Apr 16, 2024

Earth Day Past, Present, Future

The 1960's were a decade of great change and intense social upheaval. It was marked by the untimely and violent deaths of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. It was an era filled with exciting new musical groups, strange yet exciting clothing, big hair, bigger earrings, taller shoes, shorter skirts and unforgettably wide bell bottom pants. It was the era of "Flower Power, Far Out and Feelin' Groovy" and there was someone, and something to watch every where you looked.

I spent my school years from kindergarten through high school on Douglas Island/ Juneau, Alaska and then traveled "south to the States" and college in Corvallis, Oregon after high school graduation in 1968. I remember well the intense and dynamic activism and social awareness many of us experienced during that time.

 My college classes included categories like "Black Lit" and "Poetry of War". It was a strange and intensely exciting new world filled with dynamic changes and my first experiences with social activism and loud protests in my once quiet college campus against 'the war'.

The "war" meant Vietnam and the topic of the 'draft' struck terror in all of our hearts. I'd just met my future husband, Larry Bilyeu, at Oregon State University and he'd already received his official U.S draft card. Classmates from our hometowns--mine in Juneau, Alaska, his from Stayton, Oregon were already looking at a rapidly changing world and uncertain futures.

"What's your number?" was just as common as "What's your sign?" Your number meant your draft number and could signal the end to your college career, your hopes for the future, or even the end of your life.

Our "sign" was always the peace sign, above all else. You saw it everywhere, on everything. It was what we all wanted and what we prayed and lit candles for. Just as much as we cared for our rights, for human rights and for rights to either 'choice or life', we also cared ardently about environmental issues.

It was during the mid 1960s that Congress passed the Wilderness Act, and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas asked, "Who speaks for the trees?" I remember reading in college Rachel Carsons, shocking bestseller Silent Spring (1962). I didn't read it 'just' to learn about environmental issues. It was assigned and mandatory classroom reading!

I remember how much it pained me to think of all of the environmental damage we were so unwittingly creating not only for ourselves, but our children and grandchildren for generations to come.

In was during the sixties, that Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, called for an environmental 'teach-in', or 'Earth Day' to be held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people responding to increasing interest in environmental issues, participated that year, alone.

Thursday April 22, is one of several recognized 'Earth Day's' and is celebrated by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Nelson, an avid environmental activist, may have taken a leading role in organizing that first celebration, but it is one that is taken up, on many levels, by many ages and groups, today.

Eco-Ball at Riverfront Park, Salem Oregon
A grassroots community advocated project

Seen as more of a 'grassroots' celebration by many, and even protested and disapproved of by others, it is still the the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a half billion people every year. Many cities extend the Earth Day celebration to an entire week, usually beginning on April 16th and ending on April 22nd.

The unofficial Earth Day flag is the photo taken by NASA and submitted by John McConnell.

But according to 'Flags of the World' it is this ecology flag created by cartoonist Ron Cobb, published on Oct. 25, 1969 that is the Ecology Flag.

It was patterned after the U.S. flag with 13 stripes in alternating green and white. Its canton is green with a yellow Theta symbol.

While originally sporting a symbol which combine an 'E' for environment and an 'O' for organism, it 'evolved' into the Greek alphabet letter for Theta. (Theta is historically used as a warning symbol.)

Whatever the symbol, the meaning or the intent, Earth Day remains a day of continued awareness, social and environmental responsibility and a continuing commitment to the stewardship of Earth as our home.

“This is for young and old who care about the Earth, its air, water, land and living things. We must change the attitudes and actions now destroying the Earth into those that will heal and build our planet.”

John McConnell, Speech (1974)

“Earth Day is Nature's Day. A day of drama, dreams and dedication to the restoration, renewal and improvement of Earth's natural beauty and bounty."

John McConnell, "Celebrate Earth Day" speech at United Nations (20 March 1991)


And now:

Past posts:

Bilyeu Homes Inc. Cottage Home Awarded LEED Platinum. First in the Pacific Northwest.

I wore and passed out my quickly made Earth Day eco-pins featuring a version of that eco-flag (made with felt with safety pins ) to family and friends. 

One person even walked up to with with an "Oh my gosh! I haven't seen one of those in years!" It made my day!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands sharing an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, from "my heart and with my hands"

Apr 8, 2024

Solar Eclipses

All of the mystery, magic and mayhem are all part of one another and with and through these intense world changes we are all experiencing right now.

 And with them comes incredible opportunities for elimination of the old and rebirth into the new. This rebirth is an opportunity for transformation of the you that you truly are deep inside.

It is time for all of us to understand why we have the patterns and patterning that we have, why we have made all of the choices that changed our lives, putting all of us and our planet at risk for annihilation, and why we now all get to choose again as we go into the dark of the physical, emotional and perhaps even spiritual eclipse as we expose our deepest and innermost selves to the light and if you are willing and brave and have pure intent and purpose, come out into the bright light of a new transformed day once again.

And then from 2021:
The June 10, 2021 solar eclipse will be visible will be partially visible from the United States, northern Canada, Europe, northern Asia, Russia and Greenland, according to Time and Date. You can also watch it live online with several live webcasts, and if you live in any of the areas where it's visible and it's safe to travel, you can look at it outside — just make sure to wear proper eye protection !

Solar eclipses happen when the moon passes in front of the sun, from the viewpoint of our planet.

Total solar eclipses — which are relatively rare — happen when the moon covers the entire sun; the moon's orbit is tilted with respect to the sun and doesn't always perfectly align. A "ring of fire" or annular eclipse happens when the moon is near its farthest point from Earth during an eclipse, so the moon appears smaller than the sun in the sky and doesn't block the whole solar disk.
Dated to that year:

With Heart and Hands sharing an  imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting "from my heart and with my hands".

Mar 25, 2024

The Celebration of Easter + Free Chicken and Nests Patterns Updated 2024

Happy Easter: Ostern, Pesach, Eosturmonath, Great Day and Great Night and I hope you have a blessed and holy Passover!

The Jewish celebration of Passover, The Feast of the Unleavened Bread was practiced by ancient Israelites at the beginning of their New Year, the Spring Equinox. 

The Christian Easter, depends on Passover for not only much of its symbolic meaning, but for its dating on the calendar.

The Christian celebration is linked with the observance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his entombment. Falling on the first Sunday after the first full moon and the multicultural belief in the meaning of rebirth and the promise in the seasonal cycle therefore of life everlasting.

The name of our holy day 'Easter', is derived from that of the Teutonic goddess Eostre, or Eoster, or Ostern and was celebrated during the pascal month of Eosturnmonath, meaning Great Day or Great Night.

Connected of course to the earliest nature based celebration to welcome in Spring. It is common to see wild hares or rabbits which ushered in our conception of the association with bunnies or the bunny rabbit bringing in a new cycle of birth and rebirth year after year symbolized by the laying hens and their ongoing cycles of laying eggs.

What may appear as diverse rites of Spring reveal themselves as sharing common cultural beliefs in life, death, resurrection and rebirth.

As the night begins her retreat, and the dawn of the new light and life, begin their ascent and resurrection, the balance shifts within each of us.

It becomes a time of renewal, and rebirth and a time to lay down the old, and begin life anew. 

We set out our baskets of eggs and we celebrate this happy occasion, just as nature celebrates her own time of new growth.

In the wild forest, the hens sense the spring time change and begin to lay their colorful eggs. 

Perhaps our own ancestors went out to hunt them, perhaps bringing them back in their nests, or in baskets imitating them. 

Our nest-like baskets of decorated eggs and the Eoster Egg Hunt, remind us of this lovely revitalization of nature and our common sharing in the joys, goodness and abundance of life.

The symbol of the egg banishes the past and starts afresh. It is a symbol of purification and it is a symbol of rebirth. As we crack our eggs, we peel back the white of the melting snow, and we release and free the golden sun within.

Easter blessings to all of you, in all countries, with all customs and cultures. And happiest days of rebirth and re-awakenings for a new and blessed season.

Free Chicken Patterns Courtesy of All the Girls in the Coop!!!


Steel Scraps: Chicken Pincushions with Thread Caddy Nests

Monkeyroom: Tutorial

Weathervane wall quilt, free pattern by Debbie Busby at All People Quilt

(Sign in to see and to use for free)

Rise and Shine wall hanging, free pattern by Wendy Sheppard at Ivory Spring

Mr. Rooster, free pattern by Caroll at West Michigan Quilter

Cat's Rooster, free pattern by Jennifer Ofenstein at Sew Hooked

Jaunty Rooster, free pattern by Julie Lynch for Benartex

Birds of a Feather wall quilt by Cynthia Scott at Janome

Redwork Chicken Embroidery Pattern by Cheryl C. Fall for About.com

Rise and Shine Placemat Tutorial by Vicki Welsh

 Rooster Quilt Block, free pattern at How Stuff Works

Chickens in the Coop, inspired by “Birds of a Feather” from Kevin Kosbab, made by Laura Boehnke for All People Quilt 

Hen and Flowers wall hanging, free pattern at All People Quilt

Cocks Crow in the Morn, free pattern by Kaaren Johnston at The Painted Quilt with blessings and gratitude.

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands sharing an imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon and back again. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting from my heart and with my hands.