Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This morning I wanted to share some of my favorite images from Halloweens past and tonight I will post a few pictures from this year's celebration








Have a lovely Samhain, Halloween or All Hallow's Eve.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Art

With Halloween almost here I wanted to post pictures of some of my favorite Halloween themed pieces that I have created over the years. As you can see I love to work with all sorts of materials. I like to incorporate fabric, metal, clay and paper into my art, sometimes in a single piece and sometimes not.

Party Hats

I did this painting this year for the 2011 Witches Tea Party hosted by Frosted Petunias. The painting is acrylic on canvas with an added plastic spider sitting on a bed of feathers. That little detail is a bit hard to see in the picture. The candles are not part of the painting, they were in front of it when I took this picture.


This sweet pumpkin head doll was created our of clay and fabric during a sculpting retreat I attended with guest artist Patricia Hedegaard.

On the Web

This is a pendant I created several years ago using a domino as the base. I love using ink, rubber stamps and metal together.

Ezzy and Grim

Here are two of my girls, Ezzy is the dark haired witch. She was made from fabric and has needle sculpted and hand painted features while Grim is the poseable ginger haired witch made of fabric and clay. I love creating dolls of all types. I made my first doll when I was about 5. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was very young.

Tarot and Spell Journals

Finally here are the covers of a couple of my journals.  I use a lot of journals for many different things and it makes it very special when they are designed for a specific purpose.
I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into my world. I'll post more of my art occasionally.

Get Off Your Broomstick - Week 4 Update

I posted earlier that I had a BAD week. After the Las Vegas trip I thought I would be fine with everything else... not so. Fortunately I did manage to only gain 2 pounds so I consider that a victory. If you read this post you'll see that I was up a bit more than 2 pounds earlier this week and I was not happy about it.

Alas, it is a new week. I have already exercised, I am back on track with my healthy eating AND with the mini challenge in mind from last week I have crafted a set of two spells to aid me in my journey. One, to be done during the waning moon is a simple banishing spell, my intent is to banish my mindless eating and the extra weight I am carrying around. The 2nd is to be done during the waxing moon and is to help me with willpower and determination. I will report back on these next month and if they helped me I will share them.

The other mini challenge was interesting. I eat a pretty healthy diet. I love fruits and vegetables, I don't eat a lot of meat and overall I like healthy foods. My downfall is that most of the social things I do involve food. We do potlucks at work, several times a week I have lunches out with friends and coworkers, at least once a week I have dinner out with my hubby, of course then we have the birthday celebrations at home and work... you see what I mean. Now I know I can enjoy all of these without gaining weight and after the pain I was in earlier this week I will be much more aware of what I am eating at these frequent festivities.

One of the reasons I like Weight Watchers is that it is not a diet but a lifestyle and it looks at food in a realistic way. Balance is key. I can enjoy a nice meal out, a glass or two of wine and even dessert. I just have to watch my portions and make sure my diet is including lots of water, fruits and veggies. With me it always comes back to balance.

Something I noticed this week, when my diet is out of control and I am not thinking about what I am eating not only do I not lose weight, I usually feel, well, icky. I am less productive, less creative and just cranky. I am looking forward to a healthy, successful, creative week!

For this week I will be working on exercising 5 times and drinking plenty of water. I eat lots of fruits and veggies already so I will at least meet one of the mini challenges.

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Join Me for Tea...

Welcome, please won’t you join me for some tea? As this is my first ever Witches Tea Party please forgive me if I forget something! Thank you Anna at Frosted Petunias for hosting this magical affair.
If you will step into my parlor the party can begin…

The tea is brewed

The candles are lit...

The table is set...

Shall we sit a spell and chat or shall we sit and chat about spells? Either works for me, it is so nice to share this evening with you.

I painted this picture especially for tonight. I love a good, festive party hat, don’t you?
This week has been one of amazing experiences and memories. Thursday, as I was thinking about the Halloween celebrations we had when I was a child I got a whiff of my grandmother’s perfume. It was such an amazing gift!

Tucked in amongst the candles and treats is a picture of my grandmother (She is on the right). She would have loved this party. She was an amazing woman and helped raise me after my parents divorced. This party is a tribute to her.  As you sip your tea, think fondly of the amazing people in your life, those who have passed on and those who are still with you! This is my favorite time of year, I feel so much closer to those who have already passed on as the veil thins.

We have several types of tea tonight: peppermint, green, Chai and then a few more magical brews that I am sure you’ll enjoy. As you can see we also have some “finger” foods as well as some more traditional snacks. I do love good finger food.

Prince Fang decided to join us tonight and it looks like he brought a friend. This is quite a treat as he doesn’t venture out too much if there are people around.  He won’t bite… I promise!

I hope you’ve enjoyed your time with me.  Have fun at your next stop. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Be sure to visit Frosted Petunias for directions to more of this weekend's festivities.


A Bittersweet Day in our House

Early this morning our kitty Mitten passed over to the next realm. She has been part of our family for the past 16 years and we will miss her dearly! I know when she arrived at her next stop she was welcomed by my grandmother with open arms and is now playing with her sister-cat Bunny (don't ask - she was my husband's).

Mitten owned my 22 year old son for all of her life. He has had the privilege of caring for her since she was a wee kitten of just 6 weeks of age and since the day he came home from 1st grade and found her waiting for him in his room he has carried her around on his shoulder where ever he went. We would often go in and find him sitting at his computer playing video games with her atop his computer monitor. She loved being with him and his friends and those big brawny boys loved her too.

You may be wondering why I said it was a bittersweet day instead of just a sad day. Well, Miss Mitten's health has been declining and over the past two days she has appeared to be in pain. While we are very sad at her passing, we are glad she is no longer in pain and I am personally glad that she was able to pass peacefully on at home.

Fare thee well Miss Mitten, you will be missed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh my... what a week!

This week I had really planned to eat healthy. That sooo did NOT happen :( Between the wine (ok, I don't know if I can count the wine), my wonderful son's 22nd birthday party, the potluck Halloween party at work and then a couple of lunches out... I am pretty sure I gained about 5 pounds! IN ONE WEEK! I refuse to get on the scale today, just not happening! No way, no how!

I do know that I gained weight, even without getting on the scale since both my left hip and my back hurt. I joke with my hubby that I am (well I was last week anyway) at my maximum weight capacity because if I gain more than 2 pounds I start to hurt and I hurt right now. Ick! I know I will lose it but dang it, we leave for a cruise to the Caribbean the day after Thanksgiving and I would rather lose weight than have to re-lose weight, if ya know what I mean!

Ok, my itty bitty pity party is over! I am back on track and have my workout plan for tomorrow. I think it is time to get off the Yo-Yo plan and start on the weight loss plan!

Thanks for letting me whine!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back from Vegas- Get Off Your Broom Week 3 Update

Las Vegas was fantastic and I am happy to report that I maintained my weight. This is a huge accomplishment for me. I was away from home for 5 days, 2 of which I spent with one of my best friends and we DID Las Vegas. I had so much fun and managed to not only NOT have a hangover but I exercised 3 times this past week. I worked out with a routine that I could do in my hotel room, my friend, her husband and I hiked in Red Rock Canyon (so beautiful!) and then we walked the Las Vegas strip... till 4am (It counts).  We also hit a strip club for a friend's Bachelor party and had some fantastic margaritas as we did the whole Las Vegas touristy thing. It was great!

Check it out...

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon - from the trail

Me getting ready to hit the strip with Friends

That shirt was way out of my comfort zone but I wore it and I felt pretty good in it. This week was fabulous on lots of levels. My work presentations were very productive, I ate healthy, got in some great exercise and I got to spend time with my friends.

This coming week I will be really watching what I eat. I think I eat a fairly healthy diet and will be journaling what I eat again, that is one of the keys for me to be successful and also one of the important pieces of the Weight Watchers Program that I have been skipping. I want to eat much more whole foods and a lot fewer processed foods. I also plan to step up my exercise routine. I joined a fitness challenge with work and plan to walk 20 miles per week for the next 3 months!

I don't have to go back to Las Vegas until December so hopefully things will calm down a bit!!

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tea Party Sneak Peek

I am so excited about the Witch's Tea Party weekend - October 29th & 30th. I have already started getting my parlor ready for the festivities and thought I would give you a glimpse of my current favorite room in the house

The magnificient teapot

I love this copper tea pot. It was made in England and has the heating coil built into the bottom. Perfect for a magical celebration. It has charm and history and I am sure will delivere a fine cup of tea.

Fun, decorative goodness!

Be sure to check back during the weekend of the 29th & 30th for lots more Tea Party fun!

Get Off Your Broom Week 2 - Check In

MM all,

Last week was stressful and hectic. Fortunately none of the stress was related to bad things, I am just trying to get caught up at work after moving our offices and since I leave on Tuesday to do several presentations FOR WORK, I have been playing catch up with my regular responsibilities and preparing for presentations and to top it off I taught a class(I teach classes on art stamping and paper crafts - I sell rubber stamp products as a hobby), took a class (I am taking a jewelry making class this semester), and my hubby was out of town. Whew!

The mini challenge topic about Stress Eating was responsible for me not going completely over the edge with my eating. Most of the time when I was just reaching mindlessly for food I caught myself and stopped, not all the time but quite a few of them.

Of course since my husband and I went out to dinner on Friday I showed a gain at my official Saturday Weight Watchers weigh in, up 1.8 to 168.2 -, this morning I weighed myself again and I am back down to 167, even after the heavy dinner I had last night so I am really only up by less than a half a pound- that is something I am actually pretty happy with. Usually with an over-the-top week like the one I just had I am up about 2 pounds minimum and it takes me all week to get back down, this time I was up the weight of my dinner!

I did not exercise, normally when I don't exercise it is because I am being lazy :) This time I was running from about 5 am till about 11:30 pm each night and I NEED to sleep or I become irritating! SO I choose to not feel guilty about it, I did drink lots of water and ate fairly healthy with lots of fruits and veggies as snacks.

This week I will be in the lovely city of Las Vegas providing presentations for work. The hotel I stay in has a fitness center and this trip I plan to utilize it. I will be checking in on Sunday again next week since I don't get home until late Saturday. So my plan for the week is to maintain my healthy eating, get in 3 days of exercise and drink lots of water.

When I get back from my business trip I am going to slowly wean myself off of Diet Coke - I love that stuff but the caffeine and chemicals are counterproductive to my goals so it must go.

The mini challenges this week should be fun - I have already taken my measurements so tracking them has begun and investigating craving just sounds interesting.

Have a wonderful week...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Full Moon Plans - Interrupted?

This week I really didn't have too much planned for the full moon. Because of the hectic pace and extra stress of my life lately I thought I would sit on my deck, watch the moon rise, enjoy some solitude, a fairly decent Merlot and just recharge my personal battery.

That was the plan. So, I poured myself some wine and walked out to the deck where I realized that the trees behind the deck blocked my view of the rising moon. Ok, change of plans, I decided to sit on the steps right out my back door since they had a lovely view of the moon. Of course when I sit on those steps not only can my dogs see me but so can anyone in the house. That night it was my youngest son - age 14.

My reality - I sat on the back steps with my son (who was playing Angry Birds on his phone) and tossed a tennis ball under the rising moon for one of the dogs while the other dog ran in circles. It wasn't what I planned but it was still really nice. THEN after the dog was tired and my son was ready to head inside I decided to do this...

I filled the tub with rich, lavender scented bubbles and from the window over my tub I watched the moon as she rose. Perfect view, perfect evening! It wasn't what I originally planned but it sure worked out just right!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Just a silly thing my husband sent me today...

My husband is super supportive of my witchy beliefs and occasionally he will send me silly things he finds that he thinks I will appreciate, today he made my day with this fun picture...

Yeah baby, I can sooo drive a stick!

Have a lovely evening

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week one...

Hi everyone,

After one week on the "Get Off Your Broom" fitness challenge I am down 1.4 pounds to 166.4! Yippee! That makes me very happy. Now to keep it up! So far I have been eating more fruits and vegetables and really watching my processed foods intake. I love the Weight Watchers program because I can have treats, apple cider doughnuts for instance, and still lose weight. My main goal is to be healthy but I feel so much better about myself when I weigh less than I do now.

This week I will be adding formal exercise in the form of Yoga, walking on the treadmill and basic weight training that I will be doing at home using the books "The New Rules of Lifting for Women" by Lou Schuler and Cassandra Forsyth and "Strength Training for Women" by Joan Pagano. Both of these books came highly recommended by other women on the Weight Watchers message boards. I'll let you know what I think in  a couple of weeks.

So a before picture... this is much harder than I thought it would but here it goes anyway...

Here I am at 167.8 Ouch!

I was not brave enough to put on a bathing suit for this but I will be posting a picture of me in a bathing suit sometime in mid-December since my hubby and I are going to the Caribbean the first week of December. Yet one more reason to "Get off my Broom!"

Good luck to all my fellow challenge participants! We CAN do this!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Countdown to Halloween…

This is my favorite month! I love Autumn, I love the crisp fall air, the changing colors of the leaves, and the plump pumpkins you see on so many porches. I love the colorful pots of mums and the scents of baked apples and bon fires – or fireplaces, either work! I just love this time of year. During this season I feel alive. I have more energy, I get more accomplished and I am in a great mood almost all the time!
This year, as I count down to my favorite holiday, I will be sharing a few of our family traditions.
Every year, my hubby and I head over the hill to Apple Hill located in Camino, California. This area is known for the abundance of produce including apples, pumpkins, gourds and some of the best baked goods you will ever eat! We enjoy the lovely scenery, the decadent pies and the festive atmosphere that this area is famous for.
This year we were there on a beautiful, sunny day. The temperature was perfect, the sky was full of puffy white clouds and traffic wasn’t too terribly bad. All in all it was a lovely day.

These pictures are from Rainbow Orchards. I’ll be framing one of them for my office. Rainbow Orchards has the best Apple Cider Doughnuts I have ever tasted! If you go, make sure you get a least a dozen of them and if you are driving more than 15 minutes and want those doughnuts to make it home be sure to put them in the trunk!!

This picture is from another stop on our tour of the orchards. I am sad to say that I forgot their name but they made some really tasty pie… just saying!
I did visit this amazing place before I officially started the "Get off theBroom" fitness challenge but I didn't eat my way through the orchards. I had a couple of doughnuts, a piece of pie and some really delish apples. You can visit Apple hill and eat healthy, really, it can be done!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Get Off Your Broom Fitness Challenge - Day 1

So I did it, I signed up for the fitness challenge.

To date I have:

Taken a before picture. Not sure if I will post that or not but I do have it. maybe I'll post part of it- ahhhh, decisions, decisions.

I have weighed in - I am currently a Weight Watchers member so I know that tragic little detail-and I believe that I have a plan and it is a good one - Follow the Weight Watchers plan - OK 'nuf said

I will take my measurements later on tonight - yikes, I've done it before but I will do it again and if I am feeling brave or if I decide to post AFTER a glass of Merlot then I'll post them here for all to see - accountability is the key :)

I will share this... my current weight is 167.8 - ouch! However painful that number is to me right now, I started out my weight loss journey 5 years ago and 35 pounds heavier. My goal with this challenge is to lose between 10 and 15 pounds, add regular exercise into my week and cook at home at least 4 days a week,

So, after I take my measurements all three of my steps for this weeks mini challenge will be completed. I am leaving for a dinner meeting in about 1/2 hour. I am planning to eat a small portion of what ever is being served and then tomorrow I'll start adding exercise to my week.

Thanks for stopping by, I promise, this space will be much more visually pleasing in the weeks ahead, I just had to jump in so I could be a part of this fabulous challenge.


Welcome to Beneath the Witch's Moon

Merry Meet all,

With another Samhain almost upon me I felt it necessary to finally start blogging about the Craft and my love for all things Witchy.

Let me introduce myself, my name is AutumnWind and I am a solitary witch. I have been following a magical path for as long as I can remember and until very recently I have been firmly entrenched in the broom closet. *Gasp* I know, right.

Due to major upheavals, traumatic events, my own attitude changes (take your pick) in my life over the past 18 months, my life in the broom closet is slowly coming to an end. I think part of that change has to do with the fact that I have surrounded myself with like minded people, or at least people who like me regardless of whether we share the same spiritual beliefs or not. I have surrounded myself with people who I respect as individuals and who respect me and I have slowly been discussing my traditions with some of the non-magical people in my life. Just a bit,mind you, I have no intention of flaunting my beliefs. I don't follow this path to amaze and amuse my friends.

I've decided to blog my journey so that I can become part of the larger witchy community. Being a solitary practitioner gets lonely at times. I am a social person and I really enjoy the rituals and celebrations that are part of my life. I want to celebrate with other like minded witches and plan to become much more active online. 

I am also an artist and want to share the things I create with people who will understand their intent. I like to play and create and have fun.

This, my very first post, is also an announcement that I plan to join "The Domestic Pagan's" Get off your Broom fitness challenge which begins October 1 and runs through December 31. I'll be blogging about my fitness journey here as well.

So Merry Meet my new friends, I look forward to meeting you. Look for me on Facebook - Autumnwind Reno.

Merry we Meet
Merry we Part
Merry we Meet again...