Monday, 28 December 2009

The Lavender Fairy

You may remember that back in September I posted pictures of all my finished DMC Flower Fairies Cross Stitch Kits to date. I also had this one unfinished, and as you can see now she is finished... so I introduce to you the Lavender Fairy. I have a couple of charts for some more small fairies from the collection which I will do next year, but this one has been awaiting my attention for ages. Truth be told, I was putting off finishing it, mainly because I had so many french knots to add to the design, all the lavender flowers and the centre of her dress is made up of these:

Now as much of a fiddly pain in the ass they were to stitch I have to say that they do look really good and the end result is well worth the annoyance that I went through. Now I just need to find a set of different sized matching frames for all my fairies so I can display them as at the moment they are just in a big pile in my stitching box, which is such a waste, especially considering how much time and work went into making them.

Bring on the New Year

Wow, what a fantastic week we have had. I can't remember the last time I had such a happy festive season. We were truely blessed to have such wonderful gifts and the love and company of those we love so close to us. It was the first year in a long time I spent with my mum, dad and brother and we all had such a good day.

I hope you all had a wondeful time too, full of as much light, love and blessings as we did here :)

My projects have all been going well. I only have the casting cloth for my divinatory set left to finish now ready to charge on the 31st. All my other waiting projects are done, and with a new table eisel, oil paints and a glass painting set I have tons of new ideas assaulting me ready for the 2010, a collection of candle holders being the one I am thus far particularly looking forward to as it has been on my mind to do for ages.

I'm so excited for the new year, more so, I think, than I was even for Yule and Christmas etc. It's going to be a good year! I can feel it and I am literally bursting at the seams to get it underway. It's also my birthday on the 13th January, and with the promise of a kid free weekend away from the 9th to the 11th I'm looking forward to it like an excited child. A week later it is then Ethan's 1st birthday too, so we have loads more celebrations to welcome in the new year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Yule Incense

2 parts frankincense resin
2 parts myrrh resin
1 part mistletoe
1 part clove (whole)
1 part cinnamon
This recipe is the one I used for Yule this year, it burns well as an incense but could be used as a non-burning offering, added to salt dough for decorations or used for all manner of seasonal projects. It is not, however, suitable for youngsters to handle, so if adding it to a salt dough mix or such be sure not to let kids work with it, and as with all herbal work, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the herbs, particularly before working with anything that will be ingested.

Yule Blessings

A very blessed Solstice to all of you whatever hemisphere you live in :)
For us, it's Yule, so here are a few pictures and ideas for celebrating the Winter Solstice. After the hectic throng of Beth's birthday I have a day to relax and make last minute preparations for Yule. We decorate the house and tree around now, waiting until after the 19th so Beth can have birthday decorations up. Putting up the decorations, for me, always heralds the start of the celebrations and really gets me into the festive mood.

I'm a big fan of making pot pourri and using it as a table decoration, I tend to make different ones throughout the year with natural objects, herbs and scents for the season. For the spicey smells one of my favourites is the winter one, packed with cinnamon, oranges, apples as well as pine, orange and sandalwood oils it smells rich and delicious. I added a few red glass nuggets for decoration too, and they look lovely when they reflect the light from the candles I use in the mix.

Sat on a fake wreath I acquired from my nan's decorations when she passed away we have our table centrepiece with a big red cranberry scented pillar candle in the middle. Yum!

The orange slices I have been drying for the last couple of weeks are ready and threaded up with some orange embroidery thread, ready to hang on the tree. They make beautiful natural decorations as do bundles of cinnamon sticks wrapped with red ribbon. I break the sticks in half and then use three sticks in a bundle, a pack made about 10 decorations I think. Cinnamon is wonderful for attracting prosperity and abundance into the home, and the smell always reminds me of Yule and snug winter nights curled up in the warmth at home.

Here's our tree, as you can see I like trees with a mish mash of colours and decorations on them, there's no rhyme or reason to it, and I've never been one for meticulously planned/themed trees. I prefer multi-coloured lights and homemade decorations, some that I've made over the years, and others that Beth has made, really make it all the more special to our family ane 'homey' :)

I also made some herbal decorations out of salt dough and a mix of herbs as I detailed in one of my earlier posts in the year. I used mistletoe, juniper berries and cinnamon to encourage love, health and prosperity into the house cut into powerful stars. I like to call these wish stars as I fill them with wishes for both the Solstice and the coming New Year. I then hang them out in the garden for the New Year to dcompose and return them to the Earth and release their power. With older children you can give them a star of their own to hold and make a wish on before hanging it on the tree, which is a simple way to introduce kids indirectly to the use of seasonal magick... and who doesn't like to make wishes?

And here's my altar (a close up above and a wider picture below), the golden reindeer (which personally I think looks more like a stag, specifically the stag in my cross stitch pictured here - which is really why I brought it) is a new addition to my decorations this year. Wrapped around it's neck and body is a string of prayer beads I made the other day too. Originally I planned to make it in white, red and black for the triple goddess with two clear quarts points, one on either end. As I was making it however, I ended up adding some off white and dark green beads too, spaced with small hematites and little silver spacers so by the end it had a distinctly seasonal feel to it. I guess that just shows how connected I am to the season at the moment :) I love prayer beads, I used to have a proper rosary that I bought in Paris when me and my mum went there for a weekend when I was about 13. I'm not sure what happened to it, but I realised I really did miss the aid of the beads, they're so handy for chants, spell craft and prayer and ideal for taking around with you daily or if you're going away for a few days and can't/don't want to take a full travel altar kit with you... after all it's not always that practical.

The pink tealight holder may look a little out of place, but Beth made it and it is her candle which she like to keep here with my altar to light up and in the small linen bag on the left are the objects to my divinatory set, barring the casting cloth which I'm still stitching. I will reveal them neare to or just into the new year, as I intend to use the power of the blue moon to charge and bless the set.

Usually, though I didn't do it this year because I forgot, I like to buy a chocolate Yule log too and do a little blessing with this. It's particularly good and sneaky for blessing any visitors you may have at this time too. I place in the log a gold birthday candle for each member of the household and one extra to represent any visitors. Light each candle and bless the Yule log to bring peace, happiness and love (or whatever you wish for the season) to those within your household and visitors to your home. Once the candles have burned down, give each member a slice of the log to eat and share it with your visitors remembering to leave a piece on your altar as an offering to the spirits of the home and hearth who help to bring peace, love and happiness into your daily lives.

Finally I remembered to collect up an nice jug full of snow and bring it inside. Snow makes excellent ritual water, as does rain. We haven't had much snow here, unlike some places over the last few days, but there was enough to collect a decent amount. Again, this is in preparation for the blue moon, as I will take the opportunity to create a new batch of extra potent moon water, I think snow water is ideal for this task thanks to it being collected from directly from nature itself and it's beautiful white colour reflective and beautiful, just like the moon herself.

Phew! I think that's about it from me for now. Again I hope you have all had a very blessed Solstice wherever you are and that the light and love of the Lord and Lady shine down on you.

Birthday Girl!

The first event in our hectic festive week is Beth's Birthday on the 19th December. This year she turned five... Here she is, the birthday girl in her new red princess dress, which she got for her birthday and has now been wearing solidly for 3 days! :s You can probably guess from that fact that she loves it.

As is usually the case with kids birthdays it was stressful and quite frankly I was glad when it was over. The snow meant that my mum couldn't make it down as they were pretty much snowed in for the weekend in Maidstone, which was disappointing probably more so for me than Beth, but the main thing was that she had a really good day.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Cards Made....

...this year I've opted for a simple cross stitched present design with a little gold bow on top bordered with some frayed handmade paper, simple, modern and full of those beautiful Yule colours of red, green and gold. Another job to cross off the neverending list.

I hope all your preparations for Yule, Christmas and the New Year are going well too.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Calender Complete

Another waiting project done! All 24 advent calender pictures are now finally complete. Who knows, in the future I may add some extra decoration/embroidery or some such to the calender itself (such is the beauty of making something like this to use and alter as you see fit) but for now, I can happily say that 3 years of making is finally over and the advent calender is finished!
Only a couple more lingering jobs left to do before the new year, and I'm quite determined to begin 2010 with no out-standing projects 'hanging over my head'.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Calling All You Arty Types

Having been looking around and following a few new blogs I stumbled across Mother Moon's Message, where I found a button link to a very new site called the Pagan Artist's Network, which I joined. It's a quiet place to meet and socialize in a Pagan artistic community where you can share your work and find like minded souls. Having applied and been accepted as a member I thought I would mention them and hopefully some of you crafty souls might like to join too.
I will be creating my profile soon and hope to see you there as well.
Be sure to let me know if you join and I'll look out for you.
Blessings x

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Fey Altar Refurb!

About time I had a reshuffle of my bedroom altar, you always know when it's time because the energy just doesn't feel right and I for one find I don't want to spend time there. A few days ago I finally bought my Pan statue, as found in a little shop in town, amazing enough considering our town isn't exactly full of stuff. You can just about see him there on the left, next to the oddly phallic plant I bought today for him. The intention was to just get a nice little houseplant but the one he guided me to has a errr... appendage hanging from the middle of the raised trunk bit. Very fitting for him I must say and rather unsurprising that he would want such a representation.

I removed a lot of my small faeries leaving just a couple of different statues, my crystals and cauldron etc and adding a large selenite crystal and ivy plant for the Lady's presence. I do tend to use this altar for my work with Pan and the fey as well as my meditation and journey work but I have a thing about balance in the energies everywhere, especially on my altars. I can't help but have a sense of symmetry both in the look and feel of my spaces.

Anywhoo, just thought I would share it with you all. The more regular use of my oracle cards as one of my goals is going well, so well in fact that my 'bonding' with them has me creating my own divination set. I've been meaning to do this for a while, I've had a couple of items set aside that speak to my psychic senses, hidden away awaiting this project. Having found the rest of my items yesterday and today I'm going to create a drawstring bag and casting cloth for them then give them a go... I already feel well connected and eager to use them, I'll post some pics and a little description of the set when I'm done :)

Another sidenote (I seem to be adding these a lot at the moment): I've actually been onto and updated my myspace page, so if you're on there feel free to add me or leave me a link to your page in my comments and I'll add you xxx

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sculpting on the Full Moon

It cannot have escaped your notice, my witchy friends, that it was the full moon last night but what many of you may not have known is that yesterday was also the festival of the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod, who has recently sort of become my patron Goddess. Now, I have always steered clear of subscribing to a main pantheon, being eclectic and connecting with the deities I have been called to for different works, excepting the Hindu Goddess Kali who guided me through my 'early years' in the craft, but even that was a temporary partnership.

Anywhooo, having finally accepted this calling I decided that last night would be the perfect time to connect with her. I felt the urge to get out the clay and create something and this is what I made. As an artist I'm usually pretty abstract, creating loose and fluid forms relating to the energy I connect with, simple, beautiful and usually naturally curvaceous. All of my work, including my paintings tend to subscribe to this. It is a Goddess representation with a shallow integrated offering bowl at the base, a large inset moonstone and spiral detail above. The only wonder I have now for when it dries fully is whether to paint all or part of it, maybe just the spiral (?), in silver. We shall see.


It is also worth noting that there is a second full moon on the 31st December. It is, of course special enough to work with the power of a blue moon when it comes around, but what a way to ring in the New Year! I hope this is a powerful herald of good things for 2010 after so many of those I know have had such a tumultuous and difficult year. It seems that 2009 has marked the end and new beginnings of many cycles that certainly in my experience have been both unavoidable and 'meant to be'. The Wheel has been turning, milestones have been reached and fate has definitely had a large hand to play in my life and the lives of those around me this year.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Project Complete!

As you may remember, in April I began a project to make my own dress... something that I've never done before, thought would be a challenge and hell, I just wanted to see if I could do it. Well, I finally finished it last night and, if I do say so myself, I'm pretty pleased with the results, especially considering this is a first attempt and has all been hand-stitched as I don't own a sewing machine.

I'm not sure I would do it again.... at least not by hand, but then the fancy will probably take me at some point in the future and I'll end up starting all over again when I've forgotten just how much work it involved, lol.
Blessings x

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Preparing For The 'Festive Season'

I seem to say this all the time but December is a crazy busy time for us, more so this year I think than any other as I have quite a bit of 'me time' too when mum is coming to babysit the kids so I can go out and do non-child related things! It's Beths birthday on the 19th, which is fast approaching and she will be 5 this year! I just can't believe how the time has flown by!

A few days later of course it's Yule, which is when I tend to decorate my house and I make wish stars for the tree which I'll blog about a bit nearer the time :) Then it's Christmas, and this year I have my mum, dad and brother coming over for lunch... it'll be the first Christmas in years that I have actually had dinner with them so I'm really looking forward to it.

The good news is there's plenty to keep me busy so the cold and dark winter days fly by, though I still have a really hard time getting up in the mornings.... I'm not a morning person at the best of times, and when I'm all warm and cozy in bed and it's all dark and cold outside it makes it even harder :( That said, I do actually really like this season and the anticipation of the bursting of new life in spring that comes with every passing day.

So I finally dug out my ongoing project yesterday.... the advent calender. This'll be the third year I have been making it, and I'm determined to have it finished by the end of the month. It has been a mammoth project, particularly seeing as how I haven't had a huge amount of time to spend on it and I really can't abide doing Christmas related activities at any other time of the year:

The first year was taken up making the base, stitching on the green felt pockets and cross stitching the gold numbers too. The second year I began making the pictures for each day:

They are all cross stitched and attatched to a piece of red felt to be pinned over the numbered day as we arrive there. I managed to do all but 8 of them last year so that is my job this year... to do the final 8 pictures for the last few days on the calender. Each picture is completely different and include cartoon animals, carol singers, angels, faeries, santas, reindeer and snowmen stylised the same as the one shown above so they all match each other.

My other preparations so far also include the drying of oranges. I like to make dried orange slices to hang on the tree as sun symbol decorations and they look really pretty when the lights of the tree shine through the slightly transparent dried fruit flesh. I also dried a pile of cut orange peel for use in another seasonal pot pourri or table decoration later on in the month. I'm not sure which yet.
Oooooh, and I weighed myself today.... I've lost 6lb! over 2 weeks, that's 3lb a week which is bang on target and quite surprising seeing as how I haven't been doing the exercise I should be because I've been a feeling a little sqwiffy... so far so good :)

Sealing and Protection Oil

1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
1 tsp salt crystals
3 whole cloves
50 ml carrier oil (such as sweet almond)
Place all the ingredients in a clean jar or container and mix with intent. Leave to infuse in a light, preferably sunny spot for at least nine days. Strain into a clean glass bottle, label and date.
Use this oil to seal around your doors, windows and any passages to the outside from you house such as drains etc once you have cleansed your space.
I like to leave herbs and/or crystals in my readied oils also so I have added the three cloves and a small dried sprig of rosemary to the bottle, but this isn't necessary.