Sunday, October 30, 2011

Light going forward, thats certain....and to Occupy.

.... We began the day with pumpkin carving, little M has had the privilege today so it seemed to her, to draw out the face.

The pumpkin was a gift from Dad, grown in his lovely garden.

Like yellow jewels, we watched them form these last months, debating how much to water and when to feed them, which way to lay them, when to pick the smaller ones.


We now have our lantern glowing and two large jugs of pumpkin puree in the fridge to make cookies with tomorrow and perhaps soup.

It is something, something is the only word.
How do I keep on describing this girls joy about things?  I will keep trying... I love trying: )

Her delight at making these this morning could only but put a smile across my face and bring me to some much more heart felt place beyond my morning grumpiness. I stayed up far too late watching a movie and this morning found myself pulled out of bed at sunrise, to get this pumpkin carved. I just about persuaded her to eat breakfast first.

 We ended up with a satisfyingly scary yet funny Jack' O lantern, that is for now the centre of Little M's world.

Other things to share with you for your halloween, and for entering what is the beginning of the darker months for us here in Ireland, 
Are these!

We made these lanterns last week. 

I hoped to post about it sooner. But here we are the night before the great event. 

 I made something like them in Art collage years ago whilst trying to make little hot air balloons. 
I was reminded of just how lovely they can be over here on Moment to Moment. I do get a lot of inspiration there!!!
You will get a thorough description of how they are made there too. 

We did it slightly differently.
So, Here is how we did it. 

Its basically papier mache!

You need


 {We used pva ( a water based glue) and water mixed half and half, you could also make a flour paste. Make Strips of crepe paper and tissue paper, (we used warm reds, oranges and yellows for this time of year and to really make your lanterns glow) }

* Blow up your balloon to the desired size of your lantern
*turn it big side up and place it in a bowl to secure it
*paint some glue onto your balloon and start to stick on your strips
*make about three layers, with lots of glue, and you can add leaves too as we did. If you add a leaf be sure to cover it with another layer of paper. The leaves really are beautiful.
*Once you feel you have enough on there with a last all over layer of glue, leave to dry, if you put near a heater, it will really speed up that process.
*when dry, pop your balloon and gently peel away from the paper.
* put a tea light an a wee plate or flat stone inside it and there you have it, a little glowing planet of light right in your home: )

As I was making these I thought  how beautiful white ones would be for Christmas, with little golden stars stuck in between the layers. I am will make some, maybe even a string of them across a room or over a fireplace. Ooooooh: )

Little M has been lantern making for the Mairtinmass festival in school, where we will have a lantern procession in the woods together after nightfall. Its just a couple of weeks away now. 
It was so dark and stormy last year, it was a task to keep our lanterns glowing, but all the more symbolic, carrying light and this spark of warmth glowing through the windy darkness. It was magic, and I am looking forward to it again, even as I hear the wind rushing around our doors. 

Tomorrow we will walk after dark hoping the stars will make a welcome appearance. 
I feel this year is yet another step further away from the more commercial aspects of our festivals, with school influences and my own sense of connection with the deeper meaning of these points of reflection and celebration.  

I feel a real excitement about these simple lanterns and firelight and the walnuts in my bowl, and the apple games we will play. With neighbors to visit for a song and a treat, walk in the dark with a little hand in mine, that will be grand.

That reiminds me, I look across the wide ocean now,  dividing me from the America I love, to Occupy Wall Street and their message. 
Its such a liberated one, check out Milla's thoughts here at her blog. She has written beautifully as always, about her feelings with Occupy. I have to say at this point I feel a well of good feeling about it. I would like to join them in Dublin at least for a visit. Every time I open a page on You Tube or The huff post, I see some placard with some profoundly truthful statement, without anger, just stating things as they are. Its remarkable what they are attempting to do. I intend to watch more closely and follow it, but I get caught up making lanterns and living my life here as Mom, by the woods. But to all those who are occupying, I am grateful.

 I wish them well with my heart, and imagine along with them a real live way of living harmoniously together. And when I IMAGINE this, I feel very good. 
Occupy for me, is all about trust in change, letting go of what is not working anymore, believing there is a truth that we can all live by, that we are made for a more loving way. And all the voices of doubt aside for but a moment, just the thought that it could be, is enough to make one see the light. That is realistic.

I believe this! 

What do you believe? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

the life that shapes me.........


I have had some great conversations lately with my neighbor and some other kindly folks one might meet at school or roundabout. Lots of food for thought. I have read lots more blogs as I spread my wings a little wider into that world, and am inspired by it all. I am coming a little closer now to understanding what I write about and why I am here, still exploring though. A curious soul I am. And it gets "curiouser".

 I try not to wonder so much that I miss the point of feeling alive in a mystery but its in the very essence of my nature to question the days pass, and the way of things. 

After I dropped off Little M to school today, I hung out the washing along the line. The sun was just above it, twinkling over the edges of my tea towels. I felt a feeling for meditation. 
Looking round to the half moon, I was inspired enough to do it too!

After a summer of no routine and a flu to beat the band, as we would say in Ireland. I felt like my meditation practice had disappeared, gone off somewhere down the garden path. Luckily it was there I found it again, one still Thursday morning, under the fig tree, somewhere near the compost bin. I do seem to have some good ideas there...must be all that transformation; )
It was in my sitting still that I noticed how quiet it all was but for the birds, sunny too. Finally a reprieve from the wet winds.

It put me in good order, as it was sure to do. Even the very effort of it seems to bring about a little peace. And if Peace is what I am after, which I am most definitely partial to, then this is where I begin. 

To the woods then and a walk to the studio, with contemplation in mind. The sun had me melting into the trees. Deliquescing in the long shafts of golden light and scattering leaves, my worries and woes of these last few weeks drifted by.

 It being a year since I switched on this Elisheva Project, its also the week that I finally took the plunge and ventured to the big city with my paintings under arm( though a little uncomfortable, as some are quite large, I managed) to have prints made with the intention of selling and circulating my work. Its a huge step for me. Voices of doubt crawled and creeped and scared me all week, or weeks till I finally turned to speak with them!

The loudest have been my sense of value I put on my own work, and trying to make some kind of balance within me between the useful critic, that knows when something feels good or needs a bit more or less and the very irrational critic, that really doesn't like anything I do at all; ) but does gets very excited when I finish anything. Oh my fearful ego.
Its a trust issue, and one I have to work with.

It feels like such a different relationship with art, quite distant from the last, perhaps if this were a metaphorical globe I would be on the other side of art world. Its like day and night, from where I used to be. This time I feel I can make a mends. I may have come far enough along.

As I stood in the little white gallery out front from the printers in dublin, clean and white surrounded by framed work, new work, different work from mine, Oh so different. I took at look at myself on the inside and out. I wish I had a picture of meself there to illustrate.

My hands, big hands with very long fingers were shaking as I opened the package of my work, It was a little birth to bring them out, so new. A new way of working for me. Now I paint in a bright attic. I could say I have gone back to my roots, but I really would be speaking of the woody kind. So far back and deep down are those ones I don't remember where that began. But it feels so right, and that has been the truly guiding factor of this last year and my efforts to make art again. It kind of feels holy to me, and that little critic is enjoying some of it deep down, I know.

This art reflects who I am now.

Who is that then? 

Well, Tallish mother of one sparkling child, in green raincoat, brown hair, tweed skirt, unusual gray shirt with buttons sewn along the neck, a little make up, hair askew from the wind, and green shoes with mud all around the edges: )
And Inside .......A little tired because M has a cough that I have been listening to it for three nights, slight ringing in my ears from my flu thats not quite left me. And a heart healing with a kind of joy that seems to grow, finally. 
Also, Having completely fallen in love with a woodland in Clare, so much so its all I can do to paint about it and write, and talk about it!

I have lived here three years, and this environment has had such a deep impact on me, I am where I am, its become me, by osmosis, these rich woods and all they hold, this home and garden, my neighbors, this community full of happenings and workshops and festivals and people who choose to celebrate it all even if we are in the midst of very messy economy. 

This wonderful waldorf school and all the magic that offers and sense of occasion in life. The connectedness with the rhythms of the seasons that brings into my home, is a vital part of my way of living now and raising my daughter. 
The compassionate understanding of the different needs of each child, and the respect that emerges from that has taught me more about relating with people in the world then just about anything else I have come across. A day in the kindergarten, is a day spent with a whole spectrum of personality and emotion held peacefully and confidently by teachers who have a real pedagogy and vocation in their work. 

I had never thought how children as human beings that move and create, cannot be expected to spend half their childhoods sitting in a chair to learn. As the alphabet can come later, as most scandinavian and other european countries have chosen the age of six and seven to teach letters, waldorf schools hold on to that too, till a child appears ready to be in a formal class environment. As one Mom said to me, your child can be in education for a life time if they choose, but childhood doesn't last so long. When they are ready, they learn faster too! Can you tell I am enthusiastic about this.

I feel so touched by being Here, but I also know now that Here could be anywhere really, and was everywhere I have ever been. The difference being now I am open to it. I can be conscious or not of that, but it is something that has changed in me, my art could be about the seashore one day, that would be nice too, or the sun, don't get me started on sunshine. For now the forest is my love, I better tell Pj though I think he may have suspected all along; )
What shall I give back to the woods I wonder? And to this community?

Since coming to this village and growing into my motherhood, I have let go of parts of me that I don't need here and now, and I have gained others. Maybe its more like parts are resting whilst others are waking up. Just life really, and an intrigue about that, that I can't help but be eager about unfolding. Being present with it is everything. Its easier said then done, but a little goes a long way, and I can't tell you how hard it has been at times not to be aware of that, maybe sometime I can share that too. 

A couple of days ago, I met an american woman who is traveling here. We discovered quickly we were both EFT enthusiasts and spoke a little more about writing blogs, I told her about this post and then she recites quite brilliantly this poem. s She meant every word of it, and I had that lovely shiver down my spine!

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
David Wagoner

I have come across such wonder..... HERE too, online that is. Such awe inspiring writers and life lovers traversing each others days across these maps of words and pictures. These windows into lives we get here, with such authenticity and heart at times that it takes my breath away. The creativity in motion abounds, the sharing of art's work and the trials and tribulations impels me on in my own quest and supports my dream. Could I ask much more of this space? It seems I can. Its never ending....

Thank you dear reader
And a special thanks to my new neighbor, who has brought such heart to my doorstep, kindness and evening conversations, maybe even a little of that 'urban' me that I had left behind, that likes reading newspapers and going to cafe's: )

xx E

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Little M goes to market

Little M has the fine ability of making her dreams come true!

I try to help where I can. When she wishes for castles and ponies I do stop for a moment in time, and wonder could I, how? 
Some good people in my life taught me to think big. Think in the style of miracles!!!!
 But sometimes its a little overwhelming being Mom and looking ahead at all that needs providing for. More often then not though something wonderful comes along to make it all seem easier and give madeleine exactly what she wants: )

We went to the farmers market in early September as we do almost every sunday, the creature of habit that I am. And the kindly Cheese mongers namely, The flying cheese brigade, told us a children's market was coming up and asked would Madeleine like to have her very own stall for a day. Would we what!!!!!"Yes", we said straight away. 

Little M has dreamed of being a stall holder and has asked me numerous times could she, and when, and what could she sell. And then the list of all the things she would like to sell, And the excitement grows. That and to be a musician on the streets has been her leading aspiration of these last months, bringing stars in her eyes, shining up at me with pleas.

The enthusiasm became far more heightened this summer. When making elderflower cordial with our lovely friends in June.
M and her little friend, seeing the amount we were producing and just how yummy it was, quite literally had dollar signs in their eyes as they planned a cordial selling stall on the edge of the street here in the village. And what about the profits??? They decided it would be puppies that they buy with all the money they made: )

 She invited her friend to join her and with some help from Moms and Grandad, it all came true.

Here she is, on that very morning, dressed for the part and feeling like a big girl, another theme running with us these days.

And here is their stall!

We made a lot of cookies!!! mainly ginger bread men and stars, which were a great seller, and flapjacks. Little M is gluten intolerant so everything we made was GF. I am giving you my gluten free secret recipes at the end of this post. I have really just been waiting to share them: )

My dad also got on board with us, making toffee with the girls full to the brim with cashew nuts! and providing beautiful organic eggs from his chickens, and some jams he had made.

M's friend brought the most wonderful little bundles of kindling for the fire, tied up with string, they are parked there in front of the stall in her little red trailer. Some heather bundles too, other edible delights and some old toys and books. M had been adamant that she was not parting with any of hers.

It really was so amazing to see them live out this play, that they had had. To see them making it real, with their little till and counting their money. They charged all kinds of prices, Madeleine sold a stone from the woods for €3.50 to a little boy, who just loved it, and totally saw what she saw in it. I tried not in interfere too much, but when she was charging €10.50 for jam, I intervened a little.

There were all sorts of other fun things for children there, including a very funny clown, who had us all in fits of giggles.

Here they are on their break from commerce, whale watching apparently. Though its hard to find whales in lake water, they were quite sure about it.

What a wonderful memory for them, and for us Moms too. And we were were welcomed with open arms from the market. For our girls to have an experience like that so young is really something special.

Other things happening here soon, are Feile Eile  , a festival for childrens with lots of workshops and events and music that is going on over the next three weekends!
And the 26th of October is the second Festival of Lights , we wont be missing that. 

Ok so here is a great recipes for delicious gluten free cookies that work beautifully. I have also made them dairy free and they have worked a treat.

Gingerbread men and stars or whatever shapes take your fancy!
we make these at all time of year adjusting shape an decoration for the season. At Halloween , we make headless gingerbread man; )

2 cups of all purpose gluten free flour
1 cup of rice flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ginger( you can add a bit more if you like them more spicy)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp xanthum gum ( this will make a real difference)
1/2 cup of butter or dairy free margarine
1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
1/3 cup of mollasses
2/3 cup of honey
i large egg

You can use any decorations you like. We use chocolate chips and raisins and jellies too sometimes, depending on the occasion that is in it. It works very well, to press your choc chips or jellies into the cookies when they are hot out of the oven, be gentle about it. As they cool they will be stuck on.

*With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and add the egg and molasses and honey, In a separate bowl sift the flour and all dry ingredients. 
* Add your dry mix gradually into the wet, mixing all the time until everything is well combined. You should have an aromatic bowl of gorgeous dough now, but before you think of rolling out, it really needs to be refrigerated a while, at least for two hours or over night.
* when you are ready to roll out, you can preheat your over first to 350F 180 C. Line your baking trays.
divide your dough in two, and roll out on a floured surface, cut out and place on sheets.
*Bake in the middle of the oven, they bake so quickly, but that will depend a little on how think you make them, its going to be between 8-12 minutes. They are done when they are barely beginning to brown.
*When you take them from the oven, I find it best to leave them on the baking tray a minute before moving them. Then once a little firmer, you can remove and cool.
Thats my first ever recipe on here. I hadn't imagined that, but here you go. I do hope you enjoy these. They are so delicious, Little M adores these. 

Thank you dear reader xxx E

Friday, October 14, 2011

Today poems!

They must be golden tipped boughs now
touching the water top, out at the bay edges,

Where soft water invites you in,
Skin is made into silk there under lake water

Like otters we dived under 
becoming wild again.

Madeleine has not learned to swim on the silver surface, 
She tirelessly jumps in again and again

Only a second to take her new breath between each dive,
Her natural confidence surprises me and pleases the mother in me.

The lake is mirror still but for us
and a ripple from beneath the tallest Bull rushes.

Far out beyond us swans are white specks
in the reflection of stormy blues, moving quickly into heavy greys.

The rain is hanging there, almost here.
But, The thunder rolls.

We can feel it in our bones, Its a sensory superfluity now, 
first raindrops on our faces, and silver circles break the surface.

We crouch in the water, I am on my knees
Our fingers entwined beneath.

The water nestles around our shoulders
we watch this vista soundlessly waiting.

The laiden sky gives in 
We have got a soaking

laughter resounds across the way and up the hills
through the greens

We turn, splash, run, wade our way back, stirring it all up
Pulling my legs up against the weight of water

And holding hands we yip and yell like animal calls
finding our voices again

Lightning cracks when we reach the grassy shore
Under the hawthorn trees our clothes are still wet through

summer rain warm with chills
I look back to the hills, a glance

From the forest I stand with rose hips in my hands
and one acorn, I have disturbed a red squirrel that scampered here

A dash in brilliant auburn red, a flash of autumn
up a beech, till high enough to safely stare back at me 

In his utter stillness I halt, then
Wood pigeons flurry and fly overhead, dead branches fall

Its a hundred days since summer swimming wild
In this portal of earth change, I turn to the direction of the bay to smile. 

Thankyou dear reader xxx E