Monday, February 25, 2013

Etsy Shop Update!

I have been working like a mad woman to get some inventory in my Etsy shop and I am happy to report that I have added  several Good Luck Spell Bottles, a few Mini Prosperity Spell Bottles, a lovely gold embroidered Wheel of the Year alter cloth and some additional Domino Pendants.

I am working on some other types of Spell Bottles, some ritual kits, additional alter cloths and some other fun things that I hope to add soon. 

Here are the Good Luck and Prosperity Spell bottles

Good Luck Spell Bottles

Mini Prosperity Spell Bottles

I was fortunate to find a box (velvet lined no less) of antique crystal salt shakers to use for my mini spell bottles. They turned out so nice I will be hunting for more soon!

Wheel of the Year Altar Cloth

The altar cloth embroidery design is from my favorite design shop - Urban Threads. It depicts the phases of the moon, the astrological signs and the Witch holidays. It is embroidered in metallic gold on a purple/blue crushed velvet type material - stunning!

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: D is for Dandelion

Dandelions are the bane of existence to many a suburban yard, they sprout up almost overnight and can easily take over if you are not diligent. Of course the fact that it is so fun to blow the seeds of the dandelion into the wind doesn't help, especially if you live in a neighborhood full of kids - or adults like me who are just big kids in disguise!

My back yard is big and full of all sorts of things including trees, shrubs, grass, flowers, clover, rocks and of course, dandelions.  Fortunately for me, no one seems to mind that we don’t have a pristine back yard.  The dogs and kids have run wild there for 17 years so it has served us well!

The past few seasons have been interesting for my family as I have slowly introduced them to more magical fare in the kitchen. I am blessed with a loving family who just go with the flow, so when I toss dandelion greens into a salad or send the kids out to fill a bucket full of dandelion flowers so I can make Dandelion wine, no one even blinks. It makes me smile just to write that because there really isn't much I could say (or do) that would surprise my family.

This week I chose to write about the Dandelion and hope that the information here will cause people to think a little more kindly of this versatile little plant.

Many people don’t realize that the dandelion is edible.  It has a high concentration of Vitamins A, B, C and D and is also high in Iron, Calcium and Potassium. Who knew? The greens can be tossed into a salad, blanched or steamed like spinach and eaten as a vegetable, the root can be dried (or roasted) and ground up to make tea (which can taste very similar to coffee) and the flowers can be used to make a lovely wine.  When picking dandelion leaves for a salad, be sure to use only young leaves, older leaves can become bitter.
Magical Correspondences:
Gender: Masculine
Planetary Ruler: Jupiter
Elemental Ruler: Air
Deity:  Hecate

Magical Properties: Divination, Wishes, Calling Spirits

According to Scott Cunningham you can use the dandelion to send a message to a loved one. To do this you visualize your message and blow the dandelion head that has gone to seed in the direction of the person to whom you want to send you message.

He also writes of some other fun things to do with a dandelion head that has gone to seed:
To see how long you will live, blow the seeds of a dandelion, the number of seeds left on the seed head indicates how many years you will live and to tell the time, blow three times on the seed head, the number of seeds left is the hour.

According to the Real Witch’s Garden by Kate West, tea made with dandelion root is used to aid the liver, kidneys and bowels as well as to cleanse the system.

Karen Harrison of The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook wrote that the magical uses for dandelion root tea are to bring psychic impressions and dreams and she also states that adding Dandelion to an herbal amulet brings abundance in “Financial Acumen” and opportunity.

Here is an easy recipes for turning the humble dandelion into wine:

Dandelion Wine
This recipe is from
Makes 4 quarts

 1 quart yellow dandelion blossoms, well rinsed
 1 gallon boiling water
  ¼ ounce package active dry yeast
 8 cups white sugar
 1 orange, sliced
 1 lemon slice

1. Place dandelion blossoms in the boiling water, and allow to stand for 4 minutes. Remove and discard the blossoms, and let the water cool to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C).

2. Stir in the yeast, sugar, orange slices, and lemon slice; pour into a plastic fermenter, and attach a fermentation lock. Let the wine ferment in a cool area until the bubbles stop, 10 to 14 days. Siphon the wine off of the lees, and strain through cheesecloth before bottling in quart-sized, sterilized canning jars with lids and rings. Age the wine at least a week for best flavor.

Notes: Be sure that you use only pesticide free dandelions and that you wash them well before you put them in the pot.

Dandelion Tea
I found a couple of great sites which had detailed directions for harvesting and roasting the dandelion roots. The links are below.

The Real Witch’s Garden by Kate West
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Winter Pagan Fitness Challenge Update

This week was better than last. While I still had more snacks that I normally do I have not had a Diet Coke or any other type of soda or carbonated beverage since last Sunday. So, one full week without those added chemicals in my diet.

The first two days were only hard because I had a headache. The funny thing is, I don’t even miss it. I whined about quitting because I really did like my Diet Coke, however, now that I quit drinking it my skin is not as dry, I am not as hungry all the time and I don’t  worry about what the artificial sweetener is doing to my body. So total victory there!

At my Weight Watchers weigh-in I was down 1.6 pounds which makes me very happy!  I have 10 weeks left before I go home to visit my family and friends on the East Coast. I am so excited. It has been several years since I have been home and I am seriously missing it. Last time I went home, I was about 5 pounds heavier than I am now. This time I want to be about 10 pounds lighter than I am right now J

If I actually follow the Weight Watchers plan and start tracking what I eat I know I can easily do that. The great thing about Weight Watchers is that I can still have my Red Wine, still go out to lunch with the girls at work (this is one of those dreaded holiday weeks), still enjoy great tasting food and manage to lose weight. All I have to do is track what I eat so I don’t go overboard!

Since this is a holiday week I have formed a plan of attack. I am better prepared for the week of lunches and am actually looking forward to them!

No Yoga for me again this week. That is still a total fail. My focus was on letting go of the Diet Coke. I did manage to get to the gym 4 times this week for a total of 16 broom points! That is something that I really enjoy now. One of the great things about no longer drinking Diet Soda is that I now drink lots of water!

This week’s Mini Goal was to readjust my goals if necessary.  

Original Goals
Earth: I plan on focusing on eating a balanced, natural food diet. I want to eliminate some of the processed foods that I eat. This will be a gradual and ongoing process
Update: So far I am doing this. I rarely eat processed foods anymore so I would consider this goal met!

Air: I will be adding Yoga into my exercise routine on a regular basis. Yoga is great for the mind as well as the body and I believe this will be a great benefit for me, helping me to lessen the effects of everyday stresses as well as strengthen my muscles.
Update: This has not been met but I want to keep it as a goal. When I do Yoga I love it. I think it is an effective, overall, exercise for the mind and the body and I will keep at it until I have managed to incorporate into my life.

Fire: I plan on earning 150 broom points - minimum! I try to get to the gym between 3 and 4 mornings each week and work out for about an hour each time. In addition to this I will be working on my Etsy Shop as well as my other artistic endeavors, Art is my passion and that is something I will be focusing more on in the coming months.
Update: So far I have earned 80 out of 150 and I am on track to earn another 76 before the end of the challenge. I am still working on items for my Etsy shop. I have several items complete and will be adding them to the shop soon.

Water: I will be upping the amount of water I drink and eliminate that darn Diet Coke. I know it is full of chemicals, I know it is not the best drink for my body so I will be saying goodbye to my longtime favorite beverage so that I can improve my health - I believe it will be totally worth it!
Update: Achieved! Now to maintain it

Spirit: Achieving the above will nurture my mind, body and soul. Meditating on my goals, working towards them and achieving them is what I consider my holistic approach to this challenge, encompassing all of the elements in my goal to be healthy and fit.

Update: I still have some work to do on a couple of goals and need to continue with the others so I am well on my way to achieving this goal as well. I will be adding additional meditation time as that always make me feel  more in control and focused, as well as less stressed and more relaxed!

Overall, I am feeling pretty good. Now to keep it going!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: D is for Dragon’s Blood

One of my earliest memories of witchcraft was of a spell that I overheard on TV, I was very young and it was a typical or shall I say a stereotypical list of ingredients that of course all witches must have on hand (at least in the pop culture of the late 60’s), anyway, the list went something like this:

Eye of newt (of course – that is in all the good spells- right?)
Wing of bat
Graveyard dust
Coffin nails
Dragon’s blood
And a hair from a werewolf plucked at the stroke of midnight on a full moon (that sounds downright dangerous to me!)

Now, unlike many of my young friends, I was not afraid of witches, I was intrigued. Was this real? Did these types of ingredients actually go into a magical spell? Why? What did they do? Where could I get a real dragon and how much blood was called for? Fortunately, I soon realized that Dragon's Blood didn't come from a real dragon - much to my relief!

During the first 10 years of my life we moved a lot, we were gypsies, moving at least once and sometimes twice a year and the people my mother associated with were amazing. There were all gypsies as well as artists, musicians and magical people.  It was during this time that I was first introduced to magic, the Tarot, and herbalism, though I had no idea what I was learning then.

As I got older I learned more about magic, witchcraft and my own gifts and I also became more familiar with some of the more interesting magical ingredients. This week I thought I would write about Dragon’s Blood, one of the more romanticized ingredients in a witch’s cupboard.

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Elementary Ruler: Fire

The Dragon’s Blood we buy today is typically a red resin from the Daemonorops Draco tree which is a type of palm tree native to Indonesian islands as well as from the Dracaena Cinnabari  tree native to Socotra. It is found in resin and powder forms as well as in incense and added to red ink to make Dragon’s Blood ink.

Some of the many uses attributed to Dragon’s Blood are: curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, helping to heal ulcers in the mouth, throat and intestines, as well as for treating eczema. It was even thought to have astringent properties and used to treat wounds.

Magically, Dragon’s Blood is used to cleanse a space of negativity, for banishing spells, protection, to add a little extra power to a spell, for love and when mixed with red ink it can be used to create magical seals and to ink talismans.

Dragon’s Blood resin was used to create a varnish that violin used to give their violins their signature color, and it is still used in this way today.

In Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs he relates that a stick of Dragon’s Blood tree placed under the pillow will cure impotency.  A woman can burn Dragon’s Blood resin while seated in an open window to entice an errant lover to return. He also states that Dragon’s Blood is a “powerful protectant when carried, sprinkled around the house, or shouldered as incense.”

I like to keep Dragon’s Blood on hand, you never know when you are going to need to add a little extra oomph to a spell!

Here is a great recipe for a Dragon’s Blood Witch’s Ink that I found at right here 

 Witches Ink:

 4 oz. Transparent Alcohol (vodka works well)
 2 tsp. Dragons Blood (powdered resin)
 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla (tincture)
 1 tsp. Lavender (tincture)
 1 cinnamon stick
 2 cloves (optional)

Mix all together in a tightly sealed jar. Shake until mixed well. Place in dark cool cabinet. Bring out once a day and shake up to stir for seven days. Test the ink by placing your pen, needle or toothpick in the ink, then test on paper. If color is dark enough for you it's ready to use. If you would like it even darker then add more resin and repeat the shaking. Test every day until you have the desired color hue.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Little Birdie Told Me Swap - My Creation

I just checked and she's arrived at her new home! Now I can share her. Here is the sweet little bird I made for this fun swap hosted by YarniGras! I hope her new mom enjoys her as much as I did!

On her nest

She is made of Dupioni Raw Silk and has embroidered wings and tail feathers. Of course there has to be a bit of bling and some matching flowers.

Tail Feather

I had a great time with her tail. I saw an embroider design that had this pattern in it so I cropped the design, snipped out what I didn't want and made an awesome tail. 

Wing detail

Her wings were something that I sort of just winged :). I drew a simple shape and digitized it for embroidery then added some detail. I loved how they turned out.

Full Shot of Nest

Before decorations

I have no idea what this was in it's former life. It was black and had a little cap attached to it by a wire. I though maybe it held an oil lantern of some sort. Regardless, it made the perfect stand for my little bird.

Owl Clips

One of the add ins I included with my birdie was the above Owl Clips I found at Ikea - So much fun! I also made a domino pendant for my swap partner but I forgot to take a picture of it - oops!

If you'd like to get in on the fun check out Yarnigras Swapper Spot. She'll be posting the next swap soon!

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Little Birdie Told Me Swap Update

My little birdie is getting ready to fly to her new home. I can’t post pictures of her until she gets to her new mom. This swap was so much fun. I challenged myself to use different techniques and colors than I usually do so this sweet little bird became quite the project.

Some of the things I did - I created her wings and tail feathers using my embroidery machine. I love machine embroidery and I have been doing it for many years. This project benefited from that love! I found a fun candle stand and altered it to make a perch for the project and I also used supplies from not only my embroidery stash but from my scrap-booking and jewelry making areas as well.

So here are some pictures of the progress:

Supplies - Dupioni Silk - My Favorite!

Wing Detail

Tail Feather Detail

Winter Pagan Fitness Challenge Update

This week was one of those Murphy’s Law Weeks… Anything that could go wrong did! Thankfully most of it was at work, the computers didn’t work, the phones went down, our internet was out (at work), my printer needed a part and it didn’t show up so I did not have the ability to print anything on Friday – which means that I have a lot to print this coming week! But I survived the craziness and while I feel like I ran into walls all week I am happy with my progress.

I did manage to get to the gym and earned 12 broom points – yay! I only added a tiny bit of yoga to my routine so I do not count that as having started a Yoga routine. Once again I will try to incorporate it this week.

Since I ate chocolate all week, had lots of wine and then went out to dinner Friday (the night before my weigh-in) I was not too surprised that I gained a bit. What I was happy about was that it was only a pound and that I attribute to the fact that I did get to the gym this week and mostly I eat a healthy diet.  

I had my last diet coke yesterday. I have a slight headache today but I consider it a fair trade. My man came to me yesterday and told me that he read another study on the bad affects the artificial sweetener in Diet Coke has on people. Since it was my plan to stop drinking soda and to stop yesterday it was a timely article indeed! The cool thing is he now notices things that have that in it and we are actively looking for alternative – whole, non-processed foods. Don’t get me wrong, he still bought the store brand twinkie like cake as a snack for him and our son but the majority of the foods we buy are much healthier!

This week was also full of happy things, my dad is on the mend after an agonizing round of radiation therapy for a cancer that returned. He is expected to make a full recovery! My mom is better as well, apparently she had a bad viral infection – they just told me about all of this a week ago, they didn’t want to worry me! Also, my guy is sending me home to see my childhood friends in late April. I was going to go for my birthday but the timing wasn’t quite right, now I get to see family, friends and even attend my cousins wedding reception! SO – my motivation to actually stop eating chocolate and cut down on the wine (notice I did not say give up!) is high.  We’ll see how that translates into action this week.
I hope you had a healthy, happy week!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: C is for Cauldron

From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:
caul·dron noun \ˈkȯl-drən\
Definition of CAULDRON
1: a large kettle or boiler

2: something resembling a boiling cauldron in intensity or degree of agitation <a cauldron of intense emotions>

This week I chose to write about the cauldron. This is one of those stereotypical symbols of the witch along with the broom, the wand and of course the black cat. Of course, aside from the black cat (mine is a torti) I have and use all of these in my craft.

My cauldron is very tiny. It is used for small items when I am working at my ritual altar. I do have a gigantic cast iron camp bowl that could easily double as a cauldron if necessary but so far, after many years of ritual work I haven’t felt the need to use anything else.

The Cauldron is typically a symbol of the Goddess and its element is water. It can be used as a container during rituals, for scrying, as a place to burn ingredients for a spell and is a place for magical transformation.

A cauldron is generally made of cast iron so that it can be used with high heat if necessary and often has three legs though some cauldrons do have four legs.  An article by Sheila Buck states that if a cauldron has three legs they represent the Maiden, Mother and Crone and if the cauldron has four legs they represent the elements of Earth, Air Fire and Water. 

Please forgive my brief post this week. I have unfortunately had way too much on my schedule. To make sure this doesn't happen again anytime soon I’ll be working harder to get my posts done a little early!

Sites visited during my research for this post:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Winter Pagan Fitness Challenge Update

This week was much better than the past two weeks were, I did manage to lose those 2 pounds that I gained during my foodie dream week of lunches plus a tiny bit more. I got to the gym 4 times and I feel great. As I have said before, I've been teetering on the line of the maximum weight my body is able to handle without pain and while I am still below that threshold I prefer to see the numbers on the scale go down, not up! '

At my Weight Watchers weigh in this week I realized that I am only 21 pounds from my Weight Watchers goal weight. That is exciting. It will be harder to lose the weight the closer I get to goal but I know I can do it. I am aiming for the top end of the weight range. I want to get to a healthy weight that I can maintain without starving myself - cause that is soooo not going to happen! 

I am still searching for a Yoga class that will fit into my schedule, until that time I am going to start adding some Yoga into my evening stretching routine. I did download the World of Froud Pathways to Faery Meditation app from Itunes. Wendy Froud taught me to sculpt and she and her husband are two of the most magical people I have ever met. Their meditation app is awesome!

I’ve started drinking a lot more water. I still have 1 diet coke a day and I am psyching myself up to give it up. I know it is not good for me, I know that I will be healthier without it and yet I still want it. So, I add more water and prepare myself for the day I don’t but it again – that day will be here soon. Really!

My diet is much better. I rarely eat processed foods. I’ve been cooking more and even the lunches out were at restaurants that offer unprocessed-food based meals.  For our Super bowl Sunday snack today I made baked tortilla chips and served them with fresh salsa – yum, healthy and preservative free!

I earned 16 broom points this week so I am up to 50 out of the 150 I plan to earn during this challenge.

All in all this was a good week. Goals for the coming week:
Do some basic Yoga 3 nights
Add more water into my day
Prepare myself to have my last diet coke on Saturday – yes, it will take me that long to prepare myself!
Get to the gym 3-4 times this week

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Bewitching Home Winter Blog Party

The Witch Of Howling Creek  is hosting this amazing blog party that celebrates the domestic witch in all of us! Be sure to check her site for a list of everyone who will be participating today and thanks for stopping by.

I decided to bring you into my kitchen today as I make a sun shaped, sunflower seed bread that I’ll be sharing with my family this evening to celebrate Imbolc.

Imbolc is a celebration of the beginning of Spring, the return of life as we start to see the budding trees, early bulbs are starting to stir and gradually the days begin to get warmer (ok, maybe not today but we know it will happen eventually)

As I live in the very cold, very, wild, wild, west, I like to make something that reminds me that indeed Spring is here and I will start to see its signs soon. In our part of the world we go from frigid cold to blazing hot rather quickly so spring, when we have it, is cherished.

Sunflower seeds and their oil are very popular in Eastern Europe and find their way into all sorts of savory items and even in to desserts.  They add a nice sweet crunch to the bread as well as a being a reminder that the warmth of the Sun is already causing life to stir all around us.

Now, on to the bread…

Here is my finished loaf

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Rising time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Yield: 1 (9x5-inch) Sunflower Bread

1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar + 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups or as needed all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds + 1 tablespoon for garnish
1 beaten egg white


 In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy.

Add 1/3 cup sugar, oil, salt and flour, mixing until well combined. Knead about 8 minutes, adding additional flour, if necessary, until a smooth, elastic dough is formed.  Add ¾ cup unsalted sunflower seeds during the last 2 minutes of kneading.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides, and cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.

Coat a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray (or in my case coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray). Punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead 1 minute to release any trapped air and shape into a loaf. Place in prepared pan, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled. I chose to shape my loaf into a sun rather than cook it in a loaf pan. Once I shaped it I did let it set for an hour but due to the excessive handling during the shaping it did not rise too much.  It still turned out great!

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Brush top of bread with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Remove from oven and immediately turn out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

My family couldn't wait to try the bread that made the house smell so good. They enjoyed it so much that I will have to make one more loaf before dinner! My son though it had a texture similar to that of a soft pretzel with a slight (very slight) sweet taste.

Bread recipe:

The original recipe does not tell you when to add the seeds to the main dough.  My experience with bread is that you add any type of mix-ins towards the end of the initial kneading, you don’t want to add them in too soon or they will break apart.

One of my favorite bread sculpting books is called Bread Sculpture The Edible Art by Ann Wiseman
This book has great recipes and fun shapes to try. It is easier to make bread than you may thing!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pagan Blog Project: C is for Catnip

Most of us are familiar with Catnip. It something that many cats LOVE! There is nothing cooler than watching your cat roll around on the floor with a catnip filled toy. My cat is all blissful when I give her catnip toys, she gets frisky and acts like she did as a kitten (16 years ago!). One of the benefits of giving your cat catnip is that is creates a psychic bond between the two of you.

Catnip is a fairly easy to grow perennial herb from the mint family. Common catnip can grow 3 - 5 feet high and has white flowers with purple spots.  It likes partial shade but grows well in full sun.  If you plan on growing this near your home it is recommended that you put chicken wire cages around young plants until they become established to protect them from cats. Also noted, cats will generally leave catnip plants alone unless the leaves or branches are damaged. Damage to the plant releases the chemical that attracts cats.

There are other uses for catnip, both magical and medicinal, and they aren't for kitty!

Before I get to those, here is some magical information regarding Catnip.

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Deities: Bast

Other than intoxicating your cat, catnip can be used in love spells, to attract good spirits and good luck, as well as in spells for beauty and happiness. All in all, catnip seems to be a good herb to have around. 

Fun: according to Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical herbs, If you hold catnip in your hand until it is warm and then hold anyone else’s hand; they will forever be your friend as long as you keep the catnip used in the spell, also large catnip leaves have been pressed and used as bookmarks in magical texts and Book of Shadows. 

Other Magical uses:

When grown near your home, catnip attracts good spirits and luck. The nice thing about catnip is that is an attractive plant with pretty little flowers, the drawback, it is from the mint family so it will grow wild if you let it.

Add catnip in your love sachets, mojo bags, and poppets to attract love.

Medical uses:
(Please note that I am NOT a physician, nor am I providing medical advice, use catnip at your own risk)

Medicinally catnip has been used to treat respiratory infections, to reduce fever, as a decongestant, to help ease a cold of the flu, to reduce menstrual cramps and applied externally to cuts. It has also been used to treat colicky babies, headaches, indigestion and stress related conditions and even reduce red-eye.  Taken as a tea, catnip can be used as a sleep aid.

Caution: Catnip can cause uterine contractions and stimulate menstruation so do not take if you are pregnant!!

Basic Catnip Tea
Add 1 Cup of boiling water to 1-2 teaspoons of catnip
Steep for 10-15 minutes
I would add a teaspoon of honey.

If you would like more information on growing and harvesting catnip visit:

Additional sources:
Encyclopediaof Magical herbs by Scott Cunningham