Story quilting has been a beautiful part of my art practice. I find that making these quilts is a beautiful way to integrate my twin loves of storytelling and visual art making!
I prefer to use rough edge applique and big embroidery stitching to make my quilts. I will be teaching these methods and more in an upcoming Story Quilting Workshop at Spring Bird this November 7th and 9th.
Learn About Story Quilts, my process of making them, a little about what to expect at the upcoming workshop!
WATCH VIDEO BELOW:
If you are interested in learning more about November's Story Quilt Workshop here!
Question for Pat from Stephanie: I'm setting up a new office and want to create a bit of an indoor ecosystem with a collection of potted plants. Any recommendations on the best plants what will be happy indoors (in Johannesburg) and give off the best oxygen ratio? I guess the larger question is what is the difference in types of plants and carbon dioxide to oxygen exchange. Is an aloe equivalent to a ficus, for example?
Pat’s Answer: Plants performing photosynthesis absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, so indoor plants can increase the amount of oxygen and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide inside a building. The resulting impact on indoor air quality depends on the level of air exchange with the outside - a tightly sealed building would benefit more from the plants than a drafty building.
The rate of plant growth is the main factor determining which plants are better at increasing oxygen levels. Fast-growing plants absorb the most carbon dioxide and release the most oxygen. Also, some plants, including orchids and succulents, continue to release oxygen at night, not just during daylight.
The U.S. Lung Institute lists the following as the Top 5 houseplants for increasing oxygen indoors:
Indoor plants also raise humidity levels inside buildings, which helps reduce respiratory and skin problems caused by dry air often found in offices. People with plants in their offices are more energized and able to focus and feel less stressed.
Indoor plants, when in a well-sealed building, also help clean the air by soaking up volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Based primarily on NASA research, the following table lists the top 10 house plants for air purifying.
For more information, see:
Claudio L. Planting Healthier Indoor Air. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Oct; 119(10): a426–a427. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230460/
Conklin LM. The 18 best air-cleaning plants, according to NASA. https://www.msn.com/en-sg/lifestyle/smart-living/the-18-best-air-cleaning-plants-according-to-nasa/ar-BBVyqYM
Li Q. Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness. New York, NY: Viking (2018).
US Lung Institute. Top 5 Plants for Increasing Oxygen. https://lunginstitute.com/blog/top-5-plants-for-increasing-oxygen/
Wolverton BC. How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 House Plants that Purify Your Home or Office. New York, NY:Penguin Books (1997).
A couple of Summers ago, I was so fortunate to partake in my first and only official Forest Bathing experience here at Spring Bird. Even though I spend a good deal of time having magical experiences in the woods, the Forest Bathing experience was so much more than I had expected because it is a practice of slowing down and connecting with the woods through using our senses. There is intention behind your walk through the woods, but there is also a great deal of intuition employed in letting yourself wander -- allowing yourself to be led by your intuition.
As Dr. Qing Li writes about in his book Forest Bathing, our Forest Bathing guide, Kimberly Ruffin, helped us to engage all of our senses while we developed our relationship with the natural world. It was euphoric for me despite the high humidity and insect swarms that we had to contend with (it was July).
So, I just finished reading Dr. Li’s book about Forest Bathing, in which he outlines the cultural and spiritual foundations for Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing), the scientific underpinning that supports it as a medicine, how to practice Forest Bathing, and how to bring Forest Bathing into home and office environments.
This was a quick and enjoyable read for anyone wanting to grasp the scope of Forest Bathing and the science behind it. If you are not up for reading it, I will be sharing much content from the book in upcoming posts. I am really excited by this practice and can’t wait to share more about how Forest Bathing can be healing for us as well as a means for strengthening our relationship with nature, but for now just focus on smelling the trees -- especially evergreens.
Trees release phytoncides that will do a whole lot of good for you like improving your immune system, decreasing stress hormones, helping you to sleep better, decrease tension and anxiety, make you feel better, decrease blood pressure, increase your heart rate variability, and suppress your sympathetic nervous activity while increasing your parasympathetic nervous activity. I mean, go take a walk in the woods and smell it -- really smell it -- you will feel better! Then, go read this book to learn so much more!!!!
These “LOOK” Magnets were part of the Fall Issue of Woolgathering. They are a reminder to stop and notice the nature around you. The more we pay attention to the smallest changes, the more we have an appreciation for our natural world and recognize our place in it and ultimately, hopefully our responsibility to save it!
Take time to LOOK today!
Our daughter Penelope has wanted a pet pig for years! We have done all of the research on small, indoor breeds etc. When she realized that pigs are as demanding as human toddlers, she decided to get a guinea pig, instead.
The guinea pig is a great pet. Plus, we are able to visit the real piggies, a heritage breed, at neighboring farm, All Grass Farms.
This drawing is of a young pig we encountered on our farm tour so many weeks ago.
This is my last post about the farm BTW, which is fitting since we definitely ate some breakfast sausage from the farm store. The sausage was spiced with ginger, which I had never had before, and it was delicious!
Mono printing is so fun! It's a great intro to printing - its immediacy, its fluidity, and its non-fussiness lets you to make fast, impressions of nature that could perhaps double as ink blots for further pyschological testing. I'm kidding. These prints are a great way to let loose in your nature notebook.
Here are two ways to do mono printing - demonstrated in the video!
If you are interested in learning more about mono printing and want to join us for the Nature Notebook Workshop coming up in October, click here.
We have a lot of map lovers in our house. Pat is the chief map lover, but Abe is our family cartographer! He is usually drawing maps for his fantasy stories and D & D adventures, but we commissioned him to make a Map of Spring Bird. And this is it!!
New, laminated (yes!) copies of this map will be available in the cottage for guests. We hope the map will encourage more exploration of Spring Bird -- especially for the newbie guests.
So, go wander - on trail, off trail, just remember, wherever you are, you are here!
On Instagram, Michele asks how to transplant Bamboo that has outgrown it's containter.
This is Pat's answer:
Assuming you have the houseplant known as lucky bamboo, re-potting it is straightforward. You can either keep it in the same jar or move it to a bigger one.
If it’s growing in water, all you have to do is dump out any rocks and place the plant in a bigger vase, or to keep it in the same jar, trim back the roots by as much as a third. Then add back the rocks and water. Remember to use room temperature rainwater or distilled water, not tap water.
If it’s growing in soil, first water the plant. Then remove the plant and place it in the new, larger pot at the same soil level, firm the soil around the plant and water the new pot.
If you have a question for Pat to research, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Each issue of Woolgathering comes with a seasonal postcard, which you can mail to a friend, use as a bookmark, or post on a bulletin board. The postcard for the 2019 Fall Issue included this recipe for Sausage, White Bean, and Kale Soup.
Last Tuesday and Saturday, I taught a Small Weaving Workshop at Spring Bird Cottage!
These workshops focused on teaching the tapestry weaving on different “looms” that also incorporated natural materials.
I was blown away with the amount of creativity that each weaver demonstrated. Take a look at the photos below to see their amazing work and learn more about how the workshop was structured.
If you’d like to learn any of these techniques, check out the workshop info page here, for links to tutorial videos!
Thanks to everyone who came and participated! It was so much fun!!!
Our next workshop offered will be the Nature Notebooks Workshop, which you can learn more about here!
We Sourced Materials From The Woods of Spring Bird!
Tree Slice Weaving Taught Us About Weaving Wholeness
Twig Weavings Taught Us About Patience
Rock Weaving Taught Us About Time
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.