Strega Jewellry's Blog

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Wheel of the Year: Imbolg



February 2nd, Imbolg or Candlemas as it is sometimes called is a time of quickening.   Beneath the frozen ground, the seeds and roots of returning plants begin to stir.   They have slept through the “dark time” of the year but now begin to awaken as the first signs of the coming spring appear.  Snows melt, the rains begin and the very top of the ground becomes a muddy mess.   Birds and geese begin to return.  The yowling of cats at night marks the start of mating season.  Last night, I knew for sure that spring was on the way.  I smelled a little skunk, roused from his winter sleep.  Did you know that the males spray when they are sexually excited?   Yep.   It’s officially the mating season when you smell your first skunk of the year.

The sap begins to stir in the trees.  One of my favorite memories of this time of year when I was a girl was of my uncle making maple syrup.    He would tap the maple trees.


We would ride the tractor and trailer with him the gather the sap from the trees.  We took mason jars and drank it cold from the buckets.   It tasted like sweet water.   At night, the saphouse was a haven of warmth from the fires and the smell of cooking syrup.   I found a video on YouTube if you are interested in the process.   It is an art to make really good maple syrup.


One of my favorite treats from this time of year was Jack Wax.  To make it, your pour the fresh syrup, boiling hot, on the last of the winter snow.  We had to go up on the mountain to find clean snow left deep in the woods. My aunt would pack the snow in dishes and we eagerly awaited the time when they syrup was just right to pour into our pans of snow.     The syrup does not totally harden to candy but becomes a soft ball of “wax” and eating it is sheer delight.   We would eat and eat.  I found a recipe for jack wax here at Mother Earth News.  

As the Earth begins to quicken in anticipation of Spring, so do our bodies and spirits.   Seed and flower catalogues arrive in the mail.  I pour over them eagerly and plan what I will plant.   I found a great website for ordering herbs and seeds this year.  Sand Mountain Herbs.   If you love unusual seeds, heirlooms seeds and herbs, check out Larry’s website.   I ordered seeds from him and he takes such care to package each group of seeds.  All instructions are written on the outside of the package, sometimes even handwritten.   He has put a lot of love into his site.   There is advice for when to plant and what different herbs are used for.   His prices are so reasonable you will want to buy a lot!

It is still the dark time of the year however and there is still “work” do be done as we go within ourselves and prepare for our own transitions.   This year, I have had a lot to think about.  After my cataract surgery, I can see perfect 20/20 at a distance, something I have not been able to do since 5th grade!  It’s amazing!  BUT, my close up vision, because of the implants, is terrible.   With simple reading glasses, I  can read and knit very well BUT, my jewelry making is very difficult.   I talked to one of my old instructors about it and she said experiment with creating by touch.  There are blind artists you know.   I fought this for a few days then decided to try it out.   I played with my polymer clay and found that I can do this without so much trouble as working with wire.   This may be the path I must take up at this time.

I have a blogger friend, Nan who does these amazing oracle readings with Goddess amulets.   We had talked, at Samhain, about an idea I had to make small Goddesses to go with her readings.   Initially, I had thought to use polymer clay and stamp designs onto it.   As I experimented with my “touch” method, I realized that my tiny figures would be small “sculptures”.   I want them to look primitive.   I played with colors, the colors of the goddess aspects themselves.   This week, I finished my prototypes.   I made them into beads at first but I think they do not want to be beads, they want to be tiny sculptures to be held in the hand.   I didn’t like the colors.  I found I liked the ones I made that looked like stone.   I have some photos here.  They are terrible of course because the sun refused to come out and  help me. The colors look too dark. Tell me what you think.   Don’t you like the stone goddesses better than the colored ones?   Well, except for the River Goddess.   I think she wants to be mostly blue.   Anyhow, this transition was not easy for me.   I spent 2 months when I could not see at all until my eyes were both done and I could see with 2 eyes then another few weeks fighting to “see” and not “feel”.   I am ready to make my 2nd batch now and have confidence that they will turn out much better.

If you are wondering about your own life and transitions, take a look at Nan’s blog and consider getting a reading for yourself with the Goddess Oracle Amulets.

Here are my awful photos of my prototypes of the amulets.






February 5, 2016 Posted by | holidays, Jewelry, metaphysical, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Be Thankful Blog Hop


Man, seems like I’ve had a bunch of blog hops this month!

Marybeth Rich, of Forest of Jewels challenged us to this one.   We all got the same exact beads.  Each of us has their own style so it’s going to be fun to see what all come up with.   Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the beads when I got them, well DUH……that’s how I rolled this month, what can I say?   The beads were shades of greens and browns, really pretty, looking lots like that last hangers on of summer, you know, when the grass and plants and pods are that muted green?  We have to design a piece about what we are thankful for…  friends? money? fame?  world peace?   So let’s get to it.

hand and dollar tattoo sign reach to the light

I am most thankful for my faith, my spiritual connection.  My life has been like a B movie, one thing after another.  Believe me when I say, in the Great Tarot that is Life, The Tower (a card of catastrophe and chaos) has been prominent.

I am Wiccan.  I became pagan when my firstborn died at 2 weeks old.  I had a hard time accepting phrases like “it’s God’s will” and “she’s an angel now” or “god needed an angel so he took her home”.   I searched for some help and I found it in earth based religion.  Many of you don’t know about pagan religions.  We have a dual god/goddess and are closely connected to earth.  I’m going to focus on the Mother for this hop.


You all know I cannot do a post without some mood music to listen to as you scroll.  This is Wendy Rule’s Circle Song, honoring the Four Directions, the four seasons, the four sections of the Circle of Life.


My faith has seen me through terrible times.  Lisa’s death.  An abusive husband and breakup that left me alone with two little kids.  A new relationship with my soul mate, Alfredo.  That didn’t last long.  We moved to Ohio so he could find work and when times got rough here, he got mixed up with serious drugs.  Years ago, heroin addicts were almost unheard of in the Midwest.  He was one of the first.  I had to ask my soulmate to leave and I was alone in a strange city with the Dope Man knocking on my door wanting money that my husband owed him.  I had no job. My husband had taken the car that was in my name so I had no transportation.   Most days, the only way we had food was because I roamed the river banks and found enough pop bottles to cash in and buy milk, bread and eggs.  I was scared and shaky but I prayed and out of this mess came light.  The Dope Man brought me groceries (some light spilled over into his life I guess).  He helped me find a job.

I struggled with 4 kids but we were never hungry again and we had fun together.  Then my oldest boy was in an accident while I was at work.  He suffered head trauma and was in a coma.  I prayed harder than ever.  He lived but at age 13, now had the mental capabilities of an infant who had to be fed, could not talk, and could barely walk.  My child, who could read before he ever went to school, could not put enough words together to make a sentence.  Through faith, things were sent to me, wonderful teachers who helped me learn how to help him,  steadfast friends,  and always my faith that it would not be like the doctors said, that he would forever and always be 13 years old.   Now he is in his 40’s, has a job he loves and kids who are smart and good.

Years went by.  We have a great family.  All of us help each other.  My daughter has finished police academy and is doing her internship.  In two weeks, she will be a full fledged peace officer after finishing high school and the academy with two young children.  In two weeks, I will be taking 3 finals toward my Bachelor’s degree.  My middle son will be graduating and going into the Marine Corps to start working on his dream to be a marine and an MP.  Ben was found 8 days later, murdered and tossed into the Miami River.   The Tower again, utter and complete chaos, our whole world turned upside down.  Our whole circle of friends crushed  Our family broken and scarred.  Standing in the ashes of our dreams, we begin again.

We survived this.  I never finished my degree.  Believe it or not, I’d still like to do it.  I needed only 9 hours of electives, but I had PTSD and for a long time, could not even remember people’s names, people I had known for years.   It’s been a few years.  Another murder.   The “son of my heart”, my daughter’s husband Tim, robbed and shot to death by five guys who jacked him up at the chicken place where he went to pick up some friend chicken for supper.   Unbelievable!  And we thought we were safe, had paid our dues.  Again, the feelings only homicide survivors can know.  BUT through faith and prayers,  our family got stronger, we kept on going.

Time goes by.  My middle son, who never did go into the Marines, was helping a friend when the parking block they were moving fell off the truck and crushed his foot.  Unable to work, 3 little kids, unable to get any public assistance, do you believe that crap and they took his foot.

I am struggling now with excruciating pain from 4 bulging discs and degenerative disc disorder.  Every day is pain.

All these things, life changing things, hard times and what do I have to be thankful for?  I am so thankful that I have had an abiding faith that helped me be strong, overcome and grow.  Of all my friends, I am the one who has the least, a rackety old falling down house, a beat up car, a crappy job that pays minimum wage BUT I am the richest person I know and probably the happiest.   This is not a pity party people.  Nobody here say “sorry” for your luck.  I am strong, I am happy and surrounded by the most awesome family that knows how to stick together, that loves strongly and deeply.   I have friends.  I have respect.  I have so much love in my life and I am blessed.

Green Floral Cross on white

Okay.  Now you know why I am thankful.  Let me show you what I made.   I took that goddess piece from Bead Freaky and changed up the color just a tad because it was all green.  I used a bit of pinotage Gilder’s Paste and a touch of Inca gold and now it looks richer and matches those earthy green beads.  This piece wanted to be LONG.  I’ve been watching the Borgias and the Tudors and all the old religious pieces from way back in the day seemed to be long and ornate.   I used gold which has always been a symbol of richness, of wealth.  This meant I could not use the copper clasp that was sent as part of the bead kit.  It’s a great clasp, but just not large enough for the heavy hammered bronze chain I forged.

close up of hand forged chain

close up of hand forged chain

It just would not work with these links.  I saved it to use next time I make copper links.




focal from Bead Freaky

focal from Bead Freaky


close up of asymmetrical sides

close up of asymmetrical sides

matching leaf and bud earrings

matching leaf and bud earrings

I call this piece, Root and Stem, Leaf and Bud.  It’s from a prayer.

By root and stem, by leaf and bud, by flower and fruit, by all the Earth, I call to you Great Mother.  I ask for guidance, to live and reflect your generous wisdom, to enrich the lives of all I touch as you have enriched mine.  I ask that I  never forget the bounty you provide, that I never be afraid that my needs will go unfulfilled, that I ever be thankful and that I walk on this earth with  footsteps as gentle as the spring rains you send.  So mote it be.

Please stop by my friend’s blogs and see what they are thankful for.  And may you have as many blessings as I


I hope you had much to be thankful for

I hope you had much to be thankful for

Gina Hockett of Freestyle Elements
Carolyn Lawson of Carolyn’s Creations 
Shaiha Williams of Shaiha’s Ramblings
Lisa Knappenberger of LiRaysa Designs
Bianca Medina of Medibeads
Lee Koopman of Strega Jewellry’s Blog
Mowse Doyle of Mowse Made This
Linda Anderson of From the Bead Board

and, of course, our hostess, Marybeth Rich, of Forest of Jewels who also has a giveaway on her blog.   Be sure to check her out.

Since I could not use the copper clasp, I would like to mention Cobalt and Copper.  Check out her Facebook Page.   I’ll be posting a shot of that clasp as soon as I get my design finished.

Important note:  All these great graphics I used are from Graphic Stock.  If you are in need of great graphics for your blog, web page or crafts, check them out.  Check out their free trial offer.

Oh, one more thing.  I got a really pretty lampwork bead as part of my kit.  It seemed too big with all the smaller beads.  My daughter fell in love with it so I hammered out a bronze neck ring to showcase it all by itself.   She took it home yesterday.   I’m thankful I have such a good daughter and could make her happy with this bead.








November 22, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments