Almost three months ago now, on January 7th, Kristine Brown posted the first of her herbal ally challenges - to decorate the cover of the notebook being used to record events over the year.
I have a confession to make here. When someone tells me to do something, I will think of one hundred and one reasons why the instruction/suggestion does not apply to me, even if I have agreed to take part in a course of action. There was no need. Everything I planned to do would be done on the computer. I already keep a herbal journey for all my activities – why waste time and paper writing in another one. I don’t do arty things!
So, I watched other people’s blogs as they produced beautiful covers for their notebooks – glorious colours, intricate drawings, stunning collaged photos. I knew I couldn’t do that so I carried quietly on doing the things I was prepared to do.
This is a review of all my ally activities so far:-
- I have observed and photographed violets plants in five different locations
- I have made several dried violet leaf teas but not consistently nor with any pleasure
- I have eaten two harvests of leaves and flowers in spring salads with great enjoyment.
- I have put up two jars of violet vinegar and one of violet tincture and made a violet syrup.
- From the research I carried out I have written three articles and delivered a short talk to the Mercian Herb Group which has inspired one of the group to look for and find her own violets.
- I have begun the violet meditations but will be surprised if I can do them regularly over a two week period.
I shan’t be growing any sweet violets from seed or cuttings, but I may plant a packet of heartsease (viola tricola) later in the year.
I have been quite active with my herbal ally, but not in the order of the set tasks. It doesn’t really matter because the whole process is about developing and maintaining a relationship with your ally and learning more about them.
Yesterday, after making sketches in my general notebook, I realised that a specific notebook for my ally would be a useful thing to have. I love notebooks. I collect them. They sit in a pile in the cupboard under the stairs quietly waiting for me to fill up my current notebooks. They wait years!
The one I chose came from The Works three or four years ago and has a cloth cover. I knew I couldn’t draw or make a paper collage on the fabric, so I thought about embroidering some other material. A piece of old sheet from the airing cupboard was quickly found and my initial sketch of a violet from the garden was copied onto the material.
This was then inserted into my smaller embroidery circle frame and I spent the evening with a needle and silks. I also used up the last scrap of pink ink in the printer printing off all my recent pictures and a title to make a collage for the first page.
This morning Chris was going out to get a new tax disc for the car and came back with some super pritt glue for the material and some basic glue for the pictures. He’s incredibly good at details, so I let him iron and glue on the embroidery and I did the collage. We make a good team.
So here is the first ally challenge completed. It makes me smile and I’m looking forward to filling up the pages of my newly designated journal.