The Healing Basket

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Tucked away in a little corner of our dining room lives our healing basket. Simple and dependable, the basket is our go to when someone is hurt.

I first read about keeping a healing basket in Seven Times The Sun. It is a lovely way to comfort a hurt child and give the care and acknowledgement they need.

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Our basket contains

: :  A little mug & Rescue Remedy

: :  A bottle of dilute lavender oil for soothing massages

: :  Dilute Tea Tree for keeping the midges away when we play in the garden or woods

: :  Healing balm

: :  Plasters

: :  Our friendly ‘Healing Gnome’ who is always ready to give the injured party a sweet kiss

The View From My Knitting…

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The weekend past was a Bank Holiday and as such, hubby and I took every pain to enjoy the rest and slower pace.

The girls stayed with grandparents on Sunday night and on the Monday morning Hubby and I went walking. It was glorious! We sat for a while on a bench so I could add a few rows to something I am working on for Rosie’s birthday.

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The girls returned in the afternoon and we spent a happy hour making jam from all the blackberries we have been collecting. We have bottles and bottles of the stuff now! I have an easy, pretty foolproof recipe that I use each year so that we have an abundance, all ready for making those Blackberry jam tarts for Michaelmas!

We also made fresh lemonade. This is so easy & delicious! I have included my recipe below.

As evening approached we all went for a lovely evening walk to the river. I sat and knitted while the girls played with hubby and walked a large tree trunk that spans the river. There was much screaming, laughing & the splashing of dogs!

We headed home to a fire in the garden and enjoyed a delicious dinner of lamb steaks and caramelised onions on crusty bread, ice cold lemonade and vanilla ice cream drizzled with warmed blackberry jam. We chatted for a while then the girls decided it was time for s’mores; which, I have to say are such a treat!

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After a long hot day, the sun began to fade and we all began to grow tired; that lovely, physically spent and full-bellied sleepiness that follows a perfect summer day…

Lemonade

3 large lemons

100g sugar

1L of water

Halve the lemons & juice them. Add the rinds to a bowl, along with the sugar & drench with 1L of boiling water. Stir, cover with a clean tea towel & leave to cool. Once cooled, strain the lemons from the water and add the lemon juice. Serve chilled.

Birthday Crafting

We have a Very Important Birthday coming up soon – Rose will be eight years old!

There is a lot of secret crafting going on..

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Do you remember the white yarn I recently showed you? Here it is all dyed up with used coffee grounds (along with some other knitting..)

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The days are ticking by at a quite disconcerting speed (although I am sure Rose would disagree!) So each spare moment if filled with sewing, stuffing and knitting. Wish me luck!

The August Nature Table

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Elianna has taken charge of the care and keeping of our nature table; clearing it up every month and adding the various flower fairies and gnomes that reflect the changing seasons.

Both girls delight in adding the treasures they find in our garden and on our walks.

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The toadstools tend to make a year round appearance as we always seem to find fungus of one sort or another on our walks.

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And our fairies form a magic circle….

Weekend Walk – 18 August

Today was a bittersweet walk. We met with good friends and walked..

We came across a little fairy bath:

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Naturally there was tree climbing

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and a happy face

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Mother nature at work in every direction

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But then there was a bump – a big bump. Two little girls playing on the tree swing bumped heads. And then there were tears from both little girls. But my Rose did not stop. She could feel the wobble of her tooth & the metallic taste of the blood in her mouth.

She was terrified & I had to scoop up my child and take her home. After a gentle bath and many more tears we heard a knock at our front door. Our friends had called by to see how she was. And Rose’s face lit up once more. Her friend stayed for a sweet hour of play, which took Rose’s mind off the blood and the wobbling.

I am so thankful for such thoughtful friends who went out of their way and brought Love to my child.

And mud! oh, the mud!

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Fireside

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Fire fascinates me….I could stare into the flickering, dancing flames for hours….

Fire transforms; it can both create and consume. Perhaps the fascination stems from a natural instinct to master & control it’s instability.

Necessary for our day to day living; but also it’s magic is brought into our celebrations. We have roaring fires at the Winter Solstice and Christmas time. A candle is lit as we say our morning verse before we begin our day’s work and who could say no to roasted marshmallows at the end of a long, sun-soaked day?

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Four of the pre Christian festivals are fire festivals, testifying to the importance of fire in our ancestors lives; Imbolc, (the return of spring) Beltaine, (fertility festival) Lughnasadh (the beginning of the harvest) & Samhain (the end of the harvest, the beginning of winter). Bonfires were lit and feasting began…

The girls did plenty of feasting on roasted marshmallows and s’mores whilst daddy & I chatted. I took time to knit of course!

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I love how fire has the ability to draw us together, to bring us close as a family. Sharing the warm summer evenings outdoors, or cuddled up beside the hearth on a chilled winter night.

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Many of our ancestors believed in fire elementals…do you see our own fire fairy….?

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A Little Spinning

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Earlier in the year I did some dyeing with dandelions & cochineal.

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On the quest to create the perfect sock yarn; (perfect for me is squishy, warm & hardwearing.) I am working with a blend of Blue Faced Leicester wool – lovely soft & strong, baby Alpaca for warmth & silk for strength.

I dyed the fibre in three batches – pure cochineal for a bright pink, half cochineal & half dandelion for a tender peach colour and mostly dandelion with a touch of cochineal for a pretty pearl shade.

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The fibre was carded and was spun long-draw for a lovely cushy single, then three plyed  for what i hope will be a long-lasting sock yarn for toasty toes!

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Weekending – 11 August

No weekend walk for us today. I have been busy around the garden, putting by kindling for the months ahead. I also have some lovely logs to saw up, but they are still waiting for me…

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It has been the ‘Perfect English Day’ today, weather wise. A lovely light breeze to dry the laundry hanging on the line, billowing clouds that scud across a bright blue sky, warm enough to work in light clothes without over heating. Perfect!

The girls and I collected more raspberries and now our blackberries are ripening too.Image

Our blackberries are destined to become jam for the jam tarts we make at Michaelmas, which is fast approaching.

Today will also be a day for working on a special project, for a special little girl who will soon be turning eight..a child who is still very much at one with the world around her. My wee nature girl…..

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The Wheel Of The Year

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I wanted to take a moment to share our calendar with you. I made it several years ago when the girls were very small. I found it really helped them to see so clearly how the weeks, months & seasons worked together.

“How long ’till my birthday mummy?”

“Well, we need a Bumble Bee, a tree & an apple.” (Months)

Or perhaps “Two more buttons!” (Weeks)

We always begin our ‘Year’ in September – a time of fresh starts as we begin our new school year, as the year turns slowly around, moving toward less light & more home-centred living.

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In a couple of weeks, the wheel will be cleared and we shall begin afresh, starting with our September mushroom. (Not so) little hands will once again help me to mark the passing of time in a very tangible way, as we add our little wooden & felted pieces.

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Children And Their Toys

11 As you may remember from New Beginnings, I have been ridding our home of stuff. It has been so rewarding to see all that clutter go. To feel our house exhale with relief!

Were my daughters as excited as I had been? Hmmm, not so much!

I mentioned in passing ‘The Day’ that was looming – The Day when we would go into the attic (a playrooms of sorts) & sort through their toys. I explained that we would need to get rid of some of their toys.There were tears, genuine big salty teardrops that quivered on their eyelashes before spilling down onto flushed cheeks. “Think of other children who do not have as many lovely toys as you have.” There were more tears..

The Day arrived and we all trooped up to the attic; a lovely sunny room overshadowed by pilled high boxes & over spilling bags. We sat down & I explained how they could each have five soft toys, including dolls. More tears flowed. This was harder than I had expected, but I was firm in my resolve. Five toys each, why, that is ten in all! That is a lot of snuggly toys!

As the girls began to sort through their toys with heavy hearts, they uncovered my own teddy bear. He is 39 & 1/4 years old (He was a present for my first birthday.) “Look how ragged he is Mama.” Rose observed. I had to look at him very carefully to see what she could be talking about; all I could see was him sitting on the corner of my bed each night waiting for me, always there. As a tiny toddler, my first day of school, when I had been naughty & sent to bed early. He was there, all through my child hood. As a young woman he came with me when I thought I was ever so grown up with a company car & my own flat. Gosh, he came with me when I got married. Though not on the corner of my bed, I hasten to add.

“Do you see the difference between my bear & your toys?” I asked my goggle-eyed children. “He is worn out. He has bald patches were I have cuddled him over & over. Stuffing spills out of one of his joints. He has been loved. Your toys are not loved. There are too many of them. They sit up here waiting to be played with.”

This really struck a chord with my girls. Particularly with Elianna. She held ‘Horsey’ really close & kissed him…Horsey who came all the way from New York with daddy on an aeroplane . Horsey who was a little bald, as Rose had trimmed his mane and tale when she was a toddler. Horsey, whom you could see had been loved.

Sorting through them became much easier after that. It was really a breeze. Each girl chose her five toys. Elianna wanted even less. She said she wanted ‘loved toys.’ I told her to keep hold of all five as she was agonising over which to send away & which would be special. Keep hold of them for a month. Then you will know. They will tell you themselves! Which ones are special to you and need to stay, and which ones need to find a new home where they can be special too.

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I gave my own bear a little hug; grateful that, even now, after all these years, he was still there. Waiting patiently for me. As all loved toys do.

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