Baskets and Ritual

As many of you know 2011 has not been easy so far! I know just a month into the year but we have heard more challenging news in the past 27 days. And with some big changes on the horizon (like an impending move) I have felt that little rituals have been vital to getting through the day in my case and in Zoe’s case trying to understanding/come to terms with an ever-changing adult world. So I have  brought back one little basket ritual which we have previously used  and have introduced a new basket into our home of many baskets.

Our Prayer Basket

In this basket you will find a little basket of an herbal mix white sage, balsam (from our woods) and lavender (I think I will also add a little tabacco), some water-colored cards to write down and decorate prayers and make prayer cards, some pens, some fabric cut is squares to add herbs, tie and make a prayer bundle, some ribbon, and in the jars some confetti red hearts to symbolize love, and some gold stars to symbolize healing, and a crystal.

I loosely explained to Zoe suggestions on “how to use” the basket  and then left the basket in a very visible spot and have enjoyed watching her stop by it and add creativity, her prayers, and blessings several times a day.


The second one the “Burden Basket” based on a Native American tradition.  Zoe made a simple version of this basket last summer at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum PowWow in New Hampsire we attended last summer.

(little girl performing a jingle dance at  pow wow 2010)


Traditionally a burden basket is a cone shaped hand made basket. Leather and cone jingles hang down from them. Almost all burden baskets have a leather strap for hanging or wearing around the neck or shoulders.  Historically as the basket was worn the tine cones would jingle and this would scare away animals such as snakes while the wearer was out harvesting. Many times, smaller burden baskets were given to children to wear for protection as the jingles would scare off animals and the sound would alert parents to where their children were located. These baskets are often hung outside a home and a caller was to place his “burdens” inside the basket before entering. The saying, “leave your burdens at the door” originated with these baskets.

How we used it: We hung her burden basket on the door knob to her bedroom and whenever she was having a bad moment she placed her “mood” into the basket that way left outside her room. I think this time we will do it a little differently by leaving it on the inside of our front door so that we (or our guests!)  can write down our  moodies and gumpies and leave them there before entering! We can also add our stresses and worries so that we are not burdening them all the time! and can enjoy some stress free time in the quiet of our home.

Our Daily Commute… (and mini book review)

This second picture reminds me of Zoe’s current favorite book “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” Susan Jeffers’ illustrated book of the well known Robert Frost poem. The illustrations are truly exquisite. Susan Jeffer’s captures the quiet beauty of the woods on a snowy evening. Animals peaking from behind trees and bushes watching the man and his sleigh, A beautiful snowy owl, birds of every color against the stark white snow.  Every page is a work of art. A family keep sake.

Prayer Shawls/Healing

The idea came to me when I realized I needed to keep my hands busy and my energy focussed while sending prayers of love and healing to my dear friend Pat who needs our support. I was looking for a creative way to include all the others who are also sending their healing blessings her way. I thought of a lap blanket, a set of prayer flags (next project in the prayers for Pat series) but for now a Prayer Shawl that we can infuse with blessings, prayers, love and warmth and eventually she can wrap herself in and surround her self in the support of her loving friends.

Here is where you all come in,  if you would like to add anything to the making of this shawl, a prayer, a bead, a ribbon, some yarn, please go ahead and mail it to me and I will be happy to add it to this project. (Please email if you need my  mailing address.)

One of my New Years Resolution was to become a  better knitter! I love yarn. I can knit and purl, cast on cast off, increase, decrease, knit a hat, make simple legwarmers, knit a very basic sweater but put a pattern in front of me and I am lost and confused. I have a few patterns saved over at Ravelry and have decided that this will be the year. So Project #1 Pats Healing Shawl!

Healing Blessing for the Healing Journeys

Help us to keep the vigil for healing

in sacred space and holy time.

We give thanks for those whose gifts and training

empower them to care for the body;

nurses, doctors, physical and respiratory therapists,

those who prepare food and clean rooms,

those who care at the bedside and behind the scenes.

Bless all family members and friends who keep the vigil

in prayer in waiting rooms and hospital corridors.

Grant them your peace.

We are all in need of your healing presence

each day of our lives.

Help us to watch, wait, and listen for your blessings in the midst of our healing journeys.

© 1996. Reverend Susan Copeland


And for George:

Comforting Blessing

May you see the light in the darkness during these challenging times.

May you feel the loving presence of those who hold you in their thoughts and prayers.

May your spirit find what it needs to sustain you on this journey.

May you discover your inner strength and face all difficulties with dignity and grace.

May you be filled with comfort, love, strength, grace and a lasting sense of peace.

© 2005. Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS, FT

Also sending love to Pat and George’s Girls!!

When I can up with the idea I thought it was original, funny that, then I went to Webs our fabulous yarn store in Northampton, and there I found several books on Prayer Shawls!  There are many reasons that you can knit a prayer shawl, here are some;

– for someone who is undergoing serious medical procedures or cancer treatments
– for someone who has experienced a loss
– for someone who is going into a meditation or silent retreat
– for someone who is giving birth or nursing a baby
– for someone who is nurturing an ill child

Have you ever knit a prayer shawl? If so please share your experience.


handmade holidays summary!

It has taken me a while to get this post together…

Like so many, our goal this year was homemade gifts. SO December evenings turned to night with me at my sewing machine or serger long after Zoe had gone to bed. Afternoons were spent rushing Zoe through her homework so that we could focus on some holiday gift crafting. Zoe made 4 pairs of knitting needles for her friends (2nd picture on the bottom row), 12 snow globe soaps (last photo) and several glittery star candle stick with hand dipped candles (1st picture bottom row).

It was also the year that we transitioned to fabric reuseable gift bags! Oh how beautiful they all looked under the tree.

As Zoe’s main gift I made her a detective kit. As I have previously written about we have been reading lots of mysteries Nancy Drew and Box Car Children. First I found a wooden suitcase and decoupaged it with an old stamp collection. In it I collected items such as a compass, several notebooks, an ink pad for collecting finger prints, an ID and cypher wheel which I downloaded from here, and several items for disguises. It was a HIT! yeah!! It led to a lot of detective play with her friends and dolls.

Together we also put up a tepee for dolls…so far it is just rigged but we have plans to decorate/embroider and sew it. There will be a post later on the Tepee/Tipi.

Mixed in with handmade there was plenty of vintage charm as we got this little record player (a portable imperial model 100!) up and running. A little vintage art decoupage, a new needle and presto!…the inside rainbow pattern is original. I love this little record player it reminds me of one I had as a child. Next up for refurbishing is my vintage aqua scholastic typewriter!

I also sewed several “cheer” garlands for friends and some Solstice Sun Potholders!  I even made us a set of fancy holiday napkins that I am already excited about puling out next year. Some of our holiday crafting has not been mailed yet and some not quite finished! I did manage to complete a matching skirt for Zoe and her doll still there are a few items that remain in the WIP basket, the rainbow fabric dressing gown, the T-Shirt from this fabulous pattern I got here. Love that place don’t you!! and then the smaller version on the fancy dance shawl I made Zoe last year…and also the Jingle Dress that I promised last year!! and so we enter 2011 with projects already started needing completion.

Hope everyones holiday’s were joyful and wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous 2011!