so much anymore so hopefully i can let go of those through freecycle.

-i tend to buy too many books at thrift stores because they are cheap and they are great for homeschooling. i use the library a lot so i just need to trust the library can get me what we will need. it's been a huge resource so far and there are truly few books i needed to purchase that i couldn't get through them and needed for a resource. part of this is i had a lot of books around to read at my leisure as a child and i want the same opportunity for my children...we even went to a library weekly as i do now to get more books.

i think one thing that will be freeing of all this stuff, at least for me, will be the fact that i can't fit it all into  a tiny mobile home so it will either have to go in storage and be dealt with later (ugh!) or i can start letting go now and feel better.

it truly is hard to downscale when you live in a larger home though. i went from 900 sq. ft. for myself and my 2 kids to 2000 sq. ft. with 6 of us here the majority of the time and another 2 part time. but, even with the increased amount of people, i feel we have accumulated too much. even worse, we have a few outdoor sheds that double as storage units that are full of crap. when something breaks down or we get a surplus of furniture, instead of getting rid of the old, we move it to the sheds. why?! why don't we just get rid of it?! we'll never use it again, it is just nuts!

my goals for the next year include:
-gather all the old electronic equipment (old dinosaur computers, printers, etc) and take them to an electronic recycling center

-clean out the storage shed and freecycle/craiglist as much as possible

-develop better habits about dealing with papers

-finish cleaning out the basement

-downsizing the homestead items (like the cream separator that i will never use)

-continue to not shop at thrift stores (i used to go weekly) and don't take the kids when i do go! the problem with thrift store shopping is if i see something, i can't do the 'i'll wait 30 days and see if i still want it after then' because it will be gone so i tend to get things even if i've already got 5 of them at home.

does anyone else have plans to purge or are you already purging and simplifying your life? what tricks have you learned in the process to making it easier?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

i like your style

greg, sage and i went to a thrift shop together and as we were leaving, a very well dressed, beautiful african american woman approached me and said 'i like your style!'

greg was quite tickled by this. he said no one has ever told him they like his style. lol

i guess some got it and some don't.


personally, i don't really feel stylish, although i must admit, i do tend to dress in a bohemian, gypsy, hippy sort of style. i constantly wish i had more talent to put together more funkier looks similar to rising appalachia sisters chloe and leah and other fabulous women. i'm not very good about that sort of thing.

how about you? what's your style?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

sage the jeweler

sage got ahold of a bag of beads and silver wires and went to town making a pile of earrings. this pair he made for me:

Friday, November 12, 2010

dreads - 3 weeks old

my dreads are 3 weeks in on this journey and holding together well. i did some reading on another dreadlock website and for anyone wishing to take this journey, i highly recommend reading what they have to say about dreading your hair. after reading the horror stories about using wax, i am even more thankful i didn't have any desire to put the wax in my hair (it just sounded wrong to me from the very beginning to put wax in to get hair to tangle, intuitively it didn't make sense.

after reading this site, i am not going to do any more palm rolling or back combing (did you hear that sigh of relief? that was greg since he was my minion for this task) and i will just pull the dreads apart daily. i'm also going to start sleeping with a wool hat or sweater over them...i may take an old wool sweater and refashion it into a sleeping cap. this is supposed to help them tighten up more.

i put lots of bling in them....mostly beads and some copper wraps that help to separate the dreads and hold some together and help them tighten up.

i did my first actual washing today using baking soda and apple cider vinegar. they held together well and soaked up water like crazy.

dread questions from my readers:
Dreads are cool looking, but I don't get it. Seems like at least as much work, so what's the point?
once they are established they are not any work at all. and for me, who has hair that constantly tangles, dread management is a piece of cake compared to constantly combing, pulling, etc. to get it tangle free. i'd rather rub them in my hands once or twice a day for a few months and then not deal with them any more than to have to spend an hour a day for the rest of my life combing and detangling. :)

for some, it IS more work, especially those who have stick straight, never tangles hair. :) they would have to spend a lot of effort to get them to stay in. and then, i guess the point would be just they like that hairstyle. or spiritual since dreads are rooted to several different religious beliefs...sufis, rastafarians, etc.

some people just go straight for the 'never gonna brush again and see what happens' mindset which can take years and is unpredictable.

I've heard it is difficult to keep them clean - is it? You make it look sooo easy.
actually it is not hard to keep them clean. you have to be careful what type of product you use on them but really, they only need to be washed 1-2 times a week (i doubt i'll even wash them that much because i generally only washed my hair every 7-10 days). i've only washed them once since i started them and that was really only a salt water rinse.

as for products, no conditioner is needed. in fact, conditioner will sometimes make them fall out. most people use the apple cider vinegar/baking soda aka no poo method, dr. bronners or a shampoo bar specifically made for dreads. i'll most likely stick to the no poo that i've used for years off and on mixed with my own bar soap and dr. bronner's which is how i washed my hair before...

i may be biased but i like the smaller dreads and think they look really great when put up in a bun or other up-doo type and have seen lots of people wear them professionally. also wraps are good for covering them up and are lots of fun!

i'm having lots of fun making copper decorations and adding beads...so much more fun than plain hair that always looked like a rat's nest anyway! lol i've gotten greg involved in working on them every night and they are shaping up quickly for me.

So how did you get started; the friend who braided your hair?
actually, the braid step is only necessary if you have stick straight hair...i didn't need to do it but my friend just did it that way and we found out after the fact...

having a friend is VERY helpful though...section off your hair to the size you want your dreads. start at the back/bottom and work your way up and forward. you can either section off everything first and rubber band them to separate or just do one at a time as you go...but then you need a fine toothed comb and some aloe vera gel is helpful too but not necessary....back comb a section and then palm roll it, using the aloe for this step to help hold it together. continue on and on and on until they are all done....for the top, if you want a part down the center then do either side otherwise, have the friend go all the way across the top from one side to the other. if you want to have some bangs or wispies around the face, leave those out...

there are several websites and videos out there such as knottyboy.com and dreadheadhq.com...they all will talk about using wax...i didn't choose to use wax because i've read a lot of bad stuff about it and lots of regrets from using it and since my hair is naturally curly, it didn't need to extra hold together for the beginning.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

how many showers a week does one REALLY need?!

in the past few years, partly out of lack of time and partly out of laziness, i stopped bathing daily. during the summer, i find myself bathing more often just for the refreshment of it but in the winter, i often go a week between showers. about the same time, i gave up commercial deodorant. most days i go without but if i feel i need a little help, i use patchouli essential oil.

apparently, this is becoming the newest trend.

i have found that with less washing, my body is less dry and my hair is not oily at all.

i think americans are overly obsessed with cleanliness, personal hygiene and germs in general and this is making us susceptible to super germs such as mrsa.

i think it would be great if more americans took on a challenge to bathe less for a month! wouldn't that be a fun challenge to see taking over america? i wonder how many americans would be willing to shower only 3 times a week for a month!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

beauty is as beauty does

self esteem....aaaah, that's a huge topic! i've always struggled with it and i think that's why skunk is such a HUGE totem for me...he has helped somewhat over the years and i've been working more with him lately to help me gain that self esteem.

i was always criticized and my physical attributes and/or lack of poked fun at by my mother and older sister as i grew up...never smart enough, never good enough on my grades, always skinny and underdeveloped...this was all fodder. my choices in life were never right either....i should have been a school teacher (teaching art), i should not have married so and so, i should have gotten a college degree...on and on and on....

i've chosen to shut those voices out physically and went a year w/o speaking to my mom and sister because of their criticism about my parenting choices. i've been guilted back into the relationship by my father but tread very lightly.

when people tell me they are beautiful, i think to myself, are you nuts?! are you looking at the same person i am?! it's funny, i can see the beauty in everyone else, but i cannot see it in myself. i really need to work on this. having dreadlocks is actually helping me be more comfortable with myself for some reason but i want to be more comfortable and more accepting of myself. another blogger that i read religiously posted a link to the tiny buddha who had a post on 35 simple ways to be beautiful. it's a great reminder of what true beauty is and how to make yourself more beautiful. once i can get my printer to decide to work again, i plan on printing out the list to hang next to my work area as a gentle reminder.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

5 year plan

being 'stuck' in a situation is always made easier by having a 5 year plan. when we moved to our farmette 6 years ago, we did so with the idea it was temporary and we'd leave as soon as our older kids had graduated from high school. well, we're over halfway through our temporary situation and we've been reviewing our dreams and goals and started loosely formulating a 5 year plan.

i'm hot to sell the 'stead and purchase a bus for conversion or an rv and travel north and south america extensively. talk about a homeschool experience...! since herbal roots is doing well and has a promising future, my dream is to go to foreign countries and live there for a year studying the local herbs then writing about those herbs for a year's worth of herbal roots....such as herbal roots zine: south america!....africa!....europe!....australia!....new zealand!...the possibilities are endless.

i've been reading various people's blogs that inspire me in the fulltime rv living dream. most of them have kids and homeschool. on of my favorite bloggers, the organic sister, wrote an article about living green in an rv that i enjoyed reading.

anybody else got a 5 year plan?

Monday, November 8, 2010

indian summer

it has been a nice breezy day today in the 70's. laundry dries quickly on the line and i try to take advantage of it and get caught up before winter's coldness forces me to hang laundry by the fire to dry. i always seem to almost get caught up and then we have a rainy streak or life gets to crazy and i forget to keep at it and before i know it, there are 5 loads of laundry piled up in the bedroom waiting to be washed.

a bonus for this weather is the kids are outside playing and it is QUIET in the house right now!!

i need to make another 50 or so wipes for us. i think we are down to about 54 now. even though only 3 of us use them full time, we go through those wipes very quickly. although i can and have hand washed them,  i'd rather just have a larger load since between them and the cloth diapers we use for wiping up messes constantly, i generally have a load of laundry once a week just for wipes and diapers.

the time change has spiraled us down into the darkness. i loathe this time of year, it depresses me. i bought several full spectrum light bulbs, i need to install them. i'm really hoping to skip sad this year. last year hit me hard and i'd rather not go there again. i feel like i'm still trying to recover from it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

love life

"If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of."
 ~ Bruce Lee

sometimes it's so easy getting caught up in the mundane of life that i forget this. i can waste hours of my life online searching for and reading random things as well as searching for things that pertain to my work. i struggle with finding a balance between doing all this work and having time to spend with my family. how do we find the balance? 

i am bursting with ideas and plans for herbal roots but life/time is not on my side. my thoughts dwell, perhaps a little too much, on how to solve this problem. perhaps if i spent less time dwelling and more time doing, i would achieve more? part of my problem lies in having the tools or knowledge to do what i want to do as well. 

networking has helped a bit but i still flounder...trying to upgrade my website and add elements/graphics/etc. to make it flow better is very frustrating for me...researching costs for creating audio-cds leads to having to design the cover of the damned things! leads to me getting frustrated over not having 1 stand alone logo for herbal roots that people can learn to recognize, a sort of branding of sorts...time, that is QUIET time to actually record the cd's is scarce and generally at the time of day when i'd rather be sleeping...late at night or early in the morning...money to invest in published books, calendars, binders and other elements i'd like to add to the business....these are all things i waste time pondering....

i have spent 3 days re-vamping the sales page and i'm STILL not finished with it. oye! i just can't figure out where to get or create the graphics i picture in my head. maybe i'm just too much of a perfectionist?!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

dreads - week 2

wow! 2 weeks already! they are shaping up pretty well. there is one that i took out and split in 2 that is suffering a bit but the rest are holding together well and starting to tighten up. i've got lots of beads in them to help hold them together at the base where they seem to want to not stay together the most.

i am enjoying them and wishing i had done this long ago when i first thought about doing it. sometimes i have to hem and haw over something for years before i get the guts up to do it...and then i kick myself for not doing it sooner....note to self: listen to your intuition!!!!

i did a salt water rinse on wednesday which seemed to help out a lot with getting them to hold. i also use the aloe vera gel every 3-4 days as well. it's hard to see the individual dreads below, and they definitely get less attention than the ones above. i need to sweet talk greg into palm rolling them for me because it's hard for me to do.

i had my first experience with the public comments a few days ago...i was at aldi and an older woman, of average dress approached me and said "i love your hair!" i smiled and said thanks and she replied "it reminds me of new york!" lol whatever that's supposed to mean!

yesterday at the library, a younger girl, maybe late teens/early twenties was giving me the hairy eye ball, lol. that made me want to laugh out loud....
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