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Archive for the ‘arts and crafts’ Category

On Mushrooms

I took a short walk in the woods yesterday, just as the sun was beginning to set.  I visited the birch tree for a time and then made my usual circuit.  I will sometimes deviate and wander from my path – up the hills, over the craggy heights, around the clearing beyond.  Deer season keeps me closer to home, and that is okay because there is always something new to see in the forest.

I love to look at the little things: vine-like moss creeping over the dead leaves; the last of the ferns; the color of rotting wood; a moth crouching against the chill; the every shifting population of fungi…  Mushrooms continue to fascinate me.  I really should look into finding a mycology class.  I would love to learn more about them and which ones are safe to eat.  I don’t often find fly agaric mushrooms in the woods.  This year’s record is three.  Something about their iconic connection to magic and myth has clutched at me since finding my first early summer.  I find myself more observant of all mushrooms.  I’ve never paid them so much attention before this year.

As I walked in the woods,  I realized that.  I also realized that I spent more time getting to know the forest this past summer than I had before.  I finally feel (mostly) safe there.  I feel (mostly) welcomed.  To me, the mushrooms symbolize my growing relationship with this new forest.  As the winter rolls in with it’s uncomfortable bite, I’ve found myself bringing the spirit of the mushrooms inside with me.  Now my tree spirits have mushroom spirit friends.  I cannot wait to post a photo.  They’ve quickly become one of my favorite things to make!

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Sapling Tree Spirit!

One of my most recent creations – a birch sapling tree spirit.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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As previously mentioned, The Artisan Guild in ADF has started making and exchanging artist trading cards.  It’s such a neat idea – I had to be in on it!  Here’s the card I made and sent to Dohle.

The lighting wasn’t the best when I took the photo (I should really get around to making a light box…) but you can see the important bits.  Dohle expressed a fondness for rowan trees and the Goddess Epona so I tried to put them together.  I usually don’t do much appliqué or embroidery so this was fun for me.  The edges were difficult…  I decided to go with a simple repeated zig-zag stitch but I worry that it wasn’t neat looking.  Next time I shall try something new.  That said, I’m very happy with how my first trading card turned out.

This is the card I received from Brighde.  She knew I adore my patroness Brighid, so she made a beautiful collage featuring the Goddess.  It’s hard to see in the photo, but above her are the words “Tonight the world is dark but your flame burns brightly.”  I want to find a frame for it and place it near my Brighid altar!

Finally, here’s something my husband did to me with a sharpie when I was fixated on something else.  It turned out pretty well for something drawn free-hand!  It’s turned me on to the idea of getting a small tattoo on my foot.  I already have a lovely triquetra on my back so I’m thinking about a triskelion. 

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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I envy the professional witches and druids out there.  It’s not that I dislike my career.  I get a lot of fulfillment out of it and find that it’s quite compatible with Druidism.  But when I come home, I’m so exhausted.  I focus on my artwork because a) it’s spiritually fulfilling to me and b) it’s easy to focus on while relaxing in front of a show (unless I’m using a sewing machine…  then it’s impossible).  Free weekends are few and far between.  There’s always something happening.  A ritual an hour and a half away.  Family visitations.  Socializing with friends.  Vacation.  Craft shows.

I envy the professional witches and druids who have time to really focus on more than one aspect of their spirituality.  They have the time and energy to, not only craft, but study herbalism, meditate for long periods, take nature walks, study the lore, write essays and/or books, practice divination, and serve the greater community.  I want that!  That is, at least, my goal for retirement.

One of the biggest reasons I started the Initiate Study Program was because I wanted a structured way to help me explore the other areas of Druidism – trance, magic, liturgy, language, etc…  I’ve found myself moving through it slowly – not out of boredom or disinterest!  I merely have little time and energy.  That said, I don’t want to give up.  I know that, if I sit down and focus, I’ll be able to finish Magic 1 (at least a first draft) very soon.

Taking a sick day has helped me once again realize just how little time and energy I usually have.  I took that day and finished the book I had been picking at for months.  I started to organize my notes on it and even started answering the questions.  I had time and energy – it felt amazing.  I felt like I was getting somewhere in my Druidic studies.  In the summer I felt so alive.  I had free time to walk in the woods, explore the plants in the hedges, tend my herbs, etc…  Now it’s back to the grindstone and back to feeling  spiritually stifled.

Except for art.  It’s the one thing I cling to when everything else goes to the back burner.  I really need to focus on and cultivate that.  Perhaps it’s a calling?

Anyway, I find myself questioning my routine and my priorities.  Should I just focus on art and try to make time for meditation and as my schedule and energy levels allow?  Or should I attempt to make myself a schedule?  I like structure and routine, for the most part.  I could benefit from, at the very least, an attempt to meditate/trance once or twice a week on a set day when Weretoad is working.  That could be a start.  Then perhaps I could schedule myself a day to walk in the woods?  A day to study?  It all goes against what should be my Sagittarian nature, but I need to do something to feel more balanced.

Any suggestions?

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Fairy Costume

Today I dressed as a fairy for Halloween festivities.  Several children asked me if I was Tinkerbelle even though my only resemblance to her was through my green color scheme and jagged fairy skirt – which was much longer than hers, mind you!  I told the children, “No!  I’m a woodland fairy!  I’m not from Neverland!”  


Several children questioned me about my wand – handmade but not consecrated.  Most children are obviously not used to seeing real or authentic looking wands.  To them, everything is plastic and bought at a store.  My bumpy rowan branch with silver wire and bells caught their eyes.  Several asked me if it was a real wand.  I said yes because, even though it was made as a prop, it was indeed modeled after my real fairy wand – a tool I use to open and close the gates during ritual. The impression I received from their wide eyes was that they were hoping that maybe, just maybe, it was real.  More and more children are jaded to magic, but some hold out hope…


One girl asked me to say abracadabra – just to see what would happen.  My heart sank a little.  I didn’t want her to give up on real magic in this world, but I also wanted to be honest.  “Well…  it doesn’t quite work that way.”  She went away with her friends.  I shrugged to myself.  It isn’t appropriate for me explain real magic or its ethics to a child outside of my tribe and tradition.  I doubt she would have cared at this age.  Perhaps she will seek real magic when she’s older.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps she will go through life hoping for a magic that only exists in Hollywood, all the while missing the magic everywhere. 


Then again, perhaps the magic of the imagination is enough for some people, for it is indeed a powerful energy!  Maybe she’ll remember the woman dressed as a fairy with the pretty wand when she’s older.  Maybe she’ll smile and find magic in that moment.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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Samhain is my favorite holiday.  I love the Winter Solstice as well, but there’s something about the magic of this liminal time…  Perhaps it’s the vague boundaries, whimsical to ridiculous costumes, celebrations, harvest food, or simply the visible changes all around.  It’s a great time of year and, for many, it’s when magic and “energy” are most noticeable.  In my opinion, it’s because Samhain and Halloween seem to officially usher in the holiday season.  There’s a thick anticipation in the air mixed with stress and joy.

Samhain snuck up on me this year.  I felt more prepared for it last year after planning my wedding.  I haven’t even carved pumpkins yet, and I realized this morning that I forgot to buy turnips.  Since finding a home in Druidism, I’ve made the effort each year to make a traditional Irish jack-o-lantern with a turnip.  It’s a small thing but I feel connected to my ancient ancestors when I do it.  Perhaps I still have time, but the fact that I’ve forgotten this long makes me sad.

In my defense, I have been very busy. I’m dressing as a woodland fairy this year and I made most of my costume from scratch.  I’ve also been working on the new Artist Trading Card project that the ADF Artisan Guild is starting!  I will be sending my contribution tomorrow and I hope the recipient likes what  I made.  I promise to post photos after it’s been received.

I’ve also been working on other crafty projects in anticipation for an upcoming craft show in my home city.  Check out the latest tree spirit.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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  • I’m working on a fairy costume for Samhain.  I scrapped my original idea which involved a laced vest.  I’m going to try and make myself a chemise type dress with a girdle/faux corset thing around the chest.  I’m trying to go for an elegant but wild look, if that makes sense.  I bought ear tips and need to paint them…
  • I’m signed up to participate in an artisan trading card exchange through the ADF Artisan Guild.  I’m excited about it but need to figure out what to do…  The deadline is approaching…  
  • I really, really need to finish reviewing a DP that was resubmitted to me…  
  • Work is draining me.  It was a short week and everything, but I return home and feel so out of it.  I just want to sit, watch things, and sew/crochet.  So…it’s not like I’m being a total lazy bum, but there are definitely other things I need to work on.
  • Still chugging along on Magic I.  
  • Still chugging along through “The Two Towers.”
  • I’ve been slowly working on two dolls.  Their clothing is coming into existence.  I’d like to get a felting needle to help me with some accessories.  I also started another tree spirit yesterday.
  • I’ve been really horrid about meditation recently.  My discipline gets completely out of sorts whenever I visit family.  I don’t blame them at all – I blame myself.  Still, I see them so infrequently that I can’t justify pulling away to be by myself when I’m down there.  I’m hoping to attend a meditation class at a local yoga center this coming week.  I hope it helps reenergize and refocus me.

( For My LJ Friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ )

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