Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Belated Blessed Yule


I'm slowly getting it together - very slowly - but I did enjoy a lovely Yule. The full moon was just an added bonus on a beautiful day.

This Yule I was definitely celebrating the return of the sun and more symbolically a return to my spiritual path. The photo above is of my Yule alter. It is an old photo but still true to what I do. I love that it is simple and super easy to set up. There is comfort in setting up the alter, offering thanks to the Goddess as well as giving thanks for the change of the seasons and the coming spring.

While I am definitely looking forward to the return of the sun and all that follows, I am making sure that I enjoy the stillness of today. I haven't had a lot of stillness this past year and it has taken its toll so I am focusing on the cold mornings and the silence that the snowy winter brings to my yard. I am focusing on the joys of being home and enjoying the days and nights of this season of rest before the world awakens again this spring.

Blessed Be my friends

A


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Refreshed and Recharged - A New Level of Spirituality

Vacation Recharge!

This year has been so stressful. During my vacation last month I finally was able to sit down to figure out what was going on. After examining my life over the past year I realized that while I talk to the Goddess every day, I had let my spiritual practice slide. I haven't been as physically involved in the spiritual part of my life as I had been and it has taken its toll!

While I am a Pagan and a Witch, I understand why Christians go to church on Sunday. It keeps you in touch with the spirit. Makes you aware that there is more to life than just getting up, going to work, going to school etc. It is comfort and joy.

So, now that I realized my problem I am getting back in the swing of things. My tools have been cleaned and charged. My candles are out and ready for use and I am already starting to feel better. I know that by investing in my practice again I will be renewed and recharged and my life will benefit on all fronts.

I'll be sharing more on this blog. I've let it slide this year and I have missed it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween Tribute

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 
The place that most reminds me of my Grandparents 

In honor of Samhain I would like to offer this tiny glimpse of two of the most influential people of my life, my maternal grandparents.

Their names were Esther and Charles (or Big Charlie to his friends). If you've read my blog for a while you know that my parents divorced when I was 4 and my mom, brother and I moved in with my grandparents.

I have vivid memories of my time there, including the ghost that haunted the upstairs hall - that is a story for another day (and I promise to share it soon), the clover filled back yard, days spent dreaming under the giant maple tree by the back fence and nights listening to the rain as it hit the corrugated metal roof over the shed below my bedroom window.

My grandparents were born in the early 1900's, the teen years, which penalized them during their retirement years but they made it work! My grandfather was a gardener and if he wasn't gardening he was buying food and "putting it up" for later. We had a back porch which was enclosed and the place we would take off our boots and coats when coming in from the back yard. Hanging from the ceiling were bundles of chili peppers and onions. In the basement were potatoes, jams and jellies, canned tomatoes, pickles as well as canned peppers. It was a beautiful sight to watch my"mom mom" (that's what we called her) can fruits and vegetables for the winter and seeing all those colorful jars lined up on shelves in the basement was so interesting to me. I loved the process and the end result was so beautiful and would provide for us for months.

We lived with them until I entered 6th grade.

When I was in middle school my grandfather was injured on the job, he was a factory worker, and lost most of the use of his right arm. This was a very difficult time for my grandparents but again, they rode with what was dealt and decided to make a permanent move to their summer home, a gigantic trailer with a full length sun room on the Rehoboth Bay in lower Delaware. This was the place we spent our summers, fishing, crabbing and playing on the beach. When my grandparents moved south I was worried that I wouldn't see them as often but that wasn't the case. Rather than see them a couple of weekends we got to spend entire summers with them. It was amazing!

My grandfather taught me to drive a boat when I was very young. I could filet a fish before I was 10 and was deep sea fishing with him by 11. I am a morning person by nature as was he. We would be up before dawn during the summer and out on the bay setting crab pots as the sun was coming up. I didn't realize how poor they were until later but during those summers we ate like kings. Of course we caught the food but that was ok. Fresh blue crab, clams, mussels, flounder... yep, the bounty of the sea was our staple food. I stood in the food lines with my grandmother getting milk, eggs and cheese. I watched here scrimp, save, and make do. I saw - reduce, reuse, recycle - as a lifestyle, not a catch phrase. I imagine anyone who has relatives who went through the great depression would understand.

My grandmother taught me to cook and sew. She tried, repeatedly, to teach me to crochet but I looked like a kitten with a ball of yarn, it was EVERYWHERE! Yarn and I have a simple relationship, I use it for doll hair and it doesn't attack. I'm good with that.

Cooking with my mom mom was always informative. She showed me how to make cookies, candies and fudge as well as to make pepper jelly (I am currently tracking down that recipe from a relative) and other amazing foods. She turned scrapple into a delicious breakfast, made biscuits that were light and fluffy and served a coconut custard pie that was melt in your mouth fantastic!

I learned to both cook and sew under my mom moms patient hands. She never rushed, never worried. She just showed me what to do and then let me learn by actually doing it. It was wonderful. I made my own clothes in high school and made my children's clothes when they were small. They didn't fully appreciate my sewing abilities until they started testing me with outrageous Halloween costumes, for instance one year my sweet daughter decided to be a red satin unicorn with a silver horn, another year she was a tombstone - fortunately, thanks to my mom mom I was able to meet their crazy demands!

Many of the things I enjoy today are directly related to my experiences with these two amazing people. I love the ocean and the outdoors, gardening, boating and the water due to my grandfather letting me experience these things with him and I love creating, cooking, baking and taking care of my home and family because my grandmother fostered that within me.

So today, as the veil thins I send my love, respect and thanks to the two people who have most influenced my life! I thank them for taking the time to not only teach but to share with me their passions!



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blessed Mabon

Apple Hill, California

I wish a very blessed Mabon to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere.

Red, orange, green, brown, yellow…rich, beautiful color is everywhere! Being a red head – these are my colors and this is my season.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all the seasons but autumn is my favorite. The cool brisk nights and warm sunny days provide the best of both worlds temperature wise – I get to snuggle with my guy at night and enjoy the great outdoors during the day. Pumpkins, apples and squash show up not only in the garden and grocery store but in wreaths and table top centerpieces. Nature’s harvest is celebrated everywhere.  Soups and casseroles seemed to become more popular and families tend to snuggle in at home.

Of course the days start to get shorter, and while I prefer the long days of summer I look at the long evenings as time to play games by the fire, read books and to plan for spring :0)

Right now I am enjoying the bounty of my garden. While only a few of my plants actually grew well this year, those that did are producing lots of food. My tomatoes and green beans have taken over their garden spots and the cucumbers are finally big enough to pick. I will be freezing some of my beans next weekend and will be making zucchini bread this week from the beautiful zucchinis my friend brought me as well as some yummy apple cake to celebrate Mabon (recipe below).

I look forward to the changing colors of the leaves though right now our larger oak tree is defiantly staying green. Once it decides to change it will show off with brilliant oranges and reds.

This time of year definitely makes me thankful for all that I have. I have a wonderful home and amazing family and friends that I get to spend time with. I live in the high desert but just a half-hour away are the stunning Sierra Nevada Mountains, the jewel that is Lake Tahoe, rivers, forests and more. My yard is big enough for me to garden and for my children and dogs to run wild – my youngest is now 18 but he and his friends still run wild in the yard, usually with squirt guns.

I’ve been blessed and while I make sure to thank the Goddess everyday for my life and all that I have I try to make sure to send some extra thanks during the harvest. 

In honor of Mabon I'll be making this yummy apple cake for my family. I like this recipe because you use chunks of apples rather than apple sauce. 

This is from the All Recipes web site:

Recipe By: Ann
Ingredients
  • 5 apple - peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  •  2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) lightly grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar for 15 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer. Add oil and blend in.
  4. Add four mixture and mix well. Add vanilla. Fold in apples and nuts. Pour batter into 9x13 inch pan.
  5. In a small bowl, mix 4 teaspoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle over cake.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
I hope you enjoy the day. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summertime


Kayaking at the Marina

This summer has been filled to the brim. With laughter, with fun, with baseball,with parties and candlelight, good food my wonderful family and lots of friends. I have been busy with work and home life and have been feeling pretty bad about neglecting my blog.

Then I realized that my blog will be here when the summer is over, as the  hectic pace lessens and the days begin to noticeably shorten. I'm looking forward to blogging again.

I've got recipes and projects to share, more magical green cleaning products, herbal goodies and other fun things that I'll be posting soon.

Thanks for sticking around.

I'll be back soon!

Autumnwind

Friday, June 26, 2015

Marriage Equality


There is a lot of chatter on social media today about the United States Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage for everyone. As the mother of a lesbian daughter I am thrilled that my child is now able to have the kind of formal commitment to her partner that her father and I had with each other. Once they are married they will be afforded all of the rights that the straight community has taken for granted for years!

Today we can say that all people in the United States can get married, we no longer have to use the phrase gay marriage, its just marriage. That is a reason to celebrate! This is not a crime against Christianity, it is a movement towards equality in marriage, equality in how our country treats its citizens and equality is basic human rights.

Marriage is not a Christian construct, it predates Christianity. Marriage is a commitment to another. It is a vow, a bond, a promise. To acknowledge the love two people have for each other, their commitment to each other is not a threat, it is just the right thing to do. If you are not part of the community that this landmark ruling affects you really don't understand the enormity of this decision.

Imagine back 50 or so years ago, men and women of different races, (seriously, if their skin color was different) could not legally marry each other. Asinine? I say yes. It's like saying you can't marry the person you love because their eyes are blue and yours are brown. It sounds silly when you put it that way but skin and eye color are just some of the wonderful things that make us unique, and yet skin color was used as a legal way to prevent two people from marrying.

We are all humans, all part of the same species. We all deserve to love, be loved and commit to that love. Hopefully in a few years we will wonder what the big deal was all about and why it took us so long to make marriage available to all citizens!

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from the movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves between Azeem played by Morgan Freeman and a small girl:

Azeem: Salaam, little one.
Small Girl: Did God paint you?
Azeem: Did God paint me? [laughs]
Azeem: For certain.
Small Girl: Why?
Azeem: Because Allah loves wondrous varieties.

Truly puts it in perspective doesn't it! Variety is wonderful. Some people are attracted to blondes, some to brunettes, thankfully for me some are attracted to redheads! Some people like tall and lanky, others like more meat on their partner's bones. Some people are totally into their partner's intelligence, others love their mate for their humor. Others have no clue why they love their partner but they know they do! We can not control who we are attracted to, if we could there would be no divorce and arranged marriages would still be all the rage!

Marriage equality means nothing to the straight community, they already had the ability to marry the person they love. However, marriage equality means a lot to the the rest of the citizens of our country because now they can live their lives with the same commitments, the same protections, and they same rights as their straight counterparts, regardless of which state they live in or move to.

Before you rally with the haters and cry that our society is doomed, take a few minutes for some self-reflection, dig deep to see why you are filled with so much hate for something that doesn't concern you, will not affect your life, will not change your relationship with your spouse and will not change how you live - at all. Let's face it, not all straight marriages are perfect, people cheat on their spouse, they abuse their relationship and sometimes they abuse their partner, they divorce, they remarry, they generally abuse the gift that is marriage - but for some reason that is all OK because the couple is made up of a man and a woman, yet that two men who have a loving committed relationship can now get married people think it will destroy the sanctity of marriage or destroy our society? -Sorry folks, I am not buying that. Love wins in my book - every time.

If you feel that marriage equality is an affront to your faith, rest assured that God (or in my case the Goddess) has everything in control. Live your life the best way you can and don't be a hater. Know that in the end God is in charge - you don't have to be.

I'm off to toast my daughter and her partner. While I already consider the amazing young woman that my beautiful child loves my daughter, being able to have her recognized as my daughter-in-law across the country once they tie the knot is a gift I am truly thankful for.

Cheers!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blessed Beltane to You all

Public Domain Image from Google :0)

I hope you all had a beautiful Beltane! It was such a lovely day here in Northern Nevada. I was thankful to be able to sit outside and enjoy our bonfire without needing a jacket!

I've been quiet lately due to quite a few things. I'll be back soon though!

Friday, March 20, 2015

A Blessed Ostara to You!

Image from RosalindScarlett.blogspot.com

I love this time of year! So many wonderful new things are sprouting and there are calves in the fields and buds on the trees. This year we'll be enjoying our Ostara dinner outside on the deck since the weather has been so beautiful! What a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of Spring!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day


My mother's family is originally from Ireland, I'm not, but my great grandparents came over from Ireland and I have quite a few relatives still living in that lush land today (and they own a pub!!). We have always been a rowdy bunch and enjoy celebrating this day, mostly by participating in the secular festivities :0) I want to wish those of you who celebrate either through the secular traditions or in a more religious fashion a Happy St. Patrick's day!

I found the following recipe for Guinness Cupcakes on Food.com and they are the perfect way to celebrate this fine day (or any day for that matter). These are the best Guinness cupcakes I have ever had, I think the frosting just makes them awesome!!


Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Frosting - YUM!

PREP:  40 mins
COOK:  25 mins
YIELDS 24-30 cupcakes

Cupcakes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Guinness stout
  • 2cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1teaspoons baking soda
  • eggs
  • 1cup sour cream
Frosting
  • 1cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 3 tablespoons irish cream(Bailey's or Carolan's)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • green sprinkles

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F Grease 24-30 cupcake cups, or fill with paper liners.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the butter, Guinness, cocoa and brown sugar, whisking often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Into the work bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large mixing bowl), sift together salt, flour, white sugar and baking soda. Add the cooled Guinness mixture and beat on medium for 1 minute. Add eggs and sour cream and beat on medium for 2 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly amongst the cupcake cups. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then remove and transfer to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  5. Meanwhile, in (cleaned) work bowl of stand mixer, cream butter until very light and fluffy. Add salt, and slowly add confectioner’s sugar. Do not run the mixer above low, or the sugar will spray all over your kitchen. Add a couple of spoonfuls at a time until it has all been absorbed into the butter. Add Bailey's and milk until spreadable consistency is achieved.
  6. Frost cupcakes with Bailey's frosting. Sprinkle with green jimmies.
I hope you have a wonderful and SAFE day!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Blog Hop Prizes - Part 2

Here are the prizes I won during my hop through the Every Witch Way Lane's 72 hour Halloween Artists blog hop. I am always thrilled by the quality of Halloween art that the artists who participate showcase and create. 


This amazing guy was made by Debb over at Halloween Jinglesbells BOO I LOVE her work and have followed her blog for a while. I was so excited to find out I won this amazing guy! 

By Shabby Hag Decor


This adorable wooden box is from Shabby Hag Decor. It is so pretty. I love the detail in the painting. So much fun!

I found out that I had won these beautiful items a couple of days after I got home from the hospital where I had been for an unexpected emergency surgery. Such a nice gift after a really long and painful week! 

In a couple of weeks I'll be hosting a give-away just for fun, because I want to give back something. Hopefully I can make someone's day the way the fun things I won during a very stressful time made mine. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Blog Hop Prizes

I have had a great week blog wise! I received 2 prizes for participating in a blog hop and they are both amazing! I feel terrible that I haven't thanked both of the artists publicly but my work schedule changed and I am discombobulated in a serious way!! Check back in the next day or two to see the cool prizes I received and hear about the talented artists who made them :0)


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Witchy Green Cleaning - Foor Wash



This is a re-post of my final Witchy Green Cleaning series post. I have a couple of more in the works so stay tuned for more green cleaning tips, tricks and ideas with a witchy twist!

Welcome back to the final installment in the Witch Green Cleaning series. This week I’m going to tell you a little bit about the floor washes that I’ve made. There aren’t too many photo’s but the recipes are great!

Before you wash your floors be sure to either sweep or vacuum any dirt. dust (or in my case) dog hair. It is much easier to mop when you've got the bits and pieces swept up!

The first cleaner is a very simple recipe that I use on my tile and linoleum. It is easy to make and leaves the floor clean. One of the best things about it is that you don’t need to rinse afterwards!! I’ve seen this basic recipe on several sites. My favorite is www.amybayliss.com, she has lots of great DIY ideas for the home.

Basic Floor Wash – Tile & Linoleum
1 Gallon hot water (very hot)
1 cup vinegar
½ cup Borax
8-10 drops Essential Oil (For the kitchen I like to use lemon essential oil because it smells so fresh!)

Mix all ingredients in your bucket and mop as usual. As I mentioned above you do not need to rinse the floor when you use this mixture!
  

If I just need to get the dust or dirt off the wood floors then I use this simple recipe which comes from the book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier. This book has over 100 recipes for cleaners for every area of you home!

Wood Floor Wash
1 ½ cups water
1 ½ cups vinegar (natural disinfectant)
20 drops peppermint essential oil ( Or lemon, Eucalyptus, Pine)

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well. Working on a small area at a time mist the floor and then wipe using a dry mop.Repeat as necessary to remove all the dust and dirt.

Finally here is the cleaner I use to make my wood floors shine. 

To Make the Wood Shine
1 cup olive oil
1 cup white vinegar

Mix both ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake well.

Working on a small section at a time, spray floor with oil/vinegar mix and wipe dry with clean soft cloth. I use old towels that I got at my local thrift store. 

Look for towels that are old and soft and preferably white or a light color. I bleach mine when I get them home and then tear them into 2 foot by 2 foot squares. These are just right for me to use to buff the floor with my foot. I also use them to dry all of my floors when I mop them. Once I finish mopping the entire floor(tile and linoleum - wood I dry as I go) I throw one of these towels on the floor and buff it with my foot until the floor is dry, getting a new dry towel as necessary. once done I toss all the wet towels in the wash so they are ready for the next time.

When working with wood floors always work in small sections and dry the floor as you go. You do not want to leave liquid on a wood floor for any prolonged amount of time as it could damage the floor. Always test your homemade cleaners in an inconspicuous spot before using!

Now for the witchy add-ins:

General
Rosemary – Purification, Protection and Alertness (This is also great for entrance ways)
Eucalyptus – Removes negativity, promotes healing
Lemon – Increases energy (both physical and mental) and it really smells fresh and clean!
Pine- Removes negativity and has a fresh clean, earthy scent
Sweet Orange – Peace, serenity, good luck

Bathroom/Bedroom
Lavender – Peace and Tranquility
Peppermint – Sleep, Healing
Grapefruit – To increase energy – this scent is great to get you going in the morning!

That concludes the planned Witchy Green Cleaning series for this year though if I find another cleaner that I love I’ll definitely add more! 

As always use caution when mixing items at home. If you are allergic to a particular item don’t use it! If I can answer any questions send me an email.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Such a Fun Prize!!

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a blog hop of Halloween artists. If was so much fun to visit the blogs and see what the amazing artists who participated create. Then I ended up in the hospital - dang it - however, the Goddess was definitely smiling on me because I won a couple of prizes for visiting the blogs - it was so cool and a really nice thing to find out when I arrived home from the hospital!

This weekend I received this totally cool piece of art:


This beautiful piece was created by Dana over at BluBeagle Designs. She has some pretty fun things on her blog. If you have a chance you should check it out!! 

I am still deciding where to hang it. It will definitely be going in a place of honor!

So thank you Dana for sending me such a fantastic piece, I love it!!

Thanks for stopping by :0)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 - The Year of the Sheep


Happy Lunar New Year! This year is the year of the Sheep (or goat or ram depending on your interpretation).

This year is supposed to be challenging for me but ultimately good luck and romance will prevail - woo hoo!

I hope you all have a wonderful year!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Witchy Green Cleaning - Scouring Powder

This is a re-post of the 4th segment in my Witchy Green Cleaning series.  I hope you enjoy it!! Originally posted January 22, 2104


 If you are like me, cleaning is something that you have to do, not something that you want to do and when you throw in toxic cleaners it becomes something that you hate to do. Well, after last year’s oven cleaning debacle (you can read about it in my original Witchy Green Cleaning post here) I decided that I would be very mindful of every cleaning product I used in my home. Thus, the Witchy Green Cleaning series was born. I researched and tested and researched some more and tested again. I used essential oils and natural ingredients and I am happy to report that after using natural, homemade cleaning products over this past year that cleaning is no longer something that I dread.

My home smells great, is clean and my hands are no longer chapped and dry.

This week I am going to talk about scouring powder. Before I discovered how quick and easy it was to make my own scouring powders I used soft scrub, comet and other similar products.  They definitely got the job done but they are pretty expensive and if I run out it means a trip to the store - ick!

So after a lot of research here is the recipe that I found that works like a charm:


Scouring Powder 
  • 1 cup Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Borax
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 8-10 drops of Essential Oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons Ground Herbs/Flowers/Spices
Easy enough to do and the main ingredients are part of my green cleaning tool kit so I usually have them on hand. Please note that this is a scouring powder and is not for use on granite counter tops or any surface that will scratch easily. Making your own cleaners is fantastic as long as you use them correctly.

I made a large batch of the basic recipe and then used canning jars to store the different batches I made for different areas of the home. To mimic the shaker top I punched holes in the lid using a hammer and nail and then cut circles out of a vinyl table cloth to cover the top when they are not in use. Using canning jars makes covering the holes easy and decorative, all at once! Another idea is to purchase a box of extra lids and use two, one shaker and then one without holes for storage. You can still seal a jar with two internal canning lids. I plan on storing mine with two lids and adding the vinyl top on those I give as gifts.

Before I get into the variations I made, here is the cost comparison for the basic recipe:
  • 1 cup baking soda - .24  
  • ½ cup Borax - .20
  • ½ cup salt - .08 
Total cost for basic recipe is 52 cents for 2 cups of mix. That is less than a dollar for the entire mix and comes out to approximately 3 cents per ounce. If you purchase your baking soda in bulk you can make this for an even better price per ounce! This product compares to Comet scouring powder which is approximately 5 cents per ounce. Not too bad at all and once you have the basics on hand you can mix up a batch in just a couple of minutes. While the cost difference for this product isn't as extreme as others I've made the convenience of making your own is huge!
  
Another great thing about making your own cleaners is that you can personalize them for your tastes and needs. For instance, in the bathroom that is attached to my bedroom I wanted something soothing, something that would make you feel relaxed and comfortable and also something that was romantic - of course. So for this area I choose to use lavender essential oil and dried lavender flowers. The magical properties of lavender are peace, tranquility, romance and love. Perfect!

For the powder room, one that my youngest son calls his own and is also used by any guests in our home I choose a combination of clovebud for its ability to drive away negativity and its protective qualities along with sweet orange essential oil which has the magical properties of joy and energy.  Not only is clovebud/orange a powerful combination, is smells divine! When combining essential oils you only use 4-5 drops of each, not 8-10 drops of each and always make sure you test the combination before you put it in your cleaners! To test how two scents work together place a drop of each on a cotton ball and place it in a baggie. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then check to see how the two scents work together.

 

For my kitchen I choose to use peppermint essential oil with rose petals, it smells clean and wonderful and has the magical properties of promoting action and getting rid of procrastination along with the peace and happiness properties of the rose petals! Definitely something I want in the busiest room of our home!



Not only is this cleaner easy to make is works! Here are the before and after pictures of the sink in my kitchen. This weekend my hubby was making both beer and wine and one of the sanitizes used in the beer making process stains the porcelain of the sink. This cleaner made quick work of that issue!

Here are some other ideas for witchy add-ins:
  • Jasmine: use this in the bedroom since its magical properties include love, sexuality and rekindling passion
  • Basil:  this is great for use in the bedroom and promotes intuition and an optimistic outlook
  • Dragon’s Blood (actually a resin) this is great in any room. Its properties are for power and protection
  • Cinnamon: great for the bathroom as it promotes purification of the body, healing and luck
  • Oregano is nice for any room where you want to feel relaxed. Some of its magical properties are tranquility, luck, protection and happiness.
  • Grapefruit's magical properties are energy and purity, this clean smelling scent can be combined with dried ground grapefruit peel to provide an invigorating cleaner for any room in the house.
Essential Oils

Coffee Grinder and Mortar and Pestle

I prefer to use essential oils when I make my own cleaning products. Fragrance oils are less expensive but I have found that I use less essential oil than fragrance oil and I prefer the scents of essential  oils over the same variety of fragrance oil. 

When grinding herbs and spices for use in my projects I use either the Mortar and Pestle or a coffee grinder that I use only for my artsy endeavors.  The one pictures above was purchased at my local Target store for around $18. 

Please keep in mind any allergies you may have as you create your own cleaners and always test your cleaners on a non critical area before using. I am not an herbalist or a physician, just a simple witch who enjoys making wonderful things!

To see some other amazing scouring powder recipes visit: The Nerdy Farmer Wife

A great resource for making home cleaners is the book TheNaturally Clean home by Karyn Siegel-Maier 


Next up: Witchy Green Floor Cleaners for tile, laminate and wood!

Monday, February 16, 2015

And the Winner is

Sorry this is late!!


The winner of my Grow Your Blog Party prize is...

A Spirit of Simplicity!

Congratulations! If you could email your mailing address to me at AutumnWindReno @  Aol. Com
I'll get your goodies mailed out to you.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by for a visit!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Witchy Green Wednesday: Witchy Green Cleaning - All purpose Cleaner (Re-Post)


This is one of my favorite cleaners! Hands down! It works beautifully and every time I use it the scent makes me smile. Since I make it myself I can change the scent based on my mood, my intent or the room I am using it in.

This is the third post in my Witchy Green Cleaning series; click here for information on a simple bathroom cleaner and here for information on two simple window and glass cleaners. I am testing all of these products in my own home before I post about them here.

Today I am writing about an all purpose cleaner. This recipe is a little more involved but worth the extra effort.

For a 1 gallon container you’ll need the following:
3 teaspoons of liquid Castile Soap (I found this at Target in the bath soap aisle)
2 tablespoons Borax
2 tablespoons Washing Soda
2 Cups white vinegar
12 cups of hot water
Gallon jug - I bought a gallon of drinking water at Walmart so I would have a clean gallon jug to store this in.

Directions:
Mix the Castile soap, Borax, washing soda and vinegar in a large bowl. Slowly add the water and stir Allow the mixture to cool. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into a gallon jug.

You can add essential oil to this mixture as well. I chose to only add it to the mix once I poured a portion into a spray bottle for use. This allows me to change up the scent and purpose multiple times without having to make lots of mix.  This all purpose cleaner also disinfects so you can use it just like you would Formula 409 or similar products.

Cost Breakdown:
3 tsp Liquid Castile Soap = .33
2 Tablespoons Borax = .05
2 Tablespoons Washing Soda = .06
3 Cups White Vinegar = .48
12 Cups Hot Water = .17 (from my purchased gallon jug)
Total 1.09
Cost per ounce = .008 – yes that is less than a penny per ounce!

Comparison
Formula 409 is roughly .18 per ounce. That is a huge savings and the homemade product is environmentally friendly, easy to make and safe to use.

My total initial cost for all of the ingredients that I am using for ALL of the cleaning products I am making was less that $40. It you are just starting out I recommend White Vinegar and Dawn Dishwashing Liquid! Those two will give you plenty of cleaning power for the money! The two most expensive items initially are the liquid Castile Soap and the Vegetable Glycerin which is used as a preservative in the scouring powder I’ll be talking about in my next Witchy Green Cleaning post. While their initial cost is higher than the other ingredients, the amount you use is so minute they will last you a very long time!

Witchy Add-Ins:
With an all purpose cleaner you have so many ways to use it that the essential oils you can use are pretty endless.

Once the weather warms up and the chance for freezing is past I plan on making a small batch to clean the interior of my car and just keep it in there. I’ll be putting in Oregano Essential oil for its protection, happiness and tranquility properties – there are some days when I am driving home in rush hour traffic that some tranquility would be welcome! As you experiment with adding essential oils to your cleaning products always make sure they are safe for skin contact and long term use.

Some other essential oil ideas:

For All-Purpose
Oregano – Happiness, protection and tranquility
Rosemary – Purification, protection and alertness
Peppermint - Rid areas of negativity, create change

Bedroom:
Lavender– lavender is great for love, protection, happiness and peace
Peppermint – this is also great for sleep, love and healing
Patchouli – this one is great when you want to spice it up - properties: sexuality, power and passion

Bathroom:
Grapefruit – to increase energy, this is especially nice to use to clean the shower during the long winter months!
Lavender - peace and emotional tranquility

Car:
Oregano – protection, happiness & tranquility

As you can see from the list above, it is worth making a large batch and putting it into smaller spray bottles so you can personalize the scent or you can just use the base recipe as a fantastic cleaning product!

Next up: A Green Soft Scouring Powder Alternative


*Note* I found this recipe on Cajun Joie de Vivre: http://amybayliss.com/. For my witchy readers please note that her Christian views are very much a part of her blog and could be quite contradictory to your own views, however, I believe that we are all entitled to our beliefs and her site is a wonderful resource for anyone looking for natural cleaning ideas.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blessed Imbolc


Brighid
(Picture from the National Museum of Scotland)

Merry Meet my friends. Today is Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere and today both the night and the day are the same length. Tomorrow the days will begin to grow longer - yay!

I’ll be celebrating this evening with a fire and some champagne – the best way to welcome more sunshine that I can think of, as well as continuing to clean and declutter my home! This will be an ongoing process but what I have found so far is that once I get the excess stuff out of my home I don't miss it (too much) and the energy of the newly decluttered space is so much better!

Imbolc is a celebration of life and as the days grow longer and the earth gears up for spring we will start seeing that new life in the form of buds on the trees and the crocus peeking through the snow covered ground.

The goddess Brighid is honored today as the guardian of home and hearth. The maiden of the Maiden/Mother/Crone aspects of the Goddess, she is the patroness of poetry, arts and crafts, smithing and also of physicians. To honor her you can clean your home of unused or unwanted things, and banish unproductive thoughts and actions from your life. A good spring cleaning is a great way to prepare for the warmer weather and all that it brings to our lives.

Here is northern Nevada the weather has been way too warm for this time of year but I am still really looking forward to more sunshine. I love the long winter nights and the resting period they bring to life but I really like it when I can see the sunshine when I get out of work!

Have a lovely day!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog Party - Welcome!


Welcome to Beneath the Witch’s Moon, my little part of the internet/cyberspace. I am so glad you stopped by. I have been organizing, cleaning and making all sorts of fun plans for the upcoming year.

This is my second year taking part in the Grow Your Blog Party. I am so thankful to Vicki over at 2 Bags Full for hosting this awesome event. Last year I found so many wonderful blogs to follow and even made a couple of friends during the party! After your visit here be sure to click on the picture above to be taken to the blog party page where you will find links to lots of cool blogs to explore.

I started Beneath the Witch’s Moon several years ago to connect with other like minded folks and to blog about my witchy experiences. Blogging has been one of the best experiences of my life. I’ve met amazing people from all walks of life, many different faiths and from all over the world! I have slowly become active with my local Pagan community, which was one of my very first goals, and I have been able to dispel some of the myths that are associated with my witchy faith.

I’m Autumnwind or Debbie, I do answer to both. I am mom to 4 amazing children, an artist, photographer, and a traveler when I am able to be. I have two Jack Russell/Mini American Eskimo Mix pups names Sophie and Alice who are feisty and full of fun. My home is in Nevada close to Lake Tahoe and Northern California. I love the natural beauty of this area and try to spend as much time as possible outdoors.

My blog’s original focus was on my witchy experiences. Over the years it has changed a bit. Last year I tried to do too much and failed so this year I will be getting back to my roots and focusing on my adventures, my art and magical living.


On Witchy Wednesdays I’ll be posting about all things witchy. Currently I am re-posting my witchy Green Cleaning Series. You can check out the first two posts here and here. I plan on posting two Wednesdays a month on Witchy things. These posts will be varied and can include information on the Tarot, Pagan Holidays, Spells, Myths and much more. My intent is that my Wednesdays are full of witchy fun.


On Artsy Monday’s I’ll be showcasing some of the artsy/crafty projects that I am working on. I enjoy figurative sculpture and have take part in many a doll swap. These swaps challenge me artistically and are just plain fun! I also sew, do embroidery work, scrapbook, and basically just love to create. So you’ll see things from those aspects of my life as well. If I find a useful tool or product I’ll share my experiences with it and I have several tutorials in the works including one on making a clay pumpkin head figure. I hope to post at least once a month on these topics as well.

Here is one of the Zombie Doll’s I created for a swap. 
She is based on The Old Woman who Lived in the Shoe nursery rhyme.

You’ll see posts on my adventures including my travels, hiking and also some of my kayaking excursions. I love to try new things, below is me gold panning. I loved the experience though the specks of gold I found are so tiny I have to keep them in a jar so I don't lose them!

Me Gold Panning in Northern California

You'll also see blog parties because I love them! I have participated in Mad Tea’s, Haunted Party’s, Oz parties and more. These parties inspire me to create and then inspire me again as I see what others have created!!

One of the Mad Tea Parties

I hope you enjoyed your visit and will stick around for a while. As you can see, my blog is an eclectic little space. I have enjoyed meeting so many new people and hope to get to know you too!



Leave a comment to be entered into my giveaway. I’ll be giving away this embroidered mug rug and a mug of goodies to one randomly drawn person. You do not need to be a follower to win. Winner will be announced on February  15th

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Witchy Green Wednesday: Witchy Green Window and Glass Cleaner (Re-Post)


Below is the second post in my original Witch Green Cleaning Series. It was first posted on January 6, 2013 (and then in January 2014). I have added a bit more information on Witchy Add-Ins from the original. I hope you enjoy these posts. I have been using these cleaners in my home for over 2 years now and I am thrilled with them! 

This is the second post in my Witchy Green Cleaning series. Click here to see the first post on a simple bathroom cleaner (2015 re-post). 

For this post I experimented with two green window and mirror cleaners.  Both are simple to make and the ingredients are very similar.

Window & Mirror Cleaner 1
This recipe was listed on the Being Frugal website: www.beingfrugal.net
  • 2 Cups Water
  • ¼ C. Vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Original Formula Dawn Dishwashing Liquid
Add all ingredients to a spray bottle. Gently shake to mix.

Window & Mirror Cleaner 2
The second recipe is super simple, very similar to the one above and was found on the Daily Green Website: www.thedailygreen.com
  • 2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1 Gallon Water
 Mix and pour into a spray bottle.

With both formulas you spray the mixture onto your window or mirror and then wipe clean with newsprint, not paper towels since paper towels tend to cause streaking.

My results: Both cleaners worked beautifully. The mirrors were sparkling clean and were streak free.

After the first use I decided to add a tiny bit of essential oil to the second formula. The reason I chose to experiment with this particular formula was because it did not contain the Dawn Dish Washing Liquid and I am pretty confident that if the oil does not leave a film with this formula it will also be fine in the first formula.

Since this product is for windows as well as mirrors I chose to add Bergamot oil for its protection, prosperity and luck properties. I added 10 drops to the 25 oz. spray bottle of my solution.
My results were fantastic. No residue, no smearing and no streaking.

Cost:
Formula 1
2 Cups. Water = .12
¼ C. Vinegar = .04
½ Teaspoon Dawn Dishwashing Liquid = .01
Total:  $.17 per 18 oz batch roughly .01 per ounce

Formula 2
2 Tablespoons Vinegar = .02
1 Gallon Water = .88 (cost for 1 gallon of bottle water at Walmart)
Total= .90 which breaks down to .007 or less than 1 penny per ounce!

Cost Comparison
Windex = $3.49 for 20 oz = .18 per ounce


**New for 2014** Witchy Add-In's
I realized when I was preparing to re-post that I neglected to include additional Witchy Add-In ideas in the original post. You can of course use any of the oils listed in the Bathroom Cleaner post or you can try one of the following:

Bergamot (This is the oil I use) - This oil is great for guest bathrooms and the windows of the house. A few of the magical properties associated with Bergamot oil are protection, prosperity and luck.

Oregano - This is an all around great oil for the bathroom mirror or any room that you want happiness and tranquility in. Some of the magical properties associated with Oregano oil's are happiness, tranquility, health and protection.

Cinnamon Leaf - This is a great oil to use in the cleaner for you bedroom mirrors or windows. Some of the magical properties associated with Cinnamon Leaf oil are love, passion, and luck.  

While saving money is awesome, the fact that I can whip up a batch from ingredients I almost always have on hand, in less than a minute, can personalize the scent to suit my taste and can add some additional magical mojo to my cleaning makes these products exactly what I needed. One more safe cleaning alternative for my home. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to do this. Seriously!

 Next up an all purpose cleaner, this one is a bit more involved ingredient wise but it is very versatile, still a green choice, inexpensive to make and again, I can add some extra oomph to it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Witchy Green Wednesday: A Witchy Green Bathroom Cleaner (Re-post)




Below is a re-post of my first Witchy Green Cleaning Post. I have been using these products for two years now and I have been very happy with the results. My house is clean, it smells great and I don’t worry that I am working with hazardous chemicals every time I pick up my cleaning products.  

My hands are no longer cracked and red after I clean and the products are quick and easy to make. The basic ingredients are easy to find and fairly inexpensive and the final products are much less expensive when compared to the harsher chemical cleaning products. Cost comparisons and prices are included in my posts. 

Since I purchased the first set of ingredients (2 years ago), the only items I have had to buy more of have been Vinegar and Baking Soda. These are definitely cost effective cleaners!

I hope you enjoy my Witchy Green Cleaning Series. Look for them on the first and third Wednesdays of the month.

Originally posted January 2, 2013 (reposed January 2014):

As the year begins I always feel like cleaning, well, pretty much everything! I really like to start the calendar year off with a deeply cleaned house but over the holidays(the day before Thanksgiving) I managed to do some serious damage to my hands because I forgot to wear gloves while cleaning my oven(yes I acknowledge that it was my own fault)! It has taken almost 6 weeks for my hands to be almost healed.  After that horrible experience I decided to make the switch to green products that are economical, easy for me to make at home and safe to use around my family, my pets and in my house.  Above is a picture of some of the ingredients I will be talking about over the next couple of weeks as I make the switch from chemical cleaners to homemade. 

The first recipe I choose to try was for a Bathroom cleaner that I saw on the www.beingfrugal.net site.

This bathroom cleaner is an easy one to make. You’ll need the following:
  • Spray Bottle
  • ½ Cup Original formula Dawn Dishwashing Liquid 
  •  Vinegar (I used white vinegar, it is easy to find and very inexpensive)

Pour the Dawn Dishwashing liquid into the spray bottle and then fill the rest of the way with white vinegar. Gently shake to mix and you are ready to go. Like I said – easy peasy!

Cost for this batch (Based on the prices at my local Walmart and Lowe’s stores) –
½ cup of Dawn =  .24
18 oz of Vinegar =  .36
22 oz Spray Bottle = $2.28 at Lowes
Total Initial Cost = $2.88 (cost decreases each time you refill since you don’t have to purchase a new spray bottle)

Cost for the cleaner comes out to about .03 per ounce (I did not include the cost of the bottle in the per ounce cost because it is reusable and not part of the actual cleaning recipe). Formula 409 is roughly .18 per ounce.

 ** New note for 2014** If you are not able to find the Original formula Dawn Dishwashing liquid you can use the blue Dawn Ultra dishwashing liquid; just cut your amount you use in the recipe in half since it is twice as concentrated. For the above recipe  you would use 1/4 cup of  Dawn Concentrated instead of 1/2 cup of the Original Formula Dawn**
A great money saver and making this product is easy on the environment and on me!

The first time I used this I was thrilled. It did an excellent job cleaning the tub, toilet and counter tops - in the bathroom my boys use – ‘nuf said! It was also easy to make and did not of require tons of scrubbing. There was a very strong vinegar odor at first but that only lasted about 10 minutes. Once the tub was dry the vinegar smell was gone. After that first use I added 25 drops of essential oil to my bottle of cleaner. The result, the vinegary smell dissipated much quicker and there was a very light, lingering fragrance of my choosing, over all - I LOVE it!

Another benefit – I did not cough, my eyes did not burn or water and my still healing skin did not get red, cracked or become sore, in fact, after cleaning all three bathrooms in my house I am surprised at how soft my hands are. I will definitely not be going back to chemical cleaners. 

Now, for the Witchy add-ins…

The fun thing about making your own cleaning products is that, as a witch, you can add a little bit more oomph to the recipe just by the essential oil you decide to add. Of course you want to make sure it has a scent you like as well as a purpose that is compatible with what you are using it for.
A couple of ideas:

Add 20 -30 drops of peppermint oil to clear a room of negativity. This will also help get rid of the tendency to procrastinate and during the holidays it smells very festive.

Add 20 -30 drops of Lavender Oil to balance and calm an area, this is great for bedroom windowsills (mine are tile) and bathrooms, imagine taking a nice warm bath in a room that has been cleaned with a lavender charged cleaner!

Add 20 -30 drops of Sage Oil for overall purification and cleansing, this is a great way to purify spaces between uses of your sage smudge stick!

The variations are limitless! I love working with oils so this was an added benefit to making my own cleaning products. I chose to add Clovebud Oil to my cleaner due to its purification properties, ability to drive away negative forces as well as its tendency to invite abundance. It also has a smell that I find very pleasing!  

What I noticed about adding the essential oil was that there was no oily residue, only a very light scent of the oil that I added. I would imagine that this is due to the small amount of oil used, the fact that I used essential oil AND the fact that it is combined with a really nice grease cutter in the Dawn dishwashing liquid.

One thing to add, vinegar has been proven in many scientific studies to be an effective disinfectant.  Here are some of the sites I visited while researching green cleaners which discuss the effectiveness of vinegar.

Coming Up Next:

A  Witchy Green window and glass cleaner

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Fare Thee Well My Faithful Kitty! You Will Be Missed


Rosie

This year started off with a great loss. My wonderful Rosie, my faithful kitty of 18 years, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and is now playing with her sister Mitten. I had hoped that she could pass peacefully at home but that was not meant to be. I had to take her in to the vet on January 2nd. I was able to hold her in my arms as she passed and she is buried in our backyard under the trees. This week I’ll be making a stone to mark her spot.

It’s terrible to lose a pet (furry friend and companion), we know it will happen, their lives are so short compared to ours yet still we persist on bringing them into our homes and into our hearts. Of course the amount of love and joy they bring to us in such a short time is worth the pain of their loss.

I was fortunate to have Rosie’s company for 18 years. I met her just days after she was born and brought her home as soon as she was weaned. She has been with me through so much and I will miss her. Even though I am still hurting the loss of my beloved girl, I am so glad, so very grateful, that I had her in my life.

I have to share a moment that I had on Rosie’s last day with us. I was cleaning the dog hair from around the hall table when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Rosie’s sister Mitten. She jumped down off the table (the one I was sweeping under) and ran towards the living room where Rosie was laying under an end table. I heard her land next to me and then heard her soft footsteps as she ran by me. Of course, Miss Mitten passed away a couple of years ago. She was my son’s cat and had I not heard her land I would have thought it was just wishful thinking. Here is a link to the post I did about Mitten. It’s so nice that Mitten came to help Rosie cross over. It was such a comforting feeling, knowing that she would have a friend take her to the other side!

I am digging my way out of the depressed mood I have been in for the past couple of weeks. Knowing my kitty was nearing the end of her journey here with me made me sad. I know she is still with me but I will miss her stubborn ways and soft fur!

So, fare thee well my faithful kitty, fare thee well my brave mouser!

Thanks for letting me share my grief. Tomorrow my Witchy Green Cleaning series re-posts will start. I have already scheduled them so my descent in to hermit mode won’t affect them :0)