Summer Fun

Hello again! I hope the summer is treating you well. We had quite a hot streak awhile back but things have cooled back down again and I can enjoy the weather a bit more. We have been up to the mountains again and love it up there so much we might even move there. You never know!
The van is shaping up quite nicely. Frenchie still needs to work on the shelving storage system but other than that we are good to go. We took a trip up last week to a new lake and it was quite nice. When I got tired I just climbed into the van and out like a light! It's so beautiful and I am thankful for the opportunity to spend some time up there among all the nature.
   So this month I have started on my journey of learning to make at home natural products for the home and body. The first two things I made were toothpaste and deodorant. I am pleased to say that I am VERY happy with both. In fact I won't ever go back to store bought. Why did I wait so long? Next in line is homemade sunscreen. I hope to make that today or tomorrow. I have a big long list of things I want to make including cleaners and balms, etc. Having the balcony garden is a help as I do have some herbs out there to use as ingredients. I hope to keep adding beneficial herbs as I go. i also planted 6 new tubs of fall veggies: greens, broccoli, carrots, cauli, etc. They are already peeking their little heads out of the soil and I hope they continue to grow unmolested. I have had quite a few battles with the aphids and now caterpillars. Who knew they could find me up here so high in the sky? I haven't had a large harvest off my garden yet though I have had a steady small supply of lettuce coming in and a small handful of cherry tomatoes every day or so. It's not much but it is a beginning and I think next year I will do much better now that I am learning. I also managed to make 6 more bottles of red current cordial and one very concentrated bottle of black current cordial. They are both simply delicious! I ordered some water kefir this week and want to start making kefir sodas. I will probably try some ginger and cream flavored sodas with the kefir. I can't wait to try it! Why put junk in your body when you can drink such wonderful healthy drinks?

  As to doing anything creative wise, I did finish my paisley necklace finally and I have started on several sewing projects.
 I am in sore need of a few dresses and had some nice material floating around in the supply closet so I decided to give it a whirl. It's been awhile since I made myself something so why not? I also have plans to make a new purse. I do tend to flit about going from one thing to another but it sure does keep life interesting!

 So how has your summer been going? Been anywhere interesting?

Busy at Life

So a half a year has passed since I wrote on this blog and yes, there were big changes. Though I believe the changes are still coming.
      We bought a van this year for travelling. We are slowly fixing it up to make it into a camping van. We are trying to enjoy this area we are living in as much as possible while we are here. How much longer we are here is anyone's guess. We have made several excursions up into The Vosges and down the wine road, exploring a little farther each time. Last week we bought a mattress for the van and several other things to equip it. Next week we are working on building a platform for the mattress. It will be in two parts so the one side can slide on top of the other side and the mattress can be folded up to make a bench, giving room in the van during the day. Yesterday I dyed the top of the mattress cover. It is still soaking in the tub waiting for it's time to go into the washer, then I will dye the other half. It is really big! I thought it would be much better to dye it than to put a white mattress in the van. I was lucky that it has a removable cover and the cover is mostly cotton.
    I also started a small balcony garden. I have been wanting to do this for awhile but was very unsure about my likely success being up so high and only having a western facing balcony with high wind. I finally reached a point where I just didn't care anymore though and decided to just go for it and hope for the best. So far it has done quite well with only a few mishaps. Seeing as the only gardening I have done on my own before is an herb garden I am quite happy.
   I have grown increasingly concerned with the quality of the food available on this world. I think way too often we don't even consider what is going into our bodies when we stuff our mouths with this overly processed, chemical laden, nutrient lacking goop we call food. I hate Monsanto, but they are only the tip of the iceberg (although a very large tip at that) By starting my garden I, in my mind, am making a concrete decision to clean up my eating habits. I have resolved to make trips to the market more often, grow what I can and simplify, simplify, simplify!
   I have also been researching fermented foods and their health benefits for your body. I had no idea how important your gut bacteria are and just how many different health problems are linked to problems with your flora. I have slowly introduced myself to fermented milk and other dairy products. Today I am going to make fermented pickles and hopefully soon I will be making fermented sauerkraut and kimchi. I bought a great book called 'Fermented Foods for Health' by Deirdre Rawlings and I highly recommend it to anyone who has a deep interest in the reasons behind why you need fermented foods in your life.Almost the entire first half of the book goes into a detailed discussion on the subject and the rest of the book is full of great menu plans and lots of wonderful sounding recipes.
   Another thing I have been studying and slowly gathering ingredients for is working towards making the things in my house more natural...such as households cleaning fluids, body cleansers, sunscreen, etc. I am tired of exposing myself to so many chemicals. Every label I look at is full of so many chemicals and additives it's crazy. People didn't use to live like this so I know i don't have to!
   Lastly I bought a dehydrator and I am learning how to use it. I would prefer to use good veggies straight from the farms in dried form over anything you buy at the supermarket who's nutrient value is dubious. I have only made a few things so far but it's fun and i can see the benefits of it. I had no idea how many different things you can dry!
   So as you can see, I have been quite busy in life and that is besides my art. My art is another story. I still have many thoughts to changes there. I have spent too many years making my dyed items and selling them so cheap that I have come to think of myself as a big joke. I barely make any money from what I do. It's hard work requiring many steps and I sell my items in a currency that is worth less than the one in the country I live in. Frenchie said something the other day that really struck home to me. He said 'It's like I am paying for part of the work you do' And that is so true. I need to start thinking more seriously as an artist...as an artist who makes her living doing this work. If I were alone and doing this there is no way in hell I could afford to charge what I do. I have come to disrespect myself so much that I barely get any joy from what I do. This needs to change. It has deeply affected how I feel about all of my art and I have lost my inspiration. Who wants to create when they feel what they make has no worth?

Change in the Wind

Hello all, once again I find myself being lax with this blog and once again I apologize. I have been lost in thought lately as life is going to be changing a lot around here. I am not sure in which direction I am going to go with my work and it has caused a lot of indecision on my part. I really miss making huge intricate pieces of fiber art. I know they don't sell. I know they take countless hours and really they are priceless in my mind. That does not take away the desire to create them. They are my true art. They were never about the money and the few pieces I did sell felt like I was parting with my children. I am just not wired to make simpler works. Even when I tried to just make simple tarot bags they ended up being overly elaborate if only in the fact that I would satin stitch things by hand, taking hours to do something a machine could do. I like having my little shop on Etsy and selling some fabrics. It gives me a bit of pocket money and makes me feel productive but it is also not filling that hole inside me that wants to be filled with tiny stitches and sprays of beads flowing down a swirl of color. It simply cannot replace that. So where to go from here?

We are at a moment of possible big change here. A move is talked of. The start of a new business. The possible start of a dream. I think for now I must be patient with myself. I also think I need to pick up my needle again.