thank the bees, thank the chinese

there is a honey for every tea. i love raw honey, being immensely inspired from reading chalice, and i've loved loose leaf tea since shortly after graduating college. they go good together, like spice and chocolate, butter and baked goods, cheese and fruit (all of which tastes divine with honey). i have savannah to thank for introducing me to these two great things; the tea room on broughton street, and the savannah bee company.

summer solstice + sourwood honey
pomegranate pai mu tan + winter white honey
mirabelle + acacia honey
brin's cup + star thistle honey
golden buddha + sourwood honey
emperor's bride + tupelo honey
french verveine + star thistle honey
green rooibos with lavender + acacia honey

i mostly go for fruity and light, spicy and deep, aromatic and thirst quenching. but, mostly fruity. yum. the flavors of the honey add layers and undertones to the tea. i find it's good to match hues of tea and honey together; light hued tea + light golden honey, amber hued tea + deeper hued honey. this way the subtle flavors of one don't overwhelm the other. but, that doesn't mean you can't experiment, sometimes you get a feeling for which could be good pairings after awhile.

#1 rule, raw honey beats sugar any day, on anything
#2 rule of honey aficionados, never have less than two types of raw honey at hand. never. with all the small sizes it comes in, plus the fact that honey has a shelf life of infinity, shouldn't be a problem.

gouache is definitely not gauche

way back in '00 i took a course about color; as part of the itinerary we had to compile a book from our notes and hand paint samples. scale forward to yesterday, while browsing my bookshelf i happened to open it, found i hadn't quite finished it, and decided to haul out the gouache paints.

there's something very fun about the flat hues gouache gives you; about how it goes down dark and as it dries the intensity lightens. the really neat thing is that it behaves like watercolor, but the opacity can be layered like acrylics. i hadn't painted with them for years, something about an instructor telling me that i needed to stay away from them unless i could learn to relax a bit in my painting style. sad to say, but i put them away after that.

as i already had my gouache paint out, i decided to paint the label of a paper bag. it was just a red stamp, kind of calling out to be painted, really. like the outlines in a coloring book. i think i shall paint more things with my brush and my gouache.


there has to be a movement, and soon

i grow weary of evening television. more and more "feel-good" shows are cancelled out, and what remains are so many shows of violence, spewing with new ideas which are not necessarily good ideas. they've become a type of scrapbook in how to hurt someone; these someones being women most of the time. as if the twisted psyche of the mentally disturbed needed a reference manual of all the different ways to cause pain to the human body and spirit. above all, these shows perpetuate the victimization of women.

what bothers me the most is that by repeatedly showing women as victims of violence we do become numb to it, we almost expect that some form of violence will happen to us; because of course, television has shown us that. it worries me, because when you surrender to that thought, you loose your freedom to be you. you allow the fear of it to warp your life and how you live it.

society should step up, speak out that it is not acceptable to portray extreme violence as "entertainment". shows should focus on reforming what causes men to lash out at women, to how we portray women as sexualized beings alone, they should focus on letting girls and women know that it is never "all right" for another human being to cause them harm, they should push the idea that we are all deserving of the basic human right to live our lives without fear.

and then i saw this and thought, "yeah, i'm not alone in my thoughts."

as it stands

there's always more to learn. the fiber compendium; for the pursuit of education and knowledge is a work in progress, both the collecting of samples and gaining knowledge of what's out there. as of now here is the list (*=obtained in collection):

bast fibers:
cotton-colorgrown peru*
milkweed-stem and seed*
burmese lotus flower
zenmai-fern cotton

protein fibers:
bactrian camel*
dromedary camel*
musk ox-qiviut*
new zealand possom*
new zealand red deer*
byssus-very endangered, no chance of obtaining
tibetan chiru antelope-very endangered, no chance of obtaining

silk fibers:
chinese tussah*
oak tussah-himalayan*
oak tussah-american
tropical tasar*
golden orb spider

i shall also work on notes of what makes each fiber interesting, and usable as a spinning fiber, as well as origin. although most of my focus is on the lower micron fibers, the baste fibers used for rope making can't be ignored as many of them can be and were cut thinner for the making of garments. as always, i am constantly amazed by our ancestors skills and abilities. 


miniatures outside the dollhouse

creating small container gardens is quite fun and very rewarding. you can add pizazz with little details and give birth to miniature worlds. in this case, washi tape bunting and twig poles.

it's a "welcome to your new space" gift for our local yarn shop owner. she's opening a new shop, with a new location which gets great light due to the wall of glass at the entrance. succulents love light, and every space needs something living to bring good karma.

i'm trying to use my washi tape more often, now that it's easier to access in its' drawer. it was very quick and painless to make the bunting; a little cutting, pressing, tying, et voila!


silk doings

i've finished the woven silk shawl. i had wanted to bring it to colorado with me, but i wasn't done with the fringe in time. here it is in the sink, fulling. it's softer after the wash, a little less stiff, but still with some shape. though the muga and eri silk are soft and lustrous, the darker peduncle silk lends a fuzzy, slightly rough feel to the shawl which isn't unpleasant.

when i was at treenway silk, i picked up some more peduncle silk (the brown overshot thread used in the shawl above). as well as some spinning silk fiber, interesting double spun 60/2x2 yarn, incredibly fine 120/2 yarn, and recycled silk sari ribbons which i used for a small coiled basket bowl we crafted at the guild meeting.

i love silk; the smell, the crisp feel, the scrunch sound it makes when you squeeze a skein, as well as the softness, the luster, and the dual personality it has.

while in boulder i was also able to pick up some more texsolv heddles for the loom, giving me 125 heddles for each shaft. i hope it's enough for whatever projects may come!


the required travel photos

the downside of having been somewhere before is that it's hard to drum up much enthusiasm to take photos. especially when one isn't inclined to taking photos in the first place; and the things which one does want to photo speed by too fast. memory will have to work to preserve the photographic moments.

of the images i was able to take, here are the more interesting ones:

trees draped in snow on the last day coming down the rockies.

lichen covered rock previously hidden by snow.

the land amongst the mountains in the in-between time of winter and summer.

frilly succulents.

sudden flatness of the plains. 

the cats after having been left at home for 11 days. did not like that at all. nope, definitely not.

road trip in the car

jagged mountain peaks, 
shimmering patches of snow, 
snaking roads, 
up and down they go.

rust hued gorges,
tumbled rocks,
tumultuous balance,
flowing water talks.

straight horizons,
specks of black bovine,
rising bluffs,
a flat running line.

windmills whirl,
fenced in fields,
metal grasshoppers,
nothing shields.

roads go over, down,
hidden valleys,
verdant surroundings,
horses graze and dally.

shadowed sun,
among the trees,
patchwork earth,
a nation feeds.

old mountains curve,
whispering leaves,
hidden waters,
land that frees.

gladness sparks,
back to home,
humidity beckons,
i cease to roam.

a poem written of my trip from colorado to georgia, by way of car. colorado, wyoming, nebraska, iowa, kansas, missouri, illinois, kentucky, tennessee, georgia. i think i'm done with road trips for awhile. sleep, uninterrupted, familiar timezone acknowledged; happy to be home. missed my two kitties.