Monday, 31 August 2009

Push the Button


Here it is, my very first blog button for anyone who would like to advertise my site, with, of course, my full gratitude. There are two people I need to thank for this, the first is Magaly Guerrero over at Pagan Culture for posting about getting her first one and urging me into action and the second is to Jenieshell for her easy step by step instructions on creating a button and scroll box for the code (as showcased to the right).

I thought I would add a quick rundown on how to add my button (or any button for that matter) to your blog for anyone who doesn't know how, don't worry, it's very, very simple:

1. Go to the right hand side of my blog and locate the Pumpkins and Toadstools Blog Button.
2. Under here is a scroll box full of HTML code. Copy the full code.
3. Go to your blog layout page
4. Select Add Gadget
5. Select HTML/Javascript
6. Paste the code into the big box and save

Voila.....the button will now appear on your blog and you can change it's position by drag and dropping it in the layout section of your blog just like any other gadget.

A big thanks in advance to anyone who adds my button, blessings x

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Dress Progress

So far so good, as you can see the sleeves and hem have been done and it fits, leaving me to add silk to the neckline and to make a silk 'belt' to match which will be attatched just under the bust line.

Wuthering Heights.

This is one for all you period drama lovers out there. On e of my favourite's is Wuthering Heights, such a powerful and passionate story. Well ITV1 have made a new adaptaion, it's in two parts starting tonight at 9pm and continuing tomorrow. I would have said earlier but it was only by chance that I saw it advertised earlier...I don't tend to watch much TV :)

Click here to go to the official ITV info, pictures etc.

And just because I was then in the mood to find some Wuthering Heights related stuff and listen to Kate Bush's fantastic song I found this on youtube - enjoy :)

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Cross Stitching

As I may or may not have mentioned before I am, at times, an avid cross stitcher, opting for fantasy and nature based kits that speak to my magickal side. A lot of my card designs have also been cross stitch ones. I find it an incredibly relaxing pastime, like a complicated puzzle that is just so rewarding when it's finished. I'll get some pics of my flower fairy projects up soon. First I wanted to share this lovely kit, that I completed a couple of years ago, with you.

It was actually a competition prize - I don't usually enter magazine competitions etc, my psychic sense usually tells me when I'm going to win so I wait until then. The same thing is true of the lottery with me, when I feel that pull to play my numbers 9 times out of 10 I will win (only £10 mind you, but it's better than losing). Anyways, to cut a long story short I entered the giveaway for this beautiful celtic stag kit which came to my attention at a time when I was really working hard to reconnect with the male energies of the gods.

I managed to find where the kit came from too, it's designed by Sammy Brewer at Keridwen Crafts whose site is full of fantastic celtic designs for the cross stitching fan.

Blessings x

Friday, 28 August 2009

Back On The Road To Self-discovery

Well, as you can see it's tomato central over here at the moment. This is the third box picked over the last couple of weeks and there are still tons more on the plants. I'm not entirely certain what I'm going to do with all these little guys but I'm sure I'll think of something soon.

We are finally approaching my favourite season :) Autumn, a time of harvest and sustenance, colour and the herald of a slower pace. As the nights draw in and get cooler, what is better than cuddling under a blanket eating roasted chestnuts and drinking a lovely warming brew? Not a lot I would wager.

There is another reason why I love Autumn, it has always stood for me as a time of begining, like spring, only focusing on inward beginings. I find I have a great deal of motivation at this time to work introspectively, learning and discovering about myself and taking up a new skill/craft/path of learning or just coming back to something I haven't done in a while. I usually work a great deal in my BOS during these months and find that receiving knowledge, in all it's forms, is high on my list of priorities.

The new beginings have already taken effect in my life at the moment, and I have learnt much about myself in the last week alone. Writing fiction with others through roleplay has become a part of my life that I thought I had lost a long time ago, but now I have found it again; another little piece of the 'Michel' jigsaw, slotting firmly into place. It's quite amazing how much of myself I have lost track of without even realising it, particularly since having my kids, who wholeheartedly have taken absolute priority in my life.

*raises glass*
So here's to the journey of self-discovery, the journey of life.
*sips drink happily*

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Faeries and Candles

I decided it was about time that I posted a picture of my faery altar, which I have finally gotten round to revamping, as it has, rather ashamedly, been a little neglected recently. It is the peaceful space I have in my bedroom by the window (hence the darker area towards the rear) where I meditate, pray and contact both the fey and my personal guides and angels as well as my higher self. I have all my travel items on here as well as many different small fey figures. The faery chest of draws on the right and the faery glitter globe were presents from my two grandmothers many years ago. The tiara, I wore on my wedding day. I picked it because it is unstructured, wild and fun just like the fey and with it is a purple candle that a friend made for me about 8 or 9 years ago. The wooden spiral which you can just see behing the cauldron of herbs was also a gift for our wedding. I have a few crystals, shells, stones etc on here too as well as a mini ivy wand in a wand bag next to the mini besom on the right. Then on the left are my Faery Oracle cards, which I absolutely love, and a notebook for jotting down the things I am told here.

I have always had a space in my house to respect the fey, but until relatively recently this wasn't an altar as such where I would sit for meditating etc. I have always felt very connected to nature spirits and this has given me a good way to really remain so, even when I can't get out for one reason or another. The fey also bring out the child in me, inspiring me to sing and dance and create, which often means I cross stitch flower faeries from kits or things that remind me of them. I'll try to remember to take some pics of the kits I've finished already over the years.

I also wanted to pop in a picture of the banishing candle I made the other day, as close to black as I could make it, which I think I did quite well considering I didn't have any black colouring to use. I'm thinking about making more of these little spell candles to sell, both plain like the one above and including herbs and crystals into the mix for specific purposes. We shall see....

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Domestic Witch Blog Award


Many thanks to Rue and Hyssop for giving me the above Domestic Witch Blog Award, originally from Domestic Witch both of who write fantastic witchy blogs that I highly recommend :)

I will soon be announcing who I pass the award onto but first if you are one of the lucky recipients of The Domestic Witch Blog Award please:

Pass the award on to 3 blogs about Domestic Witchery that you really enjoy.
Include the award in your blog post.
Link the nominees within your post.
Don't forget to mention the person who gave you the award.
Let your chosen winners know that they received The Domestic Witch Blog Award by commenting on their blog.

I have tried to pick blogs that are less well known or new to my list of ones that I follow, really enjoy and find interesting, so congrats to:

Herbcroft Cottage

Crafty's Cuppa Coffee

Esoteria

Hope you will all check out these fab blogs if you don't know them already. Thanks again to Rue, Domestic Witch and everyone who reads and comments on my blog :)

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Butterfly

As you can't escaped to have noticed, if you read this blog regularly, I have been having a very tough time of things at the moment, instead of getting better things have been progressing worse and worse. Negative energy seems to be swirling around me at a chaotic rate bringing bad luck and just generally bad things. Every time I think things are on the up they come crashing down again. As well as having some rather difficult personal issues to contend with, swine flu, the loss of loads of items as well as things being stolen, lying in my life, distrust and depression I also burnt myself really badly this week on the arm, and then yesterday I found that my bank account was under 'attack' too from fraud. Having got to a point of total loneliness and tears last night I decided that it was time to call out the big guns and bigger take action.

My first step today,which is what I wanted to share with you all, was to clean and rearrange my fey altar in my bedroom, where I sat and prayed long and hard for the strength, courage and peace that I so desperately need at the moment. I felt my guides and angels around me, all together, touching my heart and soul and immediately felt a bit lighter and happier in myself. I proceeded then to take an offering of some of the herbs from the altar out to the garden to scatter them below the tree there, where I feel a strong fey presence, and to give thanks for them listening. I turned to head back into the house then and was surrounded by five or six butterflies. The small ones flew away but the largest one, a gateway butterfly kept hovering around me. I lifted my hand and it rested on my palm and I nearly cried from the transfer of peace and energy that it gave me.

It was an answer to my prayers, a freely given sign that I have the help and assistance of the universal divine power in all it's forms, a real blessing which has given me peace, clarity and confidence in myself. I wanted to share this with you all to remind us all that, although we may not feel it at times, we are never alone and by asking for support from the universe we are given a simple, beautiful, personal sign. A reminder that we are a part of the whole, that good times follow bad and that without one we cannot have the other. Blessings x

Monday, 3 August 2009

Spiritual Expression

I have always in my heart and soul been an artist, wanted to be an artist and have found peace from all creative pursuits, whether it be painting, sculpting, crafting, cross stitching, writing...anything goes. My beliefs and personal view of the world and vibrant energy around me inspires me to create.

Of course I, like anyone else, have moments of spiritual stand still. It's hard to describe as it's not a loss of belief but more like a hardening of the soul, where I feel stuck in a rut and find it difficult to see the divine and beauty and energy in life. This often becomes depression in me, which is difficult to deal with anyway without the seeming chasm between me and my soul. This always results in a creative stand still. Not only do I not feel motivated to create, but I don't hear my inner voice, my imagination becomes void and there is a big concrete wall up separating my day to day conscious self and my soul. It's a horrible feeling as allowing my creativity to take over and doing the things I love artistically brings me peace and perspective, so what can I do when that route is no longer open to me? I find myself looking for guidance, meditating and trying to bring down that concrete barrier over time only once it has been successfully removed can I return to some semblance of creative normality.

My spirituality is directly linked to my creativity, without one the other suffers, but when I'm balanced they both soar. It is obvious too in my work. Things that I create when I am spiritually aware have an 'aura of magick' about them, they draw people in and bring happiness. As a hedgewitch over the years I have learnt a lot and worked hard to exercise my psychic powers as an intrinsic part of my spiritual path, I have found that being psychic also comes from the imagination and creativity. They are one in the same, taking imagination to give voice to both my soul and my guides, and confidence and belief in my spiritual path to fully acknowledge and accept what I am being told. There are two things that therefore, I am absolutely sure of:

Imagination is the voice of the soul and creativity is pure spiritual expression.


Topic inspired by

30/07/2009 post - Creativity

Lughnasadh


We had a pretty good Lughnasdh, mellow and relaxing. When I say we, I mean me and the kids... Matt was out working at the HEVY music festival on Folkestone seafront, so it was just us for the day. Having decorated my altar, rather simply on the Friday evening - I didn't really feel like going too elaborate, nor did I change much as I try to keep on the area crystals and objects that relate to the seasons anyway - we spent the day baking and gardening.

I did add a huge bowl of harvest veg, stuff from both my garden and my Grandad's allotment, which as I mentioned before has been winging it's way to me every week when my mum comes to visit. I also baked some 'Sun Rolls',, I wasn't sure how they would turn out as I hadn't used this recipe before....I have a tendancy to tweek and experiment in the kitchen, sometimes with rather dubious consequences, though I was pleasantly surprised as they looked and tasted pretty good:

The recipe I used was a pretty basic bread recipe for granary bread, though I shaped the dough into spiral rolls instead of a loaf and added a little sugar to the mix and sunflower seeds on top before baking:
1lb 2oz granary bread flour
1oz butter
2 tsp light muscovado sugar (optional)
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp fast action dried yeat
9 fl oz warm water
sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top before baking for about 30 mins (until hollow sounding) on gas mark 8. I left it for about 2 hours to proof after kneading it.
Then I decided to make a beetroot coleslaw to go with them seeing as how I had so many beetroots I didn't know what to do with them. Now this recipe I completely made up on the spur of the moment. You could say it was pretty experimental though it was actually quite tasty, but not for the faint hearted or beetroot hater as the earthy flavour of the purple veg is pretty strong. My fingers did, however, turn a lovely shade of pinky/purple because I had to hand grate the beetroot, lol:
1 medium - large beetroot (grated)
4 small carrots (grated)
2 small apples (grated)
3 small / 1 large spring onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp oil (I used walnut oil as it was all I had)
All in all it was a good day, I hope you all had a happy and blessed first harvest too x

Ivy Circlet

As promised I have a picture of the circlet I made the other night, one of the first things I've been really intent on making for a while, the first of many though I might add. It's made of craft ivy, wire, white craft roses and seed beads, which although not massively obvious, look really pretty when they catch the light. Modelled here by Beth, who has been trying to claim it as her very own fairy crown, it isn't a full circle so it fits adults and children really nicely and considering I haven't made anything like this before I think it's turned out really well.

Despite the fact that I still haven't had my painting stuff back I am anxious to get started again. I want to paint an abstract 'portrait' of my fey guide (I did paint a rather poor picture of one of his forms a while ago), but the other day I realized that I really wanted to try to capture his energy, rather than the form he takes around me. I'm getting so desperate to start this up that I will probably have to compromise and become a little more inventive to do this. I have got some acryllics I could use, though I infinitely prefer to use oils, and I acquired some thick rectangular whicker panels that I could probably make use of instead of my canvases. Hmmmm, it could work, with a bit of surface preparation, and the texture of the panels would certainly be interesting to work with.....

Gardening Update

It seems like such a long time ago that I planted these seeds to grow cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce leaves. While the varied array of the latter have pretty much come to an end now the cucumber and tomato plants are really coming on and I have, for the last week or so, finally been at a point where I'm starting to harvest them. The cucumbers especially are growing at a tremendous rate and I'm picking them every couple of days at the moment. I will most definitely have to start looking up some new cucumber recipes, else I'm never going to get through them all. If you know of any good ones please do share.

(above) The cucumber plants are on the left, the tomato plants are on the right.




I'm growing two types of tomatoes, a regular variety of cherry tomatoes and then the ones above which are called 'Sun Gold', they turn this beautiful orangey colour when they are ready and are the sweetest tomatoes I've ever had, really delicious. I owe my Grandad for giving me the two plants that I'm currently growing :)