Thursday, 30 April 2009

Beltane Recipes

Beltane Bath Tea:
1 dandelion flower
1 part woodruff
1 part calendula petals
9 forget-me-not flowers
1 part rose
1 part cinquefoil
1 pint boiling water
Leave to infuse until the water goes cold, strain and add to your bath.
_____
Dandelion Biscuits:
I love to use and experiment with the free seasonal natural ingredients I find in my garden and in the wild. My latest offering is this recipe for dandelion biscuits which I made yesterday. They taste quite subtle and are really pretty, for a stronger taste use a stronger dandelion infusion :)

4oz butter
2oz caster sugar
6oz plain flour
2-3 tbsp dandelion petals
dandelion tea infusion
icing sugar and a few petals to decorate
***
Cream together the butter and sugar then mix in the flour and petals. Gently mix in small amounts of the infusion to bind and create a soft dough - do not overmix, the dough should be light and not very compact. Cover and chill for 15-30 mins then gently roll out and cut into shape. Bake on gas mark 6/200*C/400*F for 10 - 15 mins until golden in colour then leave to cool finally dust with icing sugar and a few dandelion petals to decorate.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Beltane Preparations

I don't know why but whenever I intend to go to the garden center, it rains!? Today it rains and I plan to go to the garden center.....it's only round the corner from my house but still, it is never sunny when I go.

The plan is to see if I can buy one of the bird houses I saw a few months ago, which are like more 'open' looking houses so that I can make a faery house for Beltane and the summer faery season. I thought my daughter in particular would love to make her own too as she is obsessed with all things fey.

They have been a part of my life since I was a child and recognized my first 'imaginary friend', an earth spirit who has and still is my most opinionated guide. I always like to honour the little folke at this time of year and thought I would do something a bit different this time. I had the idea for the project in the autumn but knew that it was something meant to be done at this time, so with any luck I will be able to get hold of the wooden birds house that I want so the house can go outside. If not I may have to improvise and build something out of the multitude of match boxes and toilet roll tubes I have lying around awaiting just such a project...we shall see, the only downside to this would be that it would need to stay indoors, but then perhaps it would be pleasing to the little guys that play havoc around and inside my house instead :)

Friday, 24 April 2009

The Secret Glade

When I sit and contemplate
I stumble on a secret glade,
Where two figures wait for me
Surrounded by light and dappled shade.
They stand and greet me, then lead me to sit
Surrounded by peace on grass sun lit.
She touches my shoulder,
He looks down at me with a smile,
Only then do I realize
They support me all the while.
Around the edges of my circle
Collected are my guides
Both old and new are watching
As I find myself again.
I hate to leave this sacred place
But I know that when I must
It will always be there waiting
To give me strength at last.


18/04/08 BB )O(

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Eco-Friend or Foe?

For me, being environmentally conscious has always been a priority, before it was the done thing and before I became outwardly pagan, I believe it is important to look after mother earth in any ways that we possibly can. Unfortunately I feel many people don't want to put in any effort. It is not always easy, but as a mum I want to do my bit for my children, grandchildren and so on, who have to deal with the repurcussions of all our actions towards the Earth.

I recycle and buy recycled materials, I try to grow my own, compost our food waste and buy locally where I can, I use eco-friendly washing up liquid and washing tablets while making my own environmentally friendly cleaners, air-sprays etc. My children have all worn washable nappies and liners and where possible I use water and wash cloths made out of old sheets to clean their bums instead of wet wipes. We don't leave things on standby and neither myself or my husband own a car or drive. I also reuse as much as possible, turning old clothes and objects that may otherwise fill landfill sites into bags, new clothes and works of art, or take them to a charity shop.

Someone once said to me, what's the point? Why bother when so many people don't? I know what they meant, why put in the work when your efforts are only a tiny drop in the ocean of pollution and chaos that we as a race have been subjecting our surroundings to. Why indeed? Because the ocean is made up of tiny drops, each as important as the next. Without the efforts of one, how can anyone else be expected to follow.....at least I know that I can sleep at night without feeling guilty about what I am doing to the planet, which is, in my view, a living spiritual being in itself. I would never stand and abuse another person or animal in any way so why do it to the plants and spirit of where we live for this space in time.

As a race we seem are taught that we own the earth, that it is ours to do with as we please, it is not. We have come to grow and flourish here in a way that has become detrimental to the very life force that allows us to be here, that sustains us and we must not lose sight of our place within the universe, as equals to all other living things.

There is a view expressed in the animated film 'Bee Movie' that I find most fitting for this topic. That is what makes our life any more valuable than any other life? Who is to say what other life is capable of feeling? I think this can be applied to not only animals, insects, fish and reptiles etc. but also to plants and stones, soil and sea, which all beat with the same heart and energy of the universe that we do. So let's try to keep it as healthy as possible, giving ourselves roles as a valuable part of it's environment instead of trying to suck it dry like parasites.

Topic inspired by:

23/04/09 post - "Earth Day"

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The Latest

First off here are some front and back pictures of the bag I made a few weeks ago. The dungarees didn't fit me around the top any more, though the bottom part did so I separated the two so I could wear the trousers separately and used the top to create this bag. The front has tons of small pockets that I use all the time, while the bag itself has two large compartments.

The purple band at the bottom is the bottom of the largest compartment and (when not laid flat as in this pic) can't really be seen. I also added a pink, purple, black and silver handmade bag charm to one of the buckles.

Let's just say I hate waste, if I can find a new use for something then I would much rather do that then throw it away.

As for my dress.....here's the latest:
Last night I added to the sleeves, lenthening them and pronouncing the drape in them:


I also sewed the new panels onto the dress sleeves ready to add new taffeta panels and trim to the rest of the dress, which I think will be the most difficult part of the whole process.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Just call me crazy :)

You may well just call me that when I say that, after much searching and a considerable lack of money I have decided to do something that I have never done before....make a dress, I ordered some lovely olive green cotton with a slight stretch to it and some olive green silk taffeta (which has yet to be delivered). Here are some pics of my progress so far:

The drawn lines you can see are chalk. I'm making a simple tunic that I will add the silk taffeta to to create an empire line underneath the bust and jazz up the sleeves and hems.
Hopefully this will help to disguise my slightly dodgy stitching, as I don't own a sewing machine.


Have neatened up the bottom of the dress as the material was cut off the roll slightly uneven as you can see in the picture above.

The sleeves are currently a little short and will need to be lengthened with some of the extra material, but as you can see it has it's basic shape.....so far so good!

Maybe I'm not that crazy after all!? :)
Who knows, if it goes well I may even invest in a sewing machine as I do customize a lot of my clothes by hand already, which reminds me, I will post some pics of a bag I made a few weeks ago out of an old pair of dungarees and a dress soon.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

More Spring Pictures

The first and only tulip we have in our garden, we seem to get a surprise of different flowers coming through every year throughout spring and summer. This grew up this year in a 'wild patch' of our garden.
Daisies.....because I love them, such an overlooked springtime beauty :)



These two pics are from Easter weekend, when we went for a walk to the beach and coastal park. It was lovely and sunny and I even managed to take a sketch book and do some drawing and painting while we were out.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

"Seed Pod"

This is my favourite drawing, an abstract charcoal interpretation of a seed pod, which never fails to inspire me even though it is years old. I'm not sure why but there's just something about it that is very satisfying to me. The two bottom pictures are of a sculptural interpretation of the drawing made from wire, lily leaves and thread, though really what I want to do is a painting and/or a mixed media working.



Charcoal Drawings




A few of my large charcoal drawings that I hope to use soon for a few new paintings.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Finally Able to Continue...

After having such a rough second pregnancy last year, and as a result a rather unproductive time I am glad to say that things are really begining to pick up now. It's amazing how finding myself more spiritually again impacts on my creativity and motivation.
Last year I set out on the journey of making my own runes stones, something which I found incredibly enlightening and special. After months of work and effort I just didn't have the will to use them until now. As you can see from the pictures below it was both a lot of work but very rewarding:

(above) made from a fallen hawthorn branch that I found between three Hawthorn trees on an excursion with the intention to find wood for the runes, this is how they looked once they had been cut and lightly sanded. At first I was disappointed that the darker bark had chipped away so I sanded the edges and am now far more pleased with them as they have taken on an aged quality.

(above) my intention had been to paint the symbols on in red once they had been carved but my gut told me to use ink. Obviously the ink soaked into the wood just on the one side (the underside is still the woods natural colour), they in fact throughout the making seemed to have a mind of their own as far as what they wanted to look like was concerned. I then used black acryllic paint to colour the carved symbols. They are photographed on a natural linen rune cloth that I made for castings.

(above) finally I made a pouch to keep them in out of the same linen as the cloth with red pull strings decorated with beads and little mushroom charms.

I figured that the best way to get used to them is to start using them, picking one a day and meditating on it's symbol and meaning, so that's what I have started doing, handling them and using them.

Since I started this a couple of days ago I have been eager to start painting again, I have had so many ideas it is unreal and I just can't wait to get my equipment back to the house (it's in a makeshift studio at the mo, which is completely unpractical to use now with a baby in tow) so that I can start painting again. My paintings are always very intuitive and come from my spirit, they represent what my soul wants to convey at the time and I am thoroughly looking forward to really allowing it to say what it wants to the world.

Some Work From Last Autumn

Though pictured as braided charms the window hangings I later changed to knotted charms, making them more sturdy, substantial and magickal as with each intentional knot I could meditate on the meaning of the charm.
Beaded and braided window hanging universal energy charm, with a handmade pentacle and quartz at the end.

A second variation on the above window hanging charm.

A water element window hanging charm, with blue, aqua and white threads, matching beads and dolphin charms

Orange and black beaded necklace and bracelet made at and inspired by Samhain.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Dragonfly...

This was a visitor that we had to our garden last year. He perched long enough for us to take these beautiful photos before moving on, having found the photo files just today I thought I would share xx

Spring Pictures

A few photos taken from our house and garden yesterday late afternoon when the moon had risen and was moving directly over our house.