Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions? Goals? How about Priorities?

As the calendar year comes to an end I am definitely one of those people who make resolutions, sort of. I call them priorities. Here is the list of priorities that I have been working on since 2011. These are things that are important to me so I am going to continue to work on them in 2014:
  • Purge - art supplies that I no longer use, clothing that no longer fits, kitchen items that I have lots of.... I have been working on this a lot this year and it feels GREAT!
  • Spend time with my family and friends - Time is the one commodity that we NEVER get back! This year I spent a lot of really good times with the people I love. It’s been great! I plan on making more time for friends and family in 2014.
  • Live healthier. This past year I incorporated "green cleaning", regular exercise and a healthier diet and I am ending the year almost 10 pounds lighter than I started it and that is after the holidays!
  • Journal - this has been an important part of regaining my creativity! Journaling helps me to see what matters to me, what is bothering me and what is going on in my head and it is so much cheaper than therapy.
  • Explore - the museum, the river, the city I live in... just explore. I love to explore things. This year I want to do more of it. Over the past year I have taken a group of photos that I call "Hidden Decay". These are buildings I have seen or stumbled upon during my adventures that have screamed for a voice. They are neglected, abandoned or incomplete and truly haunting! I will be sharing some of those pictures later this year.  The only reason I found them is because I started to explore!
  • Create - whatever strikes me whether it is sculpted, embroidered, sewn, written, photographed or baked. 
  • Imagine - imagination is the key to MY creativity, I need to keep it working. Ok, I actually need it to keep living and breathing!
  • Be Frugal - this is a trend that I have already noticed in my life and I like it –  a LOT!
  • Continue to connect with Nature! When I am hiking or rafting or kayaking I feel so in tune with life. Being part of the natural world, away from the noises of civilization is refreshing and definitely recharges my energy! I'll be finding ways to spend more time outside this year.
  • Enjoy more and stress less - need I say more ;0) This is a work in progress. I am getting much better about letting things go that I have no control over and working on the things that are in my control. It has helped my stress levels tremendously though my significant other still calls me a stress stylist at times! 
  • Allow my spiritual side to shine through. I always feel connected to that side of myself now and it is wonderful. What I have found is that I do not need to talk about my spirituality to feel spiritual. Yay!
So this is what I will be working on in 2014. As you can see these are not things with deadlines or ultimatums. They are things that I think will make my life better.

Pagan Blog Project 2014

I just joined the 2014 Pagan Blog Project. I've participated in the previous 2 years but I have never gotten through the entire alphabet. This year I WILL do better than I did in the previous years and I hope to post each week. This has been a very informative project with lots of different viewpoints, experience levels and personalities shining through. I am so glad I am able to be a part of it.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Last Days of 2013

I can not believe that tomorrow is the last day of 2013! I can't say that I am sorry to see this year end as it has been pretty rough on so many people I know. I am spending the last couple of days of the year creating in my studio. I have been testing out some of the cool things I have found on Pinterest and working on a few other projects. It has been a nice way to end the year.

The first project I started today was one I found on Pinterest. It involves changing an old picture frame into a nice chalk board. I scored a great frame at my local Goodwill store and I had a quart of chalkboard paint sitting around the house. I've had that paint for a very long time, way before it became the in thing! So far, with regards to the chalkboard project the hardest thing to find is...chalk!

I'm also working on some ritual kits for my Etsy shop. I hope to have some of them in stock by Jan 1. I am currently working on Ritual kits for Imbolc and Ostara as well as a kit for a House Blessing.

The third project I am working on is a Kitchen Witch for my cousin. Her head is sculpted and baked. Tomorrow I'll be sculpting her hands and feet and painting her face. I am really excited about this project. It is for my lovely cousin who just recently got married. She and I are kindred spirits and both of us had a very special relationship with our grandfather. When he passed away I received a box full of his things from his "shop". My grandfather made fishing lures, not flies, he made lures for deep sea and ocean fishing and they were well known in lower Delaware during the 1970's & 80's! People came from all over the area to buy lures from Big Charlie. Well I inherited his molds, tools, and materials including buck tails, buttons, thread and feathers - who knew fish liked that stuff? Anyway, my cousin has no idea that I have this box full of treasures but I will be incorporating several of the things that belonged to our grandfather into her Kitchen Witch. I will post progress pictures as I have them.

Tomorrow night I'll be celebrating at home with family and friends, drinking champagne, eating chips and dip and playing silly games. I think that will be a great way to ring in the new year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate this day. I hope everyone's day is filled with laughter and love!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Grow Your Blog - A Meet and Greet Blog Party

I just signed up for the Grow Your Blog meet and greet scheduled for January 25th of 2014. This blog party is being hosted by Vicki at 2 Bags Full. It sounds like a great way to explore other blogs and introduce people to mine! I am looking forward to this event. Check back on the 25th for some information about me and the blog as well as a fun give-away!

Blessed Yule and Happy Winter Solstice!

I hope you have a blessed Yule and Happy Winter Solstice, I am thrilled to be welcoming back the sun and look forward to longer days! 

I finally have some time off so I'll be posting more soon (yay!) and I'll be starting the new year off with a re-post of my Witchy Green Cleaning Series with an added post that I missed last year on a home made scouring powder. 

Have a lovely day today and if you celebrate Christmas have a merry Christmas on Wednesday!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Classic Dissed for Promoting Bullying?

Recently my boss shared something she heard on the radio about Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and how it sends the wrong message to children - seriously? She was upset that this individual was ruining the cherished holiday classic. Apparently the commentator was discussing the bullying message Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer depicts.

Well, I guess you can look at it that way if you want to. Does Rudolph get bullied for being different? Certainly. Does this cause him discomfort? Absolutely! Does he let it defeat him - for a little while, yes he does, however, I believe the real message that this show provides is that our differences are what make us who we are and that the opinions of others are not as important as what we think of ourselves.

I believe that most children empathize with Rudolph and ultimately Rudolph not only helps Santa and saves Christmas... he gets the girl! He used his strength - his glowing red nose- to the best of his ability and managed to do what all the other reindeer were unable to do. He was the hero.

How many heroes are there among us that have yet to realize their full potential because they let the opinions of others keep them from using all that they have? Maybe they should re-watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and see that our differences are what makes us strong!

On a more serious note, I wish there was a way to end bullying, at all levels, but I don't see that ever happening. Our community recently made the news when a child opened fire at his middle school, killing a teacher and wounding two students before turning the gun on himself. It was horrific and devastating to the families, the school and to our community. I strongly suspect (based on comments from some individuals I know who are at the school) that bullying was a factor and my heart breaks for not only the teacher who tried to talk the child down (and his family), but for the two children shot as well as for the shooter and his family. Yes I have taken some heat for that but the child who committed this atrocity is just as much a victim as the others. We need to teach our children how to respond to bullies, we need to give all children (also many adults) tools to deal with conflict and we need to not only listen to their words but to their actions. I think Rudolph could be a great conversation starter for this topic.

Just saying...

The Weather Outside is Frightful...and a Fitness Update

This past weekend this is what my front yard looked like. I actually ventured out in this to make sure I got to my Weight Watchers meeting! Why would I shovel the driveway and venture out on the icy roads just to see how much I weigh you ask, well after a very long time I FINALLY broke through my laziness induced plateau and am now less than 15 pounds from my goal. I am under 160 for the first time in years and I really needed to have it recorded LOL

I realized how far I've come over the past two years and how great I feel. I managed to shovel our 3-car garage sized driveway and I barely broke a sweat - nice! I feel great and my clothes are getting looser - finally. It is amazing what happens when I eat right. I don't diet, that is a quick fix for a long term problem, I have learned how to eat and truly enjoy healthy foods and also how to enjoy other foods I love in moderation. I could no sooner give up wine than oxygen - just saying!

As the new year approaches I am thrilled that I am closer to a healthy weight, not an anorexic weight, just a healthy one! If you are planning on one of your New Year's resolutions to be to lose weight I highly recommend Weight Watchers, it is not a diet, it is something that you can live with no matter how crazy your life tends to be.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Zombie Pincushion!! Thank You Val!!!

For several weeks I have been trying to upload pictures of this amazing zombie pin cushion I won from Yarnigras. Finally I am home long enough to upload the pictures and offer a heart felt thank you to Val over at Yarnigras and Yarnigras Swapper Spot. She hosts the coolest swaps and I have has such a great time participating in them.

Thank you val, this little guy sits next to my VooDoo doll pincushion and is quite happy in his new home.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Yuletide Blessings Embroidered Fleece Blanket now in my Etsy Shop!

This beautiful cream colored fleece blanket was just added to my shop. If you have a friend or relative that likes Dragons you may want to check it out. I will personalize this with a name for free! As time permits I'll be adding additional embroidered items to the shop as well as some other fun things. To check it out click on the picture.

Check back later tonight for a peep at the sweet little Zombie that showed up at my house last week!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy November

Every morning on my way to work I pass several cow pastures - which is pretty awesome as I work in the heart of Reno. I have been working in the same area for about 5 1/2 years now and every year, just after Halloween, the local pumpkin farmer brings the left over pumpkins to the cows.

I can assure you, having watched the farmer truck in the pumpkins, cows feel joy. Watching them run to the pumpkins is so sweet. This year, after telling myself for the past 5 seasons that I WOULD TAKE PICTURES, I finally had not only opportunity but also my camera, I also had my 16 year old son in the car - Yikes! After dropping the boy off at school (he insisted that he could NOT be in the car when I pulled off to the side of the road to take pictures of cows - his actual words were - really mom?? really?), I made my way back to the pasture and just enjoyed the view.

Just before I made the U-turn that would put me next to the field another car pulled off to the side. A man got out of his car and laughed at my camera as he pulled out his own. We talked about the cows, the view, our families, all the while taking pictures of happy cows. After a while, we said our good byes and went our separate ways. It was a nice moment, standing with someone who was experiencing the same love of life that I was.

Having spent my high school years living in rural Pennsylvania and attending school in rural Maryland, I really love that Reno is such a "Wild West" type of town. My office building is nestled between cow pastures and, of all things, the airport. I get the best of both worlds, livestock and crops that I can watch grow,  lots of lovely mountains, and if I have to visit the city it is only a 4 hour drive into San Francisco, only 2 1/2 if I stop in Sacramento. I occasionally grumble about being in the west but that's only because I miss the amazing friends I have back home, truth be told, I love the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe and Reno and as much as I would love to move home and be closer to family and friends, I love where I am and I cherish the family and friends I have made while living in the wild, wild west!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

And the Winners are...

Congratulations to the winners of my two Halloween Blog Party Give Aways

Incipient wings who won the Cookie Cutter Package at my Haunted Halloween Tea Party and

Plum Field House Gardens who won the Voodoo Doll from my Broomsticks on the Bayou party.

Email me with you mailing information and I will get you gifts mailed out to you.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a visit. I'll be having another give away soon, in celebration of my 250th post - which should be sometime in November!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Be sure to stop by later this evening. I'll be announcing the winners of my two give-aways tonight. To enter you can visit the post or this post. Be sure to leave a comment and also follow my blog. I'll be drawing around 8:00 PM Pacific time!

A special thanks to The Graphics Fairy for this amazing graphic!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Haunted Halloween Tea Party and a Give Away!

Thank you to Vanessa at aFancifulTwist.com for hosting this wonderful event. Be sure to click HERE to see all the blogs that are hosting tea today

Welcome to my home, I am so glad you were able to stop by, it is such a lovely day for a Haunted Halloween Tea Party!

The beautiful colors of the season are in abundance here so I had to share but before you come inside make sure you check behind you, we don't want anything to follow you in!



The table is set...
The tea has been brewed, and...

The snacks are ready, so please sit for a spell and join me for tea. 

 I made these lovely cookies myself using this fabulous recipe I found on eHow.com

Best Soft Sugar Cookies

4 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Dashes of Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
1 Cup Butter - Softened
1 1/2 Cups White Sugar
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and cream of tater in a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg, vanilla and sour cream, mix until blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Wrap dough in plastic warp and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough to a 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the BOTTOM of the cookie starts to brown. Do not over bake or the cookies will crumble. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to wire rack and cool completely.

Ice with frosting of your choice. Click the eHow link above or HERE for a link to the recipe. For the recipe I used to frost my cookies click HERE.

These cookies are really yummy. They are soft yet held their shape well when baked. I hope y ou enjoy them while you are visiting today!

To celebrate this lovely Haunted Tea Party I am giving away a Brand New Set of these Awesome Cookies Cutters, a Haunted Recipe Card with the Above recipe and one for the Icing as well as an Altered Tea Tin complete with an assortment of 12 tea bags...

Here are the cookie cutters, the winners will be in the original package... these are mine :0)

To enter the Give Away all you have to do is follow my blog (if you don't already) and leave me a comment. Really, that is it!

Thanks for stopping by, I'll be visiting everyone tomorrow!

Here is the number of the comment that was picked as the winner...

And the winner is... Incipient Wings :0) Congratulations. Email me with you mailing address and I will mail you your goodies! 

** Note** I am not sure that the email link is working correctly so please email me at AutumnWindReno at Aol.com 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's almost time for a Haunted Halloween Tea Party!

This is a quickie post since I am at work and only have a minute but I wanted to say that I am so excited to be a part of this year's Haunted Halloween Tea Party being hosted by A Fanciful Twist. Check back on Saturday to join in on the fun and to enter to win in another giveaway!

For more information on the party you can click the picture above or click here.

See you then!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Broomsticks on the Bayou Blog Party and a Giveaway!!

Welcome to my Broomsticks on the Bayou blog party. Thanks to Frosted Petunias and Incipient Wings for hosting such a fun party!

Recently I did a swap over at Yarnigras Swapper Spot for a Voodoo Doll Pincushion. Whenever I create something new I have to do a wee bit of research. Research for me is one of the easiest ways to get my creative fires lit. During my research I found Voodoo Dolls on Etsy and Ebay, in Voodoo shops and in the Louvre!

 Here is the amazing Voodoo doll pincushion I received in that swap. You can read more about that here.

Here is the other pincushion I received in that swap. 
Notice the Voodoo doll that is attached to the front! So cute!

Researching the Voodoo dolls was not only informative; it was just plain old fun! I was amazed to see the variety of Voodoo dolls currently available. I am not going to discuss the practice of Voodoo, I am just going to show you some of the stunning Voodoo Dolls that I saw!

Here are some of the most interesting Voodoo Dolls I found, click on the image to be taken to the shop that sells that particular doll:

From Bijoux Bayou on Etsy

From Michalinaeisenberg on Etsy

From BehindTheRowsStudio on Etsy

From - From Grams House on Etsy

Here is a fun little guy that was given to me by a friend. These wrapped string dolls seem to be everywhere right now!
From a friend

While the above are mainly (but not only) artistic and/or fun, I also found a Voodoo shop that is located in the heart of New Orleans and has an amazing variety of Voodoo Dolls, Gris Gris, Potions and so much more available. The shop is called, what else, The Voodoo Shop. Here is one set of dolls from the many they have available. 

Aren't these lovely. Click on the picture to visit the site and learn more about them.

The one Voodoo doll that I came across that I was most intrigued with was a 4th century AD, historical Voodoo doll found in Egypt and currently housed in the Louvre in Paris. This particular doll was found in a terracotta vase along with a binding spell. When I first saw this picture I thought that the person represented by the doll sure did make someone angry! Can you imagine finding yourself represented as a Voodoo doll! Yikes! If you click on this picture it will take you to the Wiki site with information on the picture and the doll  itself.

Now, how about a giveaway… As those of you who follow me know, I have a really spectacular embroidery sewing machine and one of my favorite places to get embroidery designs – Urban Threads just happens to have an awesome Voodoo doll pattern. Here is the one that I made...


Since I am celebrating the art of the Voodoo doll I will be giving away this awesome doll (along with a couple of silly surprises) to a randomly drawn person on Halloween!

To enter the giveaway all you need to do is follow my blog (if you don’t already that is) and leave me a comment.  You must be a follower to win.

For additional entries you can:
Post about my give away on your blog linking back to this post
Tweet about it, linking back to this post

If you post on your blog or tweet, post the info in the comments or click here to email me so that I can add your additional entries to the drawing.

Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to check out the Broomsticks on the Bayou page to see who else is celebrating with us today!

And the comment chosen as the winner is...

The winner is PlumFieldHouseGardens. Congratulations!! Email me with your mailing information and I will get you VooDoo doll mailed off to you! Thank you for stopping by my party!

**NOTE** I am not sure if the email link is working correctly so please email me at AutumnWindReno at Aol. com

Friday, October 18, 2013

Altered Witch Shoe Challenge

When I read about the altered witch shoe challenge being hosted by Celia of The Adventures of the Striped Stockings I knew I had the perfect shoes to work with. I bought them at my local Goodwill Thrift store to use with my witch costume a year or so ago and they have been sitting in my closet waiting, obviously for this challenge!

This is the boot I started with. Not bad, it works really well with a black dress and hat, throw in a black cat and a broom and BAM I have a grade A costume. BUT... check out the altered boot...

Altered Boot!

Side 2

Back View


Another View

I had such fun making this shoe, of course now I have to do the other one. The cool thing about these is that they will fit me! I CAN WEAR THEM! Now when someone asks to see my witchy clothes I can pull these bad boys out and shoe, I mean show them! 

I used standard acrylic paint on the leather type parts of the shoe and then covered it with a gloss Mod Podge to make it shiny. The dots on the bands were done with Orange Peel Stickles. Easy Peasy! I may have to glitter the heel with purple or orange glitter. If I do I'll post a picture here!

Thank you Celia for hosting such a fun challenge. Be sure to visit her site to find the links to other fun altered witch shoes!

Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the Broomsticks on the Bayou party!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Voodoo Doll Pincushion Swap Gift - WOW

When I wrote about the package I received from Kerry I was so overwhelmed with things going on in my life that all I could do was love the beautiful Voodoo doll and the other amazing gifts included with it. The week that I received it my boss's mother was hospitalized and my co-worker was stricken with a kidney stone which she will finally be having removed tomorrow! I have been holding down the fort at work, worrying about my boss, her amazing mom, my co-worker and to make it ever worse, I found out (that same week) that my Dad has cancer again and he began chemotherapy last week. Needless to say I was a bit frazzled! After two long weeks I am happy to say that there is good news on most fronts. My boss's mom continues to improve,  my co-worker will hopefully be back to work by Thursday and my dad is not suffering from any side effects from the treatments.

This weekend is the first time in over 2 weeks that I could sit and be hopeful. So, today I was finally able to relax a bit and I realized that not only is the tote bag I received hand painted and embroidered, it was completely hand made by Kerry. When I realized that I had to post about it again!

As you can imagine, the package truly made my week and now that I am able to sit down and enjoy it I am just in awe of the beautiful work that went into my gift!! Kerry, thank you again. I really, truly appreciate the amount of hard work and skill that went into the gift you sent me!!