Here are easy to follow directions for making baskets. Baskets are loved by everyone, and making them once soon turns into a hobby, whether for fun for yourself or for gifts. Everyone loves baskets. They can be found in almost any home, either serving a purpose such as holding fruit or magazines, or as a decorative accent hanging from a pot rack. Today they can be easily found in any store and range in cost from very inexpensive to rather pricey. Baskets may be optional in the home now, but at one time they were absolute necessities, and early settlers and pioneers had to make their own.
With the easy availability of baskets today, we don't need to scavage the countryside for materials to make them, but many people do it anyway. The reasons they make their own baskets range from wanting to be self-sufficient to creating a unique gift for someone to therapeutic stress relief.
If you would like to try your hand at basket making, for whatever reason, supplies are widely available. Almost any flexible material in nature can be used and craft stores offer a supply of machine made reeds and splints.
Before we take a look at how to weave baskets, let's take a look at basket making materials. Below is a list of natural materials along with brief instructions on how to prepare them for use.
Cattail leaves and/or stalks: Gather fully grown in early fall. On leaves, cut bottom base off and hang to dry. Before use, soak 5 minutes in lukewarm water.
Corn husks: Gather the inner leaves of an ear of corn when it is ripe. Hang to dry for one week. Before use, soak 5 minutes in lukewarm water.
Honeysuckle vines: Vines need to be at least 1 year old and should be cut between fall and early spring. Boil vine for 4 hours and then remove bark. Before use, soak 20 minutes in lukewarm water.
Vines (grape or any pliable vine): Gather vines when they are not producing (late fall to early spring). Hang to dry in a cool, dark place. If bark loosens, peel it off. Before use, soak overnight in lukewarm water.
Pine needles (brown): Pick needles (5"-12" long), on any dry day. Wash in warm soapy water and lay out to dry. Take time to make sure they are clean. Before use, soak until pliable in lukewarm water.
Daffodil leaves: Gather leaves when they are full grown and green. To keep their green color, spread them out to dry in a dark place. Spray lightly before use.
After any of the above materials have soaked the prescribed length of time, wrap them in a damp towel as you are working so they don't dry out or over soak. Here we will look at making a basket from vines.
To make a basket from a vine you will need about 10, 3' long piees and around 15, 4' long pieces of vine. (These amounts are rough guidelines, as the thickness of vines and tightness of weave will affect actual amounts needed.) Choose the thickest pieces (around 1/2" diameter) to make the frame. Lay 3, 3' spokes on top of 3 bottom spokes to form a square cross. Using a piece of the long thin vine, called a weaver, fold it so one end is shorter than the other. Loop it over top spokes and then weave it over and under bottom spokes. (Weave it over 3 spokes, under the next three, over the next three, etc.) You should do this at least 3 times. Once you have, you can begin weaving it through the spokes individually. To add a new vine, or weaver, simply insert along the side of a spoke in between a previous weave. As you are adding and weaving, you will start having more space between the spokes. At this point you can cut new spokes and insert them to fill these spaces. Begin weaving them immediately into the pattern.
When you have made the bottom 6" wide, you should lightly dampen the spokes until they are flexible enough to be turned upward, and continue weaving as you make your sides.
To finish off the top edge, bend the spokes over and weave them amongst themselves one at a time. For example, take one spoke, bend it to the right and weave it over the one next to it,then under the next one, then over the next, etc. When that spoke has woven itself as far as it can, do this with the next one, and then continue until they have all been secured down. With scissors, snip off any ends that may be unsightly or sticking out.
These instructions can be adapted to work for almost any of the other materials.
Migraine solutions: can massage ease migraine pain?
Many migraine sufferers are finding relief and prevention in different massage therapy techniques.
If you suffer from migraines, you know all too well the time lost to pain, nausea, photosensitivity, and a general unwell feeling. Prescription medicines can halt a migraine in its path, particularly when taken at the first hit of onset; avoiding triggers, which can include anything from caffeine to chocolate to alcohol to wheat or dairy, also helps those afflicted by migraines to avoid illness as often as possible. However, many people today choose to pursue alternative medicine to help ameliorate and prevent migraines. Massage has proven itself a powerful alternative to traditional medications in the field of migraine prevention.
There are several different techniques of massage that have been shown to help migraine sufferers combat their illness. Different styles work - or don't work -- for different people, and most sufferers combine massage therapy with traditional therapies to reap the best results. Depending on the type and frequency of your migraines, one or more of the following massage techniques could prove helpful to you.
Deep-tissue massage, perhaps the most well-known technique, relaxes the muscles in the body through pressure and stretching. A massage therapist focuses on areas of the body that carry tension and feel tight or uncomfortable, and uses deepening pressure to release the tension and give an overall feeling of relaxation and loosening of stiff muscles. If your migraines result from tension carried in a certain part of the body (usually the neck and shoulders), deep-tissue massage that relaxes those areas can provide a palliative measure.
Neuromuscular massage is a close cousin of deep-tissue massage. In this technique, the therapist applies moderate to deep pressure to the body's "trigger points" - specific areas within a muscle that often feel painful to the touch when pressed. The idea behind trigger-point therapy is that it will release nerve compression (compressed nerves being the reason that the trigger points ache when touched), and that the relaxed nerves in turn will help the body to release tension.
The next technique to consider is craniosacral therapy, wherein the pressure applied by the therapist is focused on the skull and scalp. By soothing the nerve endings through massage, the therapist encourages them to relax and to stop sending such powerful waves of pain.
If craniosacral massage does not help your migraines, you might try moving downwards to the feet for reflexology. Reflexology concentrates on pressure points on the soles of the foot. According to the practice, the foot is divided into that relate to different areas of the body; by stimulating those points on the feet, the therapist aims to relax muscles that carry a lot of stress or tension. Because it involves applying pressure to the feet, several people have found that they can learn and practice a version of the therapy on themselves, thus making it more affordable and more available as a prevention tool at the onset of migraine pain.
Lastly, you might choose to consider acupressure and its close relation, acupuncture. Acupressure, like reflexology can be learned and practiced by the migraine sufferer. The technique involves applying pressure with the fingertips to specific points on the head and neck or the hands; the idea is that applying pressure, then releasing it, in a certain rhythm will relax the specific nerves responsible for transmitting migraine pain. If you find relief from acupressure, you may choose to seek out a licensed acupuncture practitioner. Acupuncture therapists attempt to release the body's tension by painlessly inserting fine needles into the pressure points all over the body. While acupressure and acupuncture are not to be confused, they have both arisen from the Eastern concept of qi, or energy, that courses through the body and can become blocked at those nerve endings, or pressure points. Releasing the qi to flow freely again relieves the pressure and pain of many ailments, including, for some, migraine.
If you do choose to pursue a form of massage to seek relief from migraines, you should check with your doctor to ensure the safety of your choice. Always find a licensed practitioner. While acupressure and reflexology can be learned from the numerous books on the subject, you should always find certified therapists for any technique that allows someone else to manipulate your body in any way. Some massage therapists even accept insurance, so check with your insurance carrier to see if massage can be covered under an alternative medicine policy. Most of all, keep your mind open; if one technique does not work for you, another might. Do your research, take care, and be well!
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