Strega Jewellry's Blog

jewelry, beads, stone lore, music, kids and nature

Salem Avenue Returns


witchmoon

A few years back, I started a podcast called Salem Avenue.   It’s a mythical place where pagans live.   The podcast is about how to put a bit of magic into everyday life.  It’s a show for people curious about pagan life and how pagans live, day to day.   The hostess is Athmay la Strange.   She talks about stone, herb and animal lore, pagan holidays, and has a strange sense of humor.

witchcauldron

The neighbors:

Orra Cull, a druidic type young man who knows lots of strange and wonderful facts about animals.

Coriander, a fussy hedge witch who has a little dog named Pixie.pixie2

Boline, a kitchen witch.

The nosey neighbors, Ms. Buttinski and her fiance, Mr. Ogler who think pagans are strange folk who dance naked in the yard and do other weirdness that probably should be reported to the police.

Tonight’s episode, due to unforseen technical difficulties is raw and unedited with no sound effects, intro or outro.  It can only get better.  Learn about apple magic and get a recipe for herbal tea that will help with anxiety and depression and one for Four Thieves Vinegar.   No idea what use you would have for something called Four Thieves?   Listen and find out.   Salem Avenue Podcast

apples

juicy apples

 

Advertisements

October 3, 2016 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age, pagan, wiccan | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Imbolg


 

imbolc

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.

maple

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.

gddssdance

gddssgorgon.jpggddssinanagddssnilegddssprimalgddsssheela

gddsssleep

 

gddsswillendorf

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

Wheel of the Year: Samhain


wheelsamhain

Misty mornings, bright, sunny afternoons and crisp cool nights, that’s October.  Then the changes to chill driving rainy days.   It’s the last harvest festival of the year, the final fruits of summer.   Apples, nuts, squash, and pumpkins abound.  The world is filled with glorious fall colors of leaves falling from the trees and smells of dry leaves, bonfires and apples.

fall

All my animals are growing heavier coats.   The grass is brown.   We have plowed the space for next year’s garden and tomorrow, after the rain, I’ll sprinkle the ground with an organic recipe of nutrients that will soak in the soil and enrich it this winter.   A mixture of cola, dish detergent, ammonia, and water will make a great fertilizer for next year’s veggies.

The kitchen smells of hearty soup, a pot of chili or baking on the chilly mornings.   The hens will soon start laying and will give us fresh eggs through the long winter.

All the changes in the weather and the shortening of the days creates subtle changes in our bodies, preparing us for the shorter days of winter.  Our minds shift gears also, from the active mental energy of the spring and summer days to the quieter, more receptive state appropriate to the dark half of the year.   It is a time for divination.   Time to break out the tarot cards, the pendulum, your scrying crystals, whatever you prefer to use to seek answers.

scry

In October is also the great sabbat, Samhain.   For those who are not pagan, it’s just a fun night of the year, a time of frolic and masquerade.  For pagans, it is no small holiday.   It’s actually bigger than your Christmas.
” The word Samhain, comes from the Scots Gaelic word Samhuinn, which litterally translated means “summer’s end.”  In Scotland and Ireland, Halloween is known as Oiche Shamhna, in Wales it’s Nos Calan Gaeaf, or the eve of the winter’s calendar.  With the rise of Christianity, Samhain was changed to Hallowmas, or All Saint’s Day to commemorate the souls of the blessed dead who had been canonized that year. So, the night before this celebration became known as Halloween, All Hallows Eve or Hallantide. November 2nd, became All Souls Day, a day when prayers were to be offered to the souls of all who departed and those who were awaiting entry to Heaven in Purgatory. Throughout time the Pagan and Christian traditions inevitably became intertwined and celebrations have been known to extend from October 31st through November 5th…”

Samhain is both the end and the beginning of the Celtic year.  First, it is a time of Thanksgiving.  For six days before the 31st, which most call Halloween, it’s a celebration of thanks.   Day 1 begins with a lighting of the first candle and giving thanks for all the plants that have died to give both life and comfort to us, for food, clothing, shelter, medicine and things as commonplace as paper, we have plants to thank.

twocrowsparanormal

Day 2:  Two candles and giving thanks for all the animals who have died to feed, clothes and support us.  Day 3 is for the pets who have brought joy, companionship and love into our lives.

Day 4:  for fallen warriors who have poured their life’s blood for our freedom and safety.  Light a candle to honor poiicemen, firefighters and soldiers.

Day 5:  honor for ancestors whose lifeblood, saint and sinner alike, connects to us.  By learning about them and honoring them, we send thanks for the lessons we have learned from them.

Day 6 is more personal.  This is for friends and family who have gone before us to the Other Side, those whose lives have directly touched ours.

Day 7:  With all the candles blazing, thanks is given for all the lives given for our own, all the LIFE connected to ours.   It’s a celebration of life.

It’s also a time of looking inward.  What has this past year brought?   What needs to be “weeded” from my life and how do I prepare for the seeds I will plant in the coming year?   Have my work and spiritual efforts brought forth the “harvest” I expected?   What do I need to do in the coming year to increase next year’s “harvest”.?

samhain

The “Addams Family”  celebrates with a big feast, plenty of food, treats for the little kids and camaraderie.  We celebrate LIFE and we remember our loved ones.   When everyone has gone home, I fix a plate to leave outside for any spirits who drop by while the veil between the worlds is thin.

It’s a magical time!

samhainmagic
“”

October 27, 2015 Posted by | metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wheel of the Year: Mabon


mabon

Most pagans live their lives by the turning of the year.  We pay attention to nature and attune our bodies and minds to the cycles of the seasons.   I’ll be adding blogs posts all year about the seasonal celebrations we observe.  Some, like Mabon, are lesser observances.   You know Mabon as a solstice or equinox.  Most folk pay no attention at all.  September is the time when kids go back to school.  Stores are full of Halloween and Christmas decorations in an attempt to lure people into spending money.

Pagan “holidays” or celebrations are called esbats and sabbats.  Esbats are the lesser observances, sabbats, the greater celebration.

sabbats

This is our wheel of the year.

In September, the harvest is our focus.   The abundance of food is slowing down and the focus is on crops of the vine.   Days are warm and nights cool off.   There is plenty of work to do outside during the warm and often windy days.  Brush must be cut and stacked in and around the firepit.   It will be nice and dry and ready for the Halloween bonfires.

mabonfirepit

Weeds will be pulled a final time and stacked in the compost heap.   My strawberry patch is finally weed free for the runners to grow unencumbered and I have circles the plants with oyster shell for extra calcium to enter the ground over winter.   Clothes can be hung on the line and the winds whip the wrinkle free.   Bed linens are washed and the warmer blankets come out of the cedar chest, filling the house with that subtle scent.  Tomato vines are pulled and the green tomatoes left to ripen in a sunny window.   Herbs are gathered and hung to dry.   The parsley is cut back and the sage, the chives and lemon balm.  Russian sage is cut and put into a glass vase to spread its scent.   Potting soil is mixed with vermiculite and put into a tub for easy  reach when starting seeds in the spring.  The rest of the garden is cleared.

strawberry patch

strawberry patch

clothesline

clothesline

ripening tomatoes

ripening tomatoes

It’s also a time for planting.  root vegetable can have a second plating.  Carrots and beets and kale can be planted in early September and grow until the snow flies.   This year I read about “fairy carrots”.   I’m going to try it.   You can plant 3 or 4 carrot seeds in mason jars.  By thanksgiving, you will have baby carrots for your dinner.   This will be great to show the little kids how root vegetables grow.   Some herbs are actually better for having cold winter months to germinate before they pop up in the spring.   This year, I am adding aconite to my plants.  Aconite is better known as wolfsbane, a deterrent to werewolves and I thought the grandboys would get a kick out of planting this.   We whall see what comes up in the spring.

fairy carrots

fairy carrots

aconite

aconite

I’ve spent a lazy summer sitting in the shade reading books.  The heat just tires me OUT!  This weather energizes me.  I still read outside in the cool evening, enjoying the crickets songs.   The hens will be ready to lay eggs in about 4 weeks.  They go to bed earlier now.  By 7:30, they are in the roost.   My bird friends also go to bed earlier.  Now they are flocking and I can hear so many of them in the trees at night.   They are getting ready tor their long journeys.   Geese fly overhead in formation in the evening hours.  They have practice runs now, also getting ready to fly south.  Their cries mark the official end of summer and the readiness for the cold changes to come.

Yes, I have been incredibly lazy this summer in the stifling heat and humidity.   With the changes, I become energized.   I begin to make links and jumpring rosettes for projects I will work on this winter.

copper links

copper links

jumpring rosettes and chain

jumpring rosettes and chain

I begin to craft some fall jewelry.   Here are some beads I won in a giveaway from Terra Rustica Designs.  Perfect fall colors.   I made them into such a pretty necklace!   Her sandblasted pendants are gorgeous and these beautiful beads with terra cotta color, green and amber remind me of fall’s gorgeous color palette!

Terra Rustica beads and pendant

Terra Rustica beads and pendant\

terrarustica3

terrarustica4

today, I took some of my new ripe tomatoes and made a big pot of chili.   Every September, when I do this, I think it is the best chili I EVER made!   I can almost taste the sunshine.  I put it in the freezer.   It will be my Mabon feast meal along with home made bread.   And the wheel turns.

September 18, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop


swapnhopbadgeWhat a great bunch of ladies in my Facebook group, Bead Peeps!   Linda Anderson, organized a bead swap and blog hop for this month.   We each got a partner and swapped some beads then had to get busy and design some pieces with what we received.  This is what I sent my partner, Shaiha Williams.

partner

She sent me a bunch of really cool beads.  You can read about them here.

swap1

My muse took a break and left me after the Build a Line Challenge and I was worried I would never get done!  But, it’s finally time and here’s what I finished!

The first pieces I made were from the gorgeous goddess pieces she sent me.

swap3

I turned this into two necklaces.   I made a short choker type with just that little blue square.   The center hanger is sterling silver and I can reverse this piece and wear it plain.   That focal came from Clay Impressions.

gdsblesscollage

This longer piece can be worn with the above.    I used that awesome little goddess charm and painted her blue and purple sky colors with lumiere paints.  and put her on a charm holder with a tiny spellbook, a candle I made from bone and beadcaps and one of my own bronze charms that says Blessed Be.  The blue glass pony beads have silver bead caps and smokey amethyst faceted crystals.  Silver infinity chain links are handmade by me.   These pieces are mine!  

gddscharmcollage 

Shaiha sent me some little lampwork bows made by Mandrel 2.   Now, the first thing I thought of when I saw those bows was how many “bad hair days” I have.  The least bit of humidity and my head looks like a dandelion gone to seed.  No lie!   So, I made a little polymer lady with “bad hair” as my focal.   I wanted to keep the bead level simple and focus on the bows so only used a few beads, some hunmetal links and chain that Shaiha sent.   I”m not totally happy with the lady’s face.  .  It does not seem to be defined enough.  I got to figure this out.  But she is ready enough to show here.

badhairdaycoll

I had a totally different idea when I started this piece.   Shaiha sent me beautiful magnesite beads and some gorgeous blue butterflies that she painted herself.  I love the colors.  I also love butterflies flying around the flowers in the summer.   I wanted to make a resin piece.  So, using a picture frame bezel I got from B’Sue Boutiques and a picture I got from Graphic Stock, this is what emerged.  One butterfly lurking around the flowers and one emerging from his Hill Tribe Siilver cocoon.   The darker beads are Swarovski glass pearls and the wire and bead caps are copper.  I’m keeping this one too.   LOL

bpbfflycollage

Remember when I said this little elephant from Okawa  Beads was adorable but I do  not do adorable and he would be my biggest challenge?   I sure had a time coming up with an idea.   I researched the significance of the elephant in African lore and Indian lore and came up with dignity and integrity and some other stuffy and honorable traits.    Well, this little guy, with his flowers and happy face was ready to party.      He wanted to prance and parade through the town!  I wanted beads that would bring out his flower colors so I used some ceramic beads I had and some sari silk for a festive look.   I loved the beads Shaiha sent, but these worked better for what I wanted to do.   Don’t you think he looks like a happy little guy?

Short side note to Shaiha:    I have a toddler grandson who loves to work with me.  He was fascinated with this little elephant.  Somehow, the tip of that jaunty little hat was broken when I next took it out of the bag  That is why there is a bead cap on the tip of his hat.  (I expect he might have had a run in with “the Justice League or some Transformers or perhaps a giant anaconda).  With a touch of silver Gilder’s Paste on the trim, it almost looks like it belongs there.

bpelecollage

Because the beads I used for the elephant were so large, I could not incorporate  the little elephant clasp.  And he is so cute!   So I made some sari silk bangles and still thinking about  Africa, I used bright colors.   This is a set and he is perfect for a charm.   I’m going to  put some bells on these bracelets too.

elebraccollage

Anyhow, you can see I had a good time.   Please stop by Shairha’s blog and see what she made with what I sent to her.   Here is a list of the rest of the hoppers.   Check them out.

Bead Peeps Swap N Hop 2015 
Partner List  

 Our Hostess: Linda Anderson from http//:fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com

Linda Anderson http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Marica Zammit http://www.beadlovelies.com
Linda Anderson http://fromTheBeadBoard.blogspot.com
Jessica Hocutt https://faithfamilyandadventure.wordpress.com
Kristina Hahn Eleniak http://www.peacockandlime.wordpress.com
Debbie Jeffries http://wordpress/debrasdivinedesigns/blog.com
Rosantia Petkova http://bairozan.blogspot.com/
Shalini Austin http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk/my-blog/
Catherine La Vite http://drygulchbeadsandjewelry.blogspot.com
Annica Larsson http://zestyfrog.wordpress.com/
Lori Schneider http://beadaddicted.blogspot.com/
Divya N http://www.jewelsofsayuri.com
Mowse Doyle http://mowsemadethis.blogspot.com
Fay Wolfenden http://torchfairy.blogspot.com
Kathy Lindemer http://bay-moon-design.blogspot.com/
Claire Fabian http://saraccino.blogspot.de/
Janice Warden Bergeron http://thejewelryroom.blogspot.ca
Natalie Davidson http://www.northshoredays.com
Deb Fortin http://www.studiok24.blogspot.ca
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com
Karen Mitchell http://overthemoon-design.com
Robin Reed http://willowdragon.blogspot.com
Marie Covert http://thistledown-and-swaddlings.blogspot.com/
Alicia Marinache http://www.allprettythings.ca
Nan Smith http://www.wirednan.blogspot.ca
Johana Nunez http://artincendi.com
Kelly Hosford Patterson http://travelingsideshow.blogspot.com/
Lori Blanchard http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com
Sue Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com
Shai Williams http://www.shaihasramblings.com
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Candida Castleberry http://www.spunsugarbeadworks.blogspot.com
Erin Guest http://www.renlish.com
Nicole Rennell http://nicolerennell.com/blog
Ien Temaluru http://ienmaginationsjewelry.wordpress.com
Robin Showstack http://heartsdesiresjewelryforyou.blogspot.com/
Sam Waghorn http://palemooncreation.blogspot.co.uk
Marianne Baxter http://www.simplyseablimejewelry.blogspot.com
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com
Shai Williams http://shaihasramblings.com
Lee Koopman https://stregajewellry.wordpress.com      X (you are here)
Jayne Capps http://mamasgottodoodle.blogspot.com
Marti Conrad http://marticsclay.blogspot.com
Tina Bosh http://bookbug-somanybookssolittletime.blogspot.com/
Eleanor Thomas http://woolywireetc.blogspot.com
Jeanne Steck http://www.gemsbyjeannemarie.blogspot.com
Gloria Allen http://www.wingsandbeads.blogspot.com
Rachel Mallis http://www.mintmonarch.com/#!blog/c1jlz
Andrea Glick http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
Stephanie Stamper http://skwds.blogspot.com
Chris Haussler http://pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Betony Maiden http://www.beadwenches.blogspot.com/
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickjewelrydesign.com/blog/
Jenny Kyrlach http://anafiassa.blogspot.com/
Colleen Foley http://colleenfoleycreations.blogspot.com
Marybeth Rich http://forestofjewels.blogspot.com/
Marcy Lamberson http://www.StudioMarcy.blogspot.com
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell http://www.deelitefuljewelrycreations.blogspot.com
Ginny Lones http://www.Skippingintotheunknown.blogspot.com
Maria Rosa Sharrow http://willowstreetshops.blogspot.com
Loretta Carstensen http://designsbyloretta.blogspot.com
Dolores Raml http://craftydscreations.wordpress.com
Michelle McCarthy http://www.fireflydesignstudio.blogspot.com
Louise McCormick-Glazier http://jewelrytreasuresbylouise.blogspot.com/
Heather Richter http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Tammy Adams http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog/
Shirley Moore http://beadsandbread.blogspot.com
Seed Beaders
Susanne Stelljes http://pearlify.blogspot.de
Sheila Prosterman http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com
Pallavi Asher http://kalaabhushan.blogspot.in/
Jami Shipp http://celebratinglifewithdamamashipp.blogspot.com
Peggy Kosier http://www.kosydesigns.blogspot.ca/
Andra Weber http://andrasjoyfuljourney.blogspot.com
Catherine King http://catherines-musings.blogspot.com
Krafty Max http://kraftymax.com
Sierra Barrett http://giraffecanhas.wordpress.com
Lois Sherwood http://thiznthat5454blog.wordpress.com
Katy Heider http://onthepondcreations.blogspot.com
Rebecca Robertson   (White) http://morganafeycreations.121hub.com/
Heather Richter http://desertjewelrydesigns.blogspot.com
Brandy Collier http://bhjewelry.wordpress.com
Stephanie Haussler http://www.pixybugdesigns.blogspot.com
Lori Blanchard http://alainnjewelry.WordPress.com
Kathleen Breeding http://99bobotw.blogspot.com
Becky Pancake http://beckypancakebeaddesigns.blogspot.com
Renetha Stanziano http://lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com/
Tami Norris https://jewelrybytami.wordpress.com/
Ginger Bishop http://lilmummylikes.blogspot.com/
Peggy Johnson http://charmbarn.blogspot.com

 

May 2, 2015 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Be Thankful Blog Hop


bethan

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…..family?  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.

womens-day_1100011120-1013int

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.

006

 

 

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.

044

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Twice as Nice Bloghop


Welcome! It’s the 14th Bead Soup Café blogger/non blogger challenge and the first one I’ve joined. this one is sponsored by Toltec Jewels. We’ve got 2 palettes to design from for a not so typical Christmas in July hop.   Check them out.  I love both of them!

twiceasnicehop

I’m not crazy about Christmas.  As a pagan, YULE is my winter celebration.   For pagans, Yule is one of the lesser holidays, not at all like Christmas which is a HUGE deal!   Even so, it has a lot of meaning.   Yule celebrates the longest night of the year, a turning point.   We know that even though the coldest part of the winter is yet to come, after Yule, the Long Night,  the nights begin to get shorter and the days begin to get longer, a few minutes every day.  It marks the beginning of the end of the “dark season” and it’s a time of great hope and the promise of spring to come.

In older times, the choicest of the winter stores would be taken out and used for the winter feast as a token of faith that the Lord and Lady would see you through the lean times ahead, a symbol of your belief in the promise of the spring and summer to come, when once again fresh food would be in abundance for all.  Even though your winter stores were getting lower and the game animals were finding it hard to feed themselves and becoming scarcer, that feast would happen.   These days, we don’t have to worry about such things but we still celebrate Yule.  It marks our faith that through any dark times, we will be sustained.   Yule is a happy festival and besides having good food and gathering with good friends, you want to give a special gift to those you care about…….one gift, not a shower of presents like Christmas…..one gift that means something.

First, how about a little mood music?   Here’s a tune that has been used hundreds of times to represent witchery in all kinds of movies and television scores……Carmina Burana.   The video is pretty cool also.  If you have time to watch and not just listen while you scroll.   It has a joy about it that reflects the season.  It’s a beautiful rendition of Carmina Burana and by far my favorite “Flashmob” video!

 

I really was drawn to that first palette.   I like that nature theme and while I like the colors in both palettes, the nature theme seems more wintery to me.  I pulled some colors from that first picture for most of my pieces.   I like the fact that is not all red and green like the usual Christmas colors.  There are browns and greys and blues and lots of white/silver for the snow.  And the red and green are more natural, not the glaring brights of the ho ho ho Christmas.   I did take that red color a couple of shades darker but I still think it works.   If you don’t agree…………well there’s plenty of snow to pelt me with a few snowballs.

First up, I made this locker hook bracelet  cuff.   I do love a cuff and the sari silk I had on hand seemed a good match.  I sewed on a a copper filigree then attached a piece of dichroic glass that I made way back when I first learned to make dichroics.  The gold in the sari silk is a bit festive and the copper has an earthy look I love.

 

030

 

Now for a necklace to go with that sari silk.   I had fallen in love with Badger Beads on Artfire.    The artist, Jayne LaRette is a fabulous and friendly lady of great talent.   This beautiful focal bead is the perfect match to the green in that palette AND, it came with 2 matching beads that would give me a pair of earrings.  Woot woot!   I made a faux four-in-one chain, used a copper  disc I hammered out and a bit of sari silk.   The bead can stand alone, it’s so pretty.   I makes a happy little tinkle sound against the disc.

 

copper necklace

copper necklace

 

I have to show you the bead up close

011

and the chain with the sari silk

014

and let’s not forget the earrings……

007

 

 

I was so excited about the beads I saw in Jayne’s shop, I wrote her a note with the order.  We are guild sisters on Artfire and I like to share my guild sister’s work.   I told her in the note that the bead was going to be my focal and I was so excited about this hop and blabbered on.  I guess I got her excited also because she sent me another bead as a gift and told me to play with it.   PLAY with it!   My favorite words!  And gift!   What a wonderful gesture!   If you get a chance, check out her studio on Artfire or visit her Facebook page and say hello.

This focal bead is such a deep beautiful midnight blue, its perfect to symbolize the Long Night.  I do hope you can see the swirls of antique gold in   I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it until I was listening to some Celtic music that just happened to have a lot of bagpipes.  Well, what is a festival without music and bagpipes?   EH?  (that’s the cue for some more mood music folks, get ready!)

 

While the colors in this piece are not in this palette, I still needed a Yule gift, so thought I was justified in digressing just a little.   I used antique brwass wire.   Trying to get over my Fear of Fiber, I thought I would add some plaid fabric for a woodsy tartan………just a bit.  This called for a some simple work to really focus on the beauty of the bead.   I almost think this could be a unisex piece with the leather cord.

bagpipe necklace

bagpipe necklace

 

and let’s take a closer look at that bead with its gorgeous deep blue and swirls of gold and iridescence……woooooot  I’m having fun now!!!

054

 

 

Okay, I’m back to the palette on this next piece.   I pulled out the grey and blue from the wolves and shadows, used a bit of silver for the sparkle of the snow and that woodsy reddish brown.   My little goddess is the focal.   She is Sister Red Star, made from red tiger’s eye and red jasper.   Jasper is a protective and nurturing stone and tiger’s eye helps you make right decisions.   Her energy is the sparkle of a red star in the dark night sky…..a beacon, urging you to forge ahead, the Road is clear.  Trust in the protection of your guides and your instincts.  Her beads are pietersite, a playful stone that helps you pull a childlike quality from deep within.  The energy of the piece is perfect to see you through the rest of a dark cold winter or the dark cold times of your life.

040

038

that is a lousy picture of those beautiful beads of brown and bluish grey but it’s too late now…..sigh……

Oh, I’m getting way too deep here, let’s lighten up a bit.    I did want to make something in the second palette with all those beautiful colors.   I found some perfect beads from Spawn of Flame on Artfire.   Look at these beauties!   They are lampwork in that beautiful watery blue green with rivers of silver running through them.   Rosemarie calls them Little Sirona.  Sirona was a Celtic goddess of healing springs who had numerous shrines around sulphur springs and wells .  I thought she would be a perfect “woodsy” goddess for this palette so I created these little “rain chain” earrings.  What a perfect gift for someone in need of healing energy or who wants some bubbly energy from flowing springs.

041

I think I like the shorter pair the best

042

 

 

Almost as an afterthought, I made these wreaths, pulling only the green and red from the first palette.   They are traditional Christmasy, yes?

058

 

Okay, that’s all for me today.   Please stop by and see Rita from Toltec Jewels who is our hostess for this hop!  Thanks Rita fir such a fun challenge!

 

  1. Toltec Jewels
  2. Renetha Stanziano – www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com
  3. Dini Bruinsma –  http://angazabychanges.blogspot.nl
  4. Tammy Adams – http://www.paisleylizard.com/blog.html
  5. Blanca Medina – http://www.peru-medesigns.com
  6. Chris Eisenberg – www.wanderware.blogspot.com
  7. Krafty Max – http://kraftymax.blogspot.com
  8. Robin Kae Reed www.willowdragon.blogspot.com
  9. Kathy Lindemer  – Bay Moon Design
  10. Marde Lowe – www.fancimardesigns.blogspot.com
  11. Andrea Glick- http://zenithjade.blogspot.com/
  12. Lee Koopman  http://stregajewlley.wordpress.com
  13. Natalie Davidson — NorthShoreDays.com
  14. LiliKrist – http://pcbylik.blogspot.com/
  15. Lori Anderson  www.PrettyThings.com
  16. Tami Norris
  17. Klaudete Koon
  18. Ginger Hammond www.facebook.com/lynnleighdesigns
  19. Kathleen A Breeding http://99bobotw.blogspot.com/
  20. Veralynne Malone www.veradesigns.blogspot.com
  21. Shalini Austin – http://jewellerybyshalini.co.uk
  22. Sheila Prose-http://catswithbeads.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2014 Posted by | challenges, fashion, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pagan Blog Project: Imagination & Inner Sanctum


One tool I find invaluable in practicing my faith is imagination. I could not do active visualization without it. When I want to work on healing, I visualize a walk through a field, climb a hill and discover a hidden cave full of healing crystals.

blogcrystals

 

One of my favorite exercise in visualization was to create an “inner sanctum” in my higher mind, a veritable workshop where I could relax and do spiritual work.  This is an exercise in autohypnosis.  Anyone with imagination and visualization skills can create this inner sanctum, breathing, sitting still, relaxing and relaxing some more. Use all of your sense to visualize, hear, see, touch, taste and smell.

One must first think of their mind as a very tall building, or mountain or house at the top of a mountain.  You want to get as high spiritually as you can go.   Once inside the building/mountain, whatever, you enter an elevator.   Mine is an old fashioned Otis elevator.

blogelevator

Inside this elevator are only 2 buttons.  One for UP and one for DOWN.   You will use the “down” button only once.   Take it to the lower corridor where all your baser instincts reside, where greed, revenge, envy, sloth, the 7 deadly sins, if you will.   Don’t get off the elevator, just let the door open and look down the hallway…..

blogdesolation

this is where you do NOT want to be, at the lowest level of your mind.  Hurry and close the elevator doors, tape over that button or smash it with a hammer and vow you will not go back.   Push the UP  button.   Go as far up as you need, relaxing your body as you go.  When you feel calm and ready, let the elevator door open.   You will enter a hallway that is clean and smells of wood polish.  There is a sign that says……to Theta.  (Theta is the deep area of your mind where hypnosis or autohypnosis takes place, where you go when you dream)  Count 10 steps down this hallway, relaxing more and more as you take each step.  At the end of this hallway is a door.  Relax as you stand there.

blogdoor.

Once you open the door, you will be inside your highest mind.  The room where you work will be available any time you want to relax.  You can decorate it any way you want to.  With practice, you can go here any time you wish.   I’ll tell you about my room.   Just inside the door is a comfy leather chair that faces a large gothic fireplace.

blogfireplace

To the right of my chair is an old rolltop desk where I can write messages if I want.   Sometimes, I like to write a letter to someone who has crossed over to the Otherside, like my dad or my son.  I use a quill pen and parchment paper, then put that message in a bottle and toss it into the Sea of Universal Consciousness.   Sometimes, I write down a blessing or a wish.

blogdesk

There is a curio cabinet, right full of medicines, herbal cures for any and every illness.   There are powders and potions for all kinds of things.

blogcabinet

And to my left are glass doors that open on a beautiful beach where there is shining sand and a gorgeous sea…..the Sea of Universal Consciousness.  I can walk down that beach any time that I wish.   Sometimes I write in the sand…..maybe I write to a friend who is far away, just a quick, I love you.   Maybe I write to a sleeping child or a child who is far from my physical realm.   I write in the sand and watch the waves take my message out into the sea.   Somewhere, it is received in the mind of the person to which it is sent.

blogocean

I always find peace here.

 

 

May 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hex and Hex Signs


According to Wikipedia, a hex is “a magical spell, usually with a melevolent purpose, such as a curse”. We all know this. And, even if you are not pagan, you know some sort of way to offset a hex, you have a charm or amulet or lucky clover or you wear certain gemstones or your lucky shirt or carry a lucky penny. What fascinated me, when I started thinking about hexes, was a group of very seriously Christian folk who use pagan practices as part of their everyday life.

Early in the 20th century, these signs became a common sight on barns in Pennsylvania. Their simple folksy beauty became quite popular and their use spread. This type of art became well known all over the United States. I’m talking about the Hex Signs.

hexsign1

You’ve all seen them somewhere, particularly the distelfink. Distelfink is a German/Dutch word for goldfinch, a very common bird in this area. A distelfink in a hex sign is a symbol of good luck or good fortune.

Goldfinch a good luck bird

Goldfinch a good luck bird

 
So, who ARE the Pennsylvania Dutch? In the 19th century, and ending about 1863, a great influx of immigrants came to this country, not from Holland but from southwestern Germany, the Rhineland and Palatine areas, Baden-Wuttenberg, Alsatians, Swiss and even French Protestants. They came here seeking religious freedom. They spoke German or Deutsche and became known as the Plain Dutch (obviously a corruption of Deutsche. BTW, the German word for Germany is Deutschland). Plain Dutch differed from the more affluent Dutch (from Holland), who more easily assimilated themselves into mainstream America. Groups of these folk have become known as the Amish, Dunkers, Shakers and Mennnonites.
They live somewhat apart from others and have a closed society so not a whole lot is known about them.

Not much is known about their practices and beliefs outside of their own culture. They appear to be strict Christians who do not embrace “worldly” practices nor technology. If you look a bit closer, you will find that their folk magic is an integral part of their everyday lives. The tradition of Pow-wow goes back a long way into their past. Pow-wow is an Algonquin term and was borrowed from that native culture. For American natives, a pow-wow is a gathering of Indians and particularly medicie men.

For the Deutsche, the term pow-wow refers to a collection/study of European magic spells, folk remedies and recipes. The formulas mix Christian prayers, magic words and simple rituals to cure simple domestic ailments and rural troubles. The tradition is also called Speilwerk.  (Hey, that looks suspiciously like “spellwork” to me)   Its adepts are sometimes called hexenmeisters. The tradition of hex signs painted on Pennsylvania barns in rural areas is believed to relate to this tradition and some think the symbols for pentagrams were talismanic decorations.

The hex signs do have symbolic meanings. They were used to decorate indoors until the early 20th century Quilts and wooden household items were decorated with these designs to protect the home and hearth. When paint became more affordable, the decorations moved to the barns. After that, they became popular and now can be found even in jewelry items.

 

Hex Daddy

Hex Daddy

 

The nex daddy sign keeps away plague, famine and the evils of the world.

 

hexgdlk.faithinself

 

This hex sign uses both the distelfink and the Irish four leaf clover for luck and long life.

 

Pow-wow doctors use the Bible, the 6th and 7th books of Moses, a magical text which clams to be a sort of sequel to the biblical books of Moses, the Penteuch, and teh Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus along with a book called the Long Lost Friend, (Der Lange Verborgene Freund, published 1820). An excerpt from the 6th and 7th books of Moses: ……….”.we must first become Christians before we can perform cures by Christian methods.” But some cures , expecially in the Urlasswe practice speak of deities such as Holle, Frost Giants, Wudan (Odin), Dunner (Thor), and Ewicher Yeeger (the Eternal Hunter).

Some cures, have a definite pagan resonance such as this charm for cataracts

Es Wassaer, des salz
Es Wasser,des salz
Des Salz iss am vergehne
glaarer binnich yetzs am sehne
Die Holle schteeht geeich yeder schaade
Kummt sie mir un heift mir graade

“the Water, the Salt
The Water, This Salt
The salt is ceasing to be
Clearer now do I see
Holle stands against every harm
she comes to me and helps me now

and pagan folk, how about this hex sign, the Eternal Oak which stands for strength in body and mind….remind you of the Oak King?

Eternal Oak Hex Sign

Eternal Oak Hex Sign

 

I know this isn’t strictly a pagan post but I did think it was interesting that folks we think are SO  very different from us have roots in the very same pagan belief systems that we do.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, New Age | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

FOOL


Traditional Deck/Ryder-Waite

Traditional Deck/Ryder-Waite

The Fool is one of my favorite cards in the Tarot deck. There is usually such a look of innocence and trust about him. Whenever I check out a new deck, I take a long look at him.

Mystic Dreamer deck

Mystic Dreamer deck

I’ve seen different interpretations for the Fool.  I’ve heard readings where there is usually an admonishment when he is present, not to rush into things, to look before you leap.  I’ve heard that old saying quoted “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”.   I’d like to voice my own thought on the Fool and why he pops up in a reading.

Druidcraft deck

Druidcraft deck

Most all of the Fool cards show him with his face uplifted, looking upward and ignoring where he is stepping.   His little dog usually accompanies him, jumping for joy as they travel.  He seems to have everything he needs in his little hobo pack.   I believe he is trusting in the Divine and traveling accordingly. His little companion echoes that trust and love.

His trust in his divine creator leads him where he needs to go.  I think he is telling us to Trust……..in our spiritual side, our beliefs, to take our God-given gifts our talents and step into the future.   Yes it may seem like we are standing on a precipice and yes, we could go tumbling to disaster, but we trust that there is a place to step just ahead, a place where we are meant to travel.   It’s fine to be prepared, to think ahead, to make a plan for our actions BUT, if we worry a decision to death, we will be standing in place forever or may miss a great opportunity or experience.  Don’t worry about a dozen different routes, take that first step, start that new path and take with you what serves you well do not bring extra baggage.   You will go where you were meant to be.  Even if you make a mistake, or you are not wildly successful, there is a lesson there you must need to learn.   Trust.  And travel lightly.

March 14, 2014 Posted by | folklore, Jewelry, metaphysical, New Age | , , , , , , | 2 Comments