Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Make a Pretty Mobile -OR- How to Stop Birds from Flying into Your Window



As you can see from the video, we have a gorgeous picture window that looks out on a back porch, an antique barn (complete with classic broken down pickup truck), and a number of trees. Recently, I hung a bird feeder in a tree in the yard, which has drawn plenty of beautiful feathered neighbors. Tragically, it drew so many that we had a few casualties as birds soared straight into (and then straight away from) our picture window.

After a flurry of discussion and web searching, and the rejection of online advice such as "let your window get dirty," and "put decals on your window," and "that's just what happens in the country," I finally decided to make a mobile that was long enough and sparkly enough to create a visual distraction for the birds without detracting from our beloved view. I also wanted something that would not cause any danger to the glass during a windstorm, so I added cloth-covered beads, and hung the mobile a small distance away.

I had a great time making it, and set the intention for it to be a protective love offering to the birds, and by association, an act of love for the natural world and the realm of the fae. 

You can kind of see how to make one just by looking, but in case you want some more detailed instructions, here's what I did:

1. I found one big stick and two small sticks under the patio where the previous occupants kept their firewood. (Of course, you might find yours elsewhere, or cut them yourself, or even purchase dowels.) I lightly sanded them and anointed them with lemon and cedar essential oil, but this step is not necessary.

2. I tightly tied a doubled piece of hemp twine to each side of the bigger stick, and then knotted them together at the top. (So that I could hang it.)

3. I arranged small sparkly and large cloth-covered plastic beads on five small lengths of fishing twine, tightly tying and securing the ends with small beads, and tied them tightly to desired lengths of hemp twine.

4. After hanging the large stick from a hook, I tied one of the bead strands to the center of the large stick.

5. I then tied the two smaller sticks to either side, and hung equally-weighted bead strands on each side of each.

Extra advice:
  • Make sure all your knots are extra tight, adding additional hemp twine as needed so that the mobile can withstand wind.
  • Take your time and find the lengths that look just right to you, while also making sure that the strands will cover a good portion of the window.
If you'd like more advice or clarification, please feel free to ask in the comment section below! 

...So far, so good! No further casualties, and plenty of birds still eating and chirping away. The mobile is also quite pretty, and a nice, sparkly addition that blends into the natural setting enough so that it doesn't detract from the view.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Deer Protection Rearview Mirror Charm

As you may know, I recently moved to a country house outside of Columbia, Missouri. As you also may know, I was previously a resident of Los Angeles. In LA, no matter how hard you try to follow the rules, it is all but inevitable that one day you will misinterpret a sign, or feed the wrong meter accidentally, and a ticket will appear on your windshield within seconds. This is why, up until now, I have driven with an amulet to ward off parking tickets hanging from my rearview mirror.

Now, however, parking tickets are not one of my worries. Deer, on the other hand, are. While we have been told to be careful of deer while driving, it was not until my partner Ted had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting one the other day that I realized it was time to switch out the parking ticket amulet for something a bit more location-appropriate: a deer protection charm, to keep deer safe from my car and vice versa. If you are in an area similarly populated by our magical fae friends (the deer), you may want to make one yourself.

Here's how I did it.

Ingredients:
  • A scrap of fabric depicting blue stars (a highly protective symbol)
  • A scrap of red felt (a highly protective color)
  • Red thread (and needle)
  • Protective botanicals (and/or other ingredients) as stuffing - I used oats (because "does eat oats") and a dried peach pit, but you could use mugwort, yarrow, garlic, and/or protective gems such as white quartz or hematite
  • A deer image (I was lucky enough to receive the pictured vintage pin as lovely gift not long after we moved, but you could use a patch or a paper scrapbooking image)
  • Sisal twine (hemp twine or ribbon will work too)

Cut one piece of the blue star fabric and one piece of the felt into the shape of the heart. Pin together and sew (wrong sides together), leaving a space at the top to stuff. Add protective ingredients of your choice. Tie a knot in the middle of a piece of twine. Pin the knot to inside top of heart, while pinning sides together as well. Sew closed, attaching the twine as you do so. Affix the deer image to the blue star side of heart.

Hold the charm in both hands and send bright light and positive energy into it. Charge it with the intention to cocoon your car in a pink bubble of light. See this light acting as a protective cushion and friendly deterrent that effectively keeps deer safe from your car, and your car safe from deer. You might invoke Saint Francis of Assisi - as I always do when animal welfare is involved - to help further protect your beloved deer neighbors in this way. (Of course, you could also invoke a different helpful being of your choice.) While you're at it, visualize all other animals being safely protected from your car as well: squirrels, dogs, cats, possums, skunks, racoons, etc. When your visualizing and intention-setting feels complete, say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Blessed be. And so it is."

Hang the charm from your rearview mirror, and let it serve as a reminder to drive with alertness, patience, and compassion.

Monday, December 8, 2014

DIY Orange Holiday Ornaments--A Slice of Rustic Sparkle

"Shabby chic" may be an oxymoron, but it instantly and succinctly evokes a very specific, artfully juxtaposed style. Similarly, the term "rustic sparkle" (which I am coining at this exact moment - take note!) may seem to be mismatched, but it is probably that exact quality that makes what it describes so right. Rustic sparkle = natural materials meets whimsical, glimmery accents. It's every fairy enthusiast's dream cottage: think natural wood grain, cozy wood burning stove, and shimmery crystals and twinkle lights. And these Yule ornaments are rustic sparkle at its best: dehydrated orange slices, dried lentils and split peas, and hemp twine (rustic), meet gold craft paint and rhinestones (sparkle). 

Oranges, sparkly gems, and gold all help make the spirits bright, while celebrating the season by welcoming in the light. Oranges represent the nourishing, brightening, life-giving energy of the sun. 

 Not to mention, I really loved making these things, and they turned out so cute! Plus they made the house smell amazing.

Want to make some yourself? Here's how.

Slice oranges thinly and place them on a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 250 degrees for 1.5 hours, then flip and bake them for an additional 1.5 hours. Remove and cool. (Mine were still slightly moist at this point, so I let them dry for another week, but it appears - from what I've read on other blogs - that you can go ahead and craft at this point if you so desire, and they'll just continue to dry over time.)
Create a hole in the top of each slice with something like a nail.

Paint the outer peel and peel rim with gold craft paint. (resist the urge to paint any of the inside part of the orange. I tried it and it looked chintzy.) Allow to dry.

With Elmer's glue, arrange rhinestones, split peas, and lentils artfully on one side of each slice.

When the glue dries, tie each slice with a bit of hemp twine. I tied the twine in a loop and then folded the un-knotted end and pushed it through, then threaded the top part of the loop through that end and gently pulled. 
 
If you'd like to empower them with a bit of extra, magical cheer, hold your palms toward them and consciously direct bright, golden light into them. Envision them pulsating with this sparkling glow, and encode them with the intention to emanate happiness and joy throughout the season. You might spread the love by giving them as gifts, or save them, use them yourself, and bring them out again next year. (If you save them, remember to refresh the magic by repeating the little visualization and intention).

I hope you have as much fun as I did, and that your house smells just as yummy.

...Yuletide blessings to all!
John Anster Fitzgerald




Thursday, December 4, 2014

GIVEAWAY: A Signed Copy of Every Witch Way!

Oh wow! The paper copy is here! And we're giving away a signed copy, which just so happens to be the only copy in existence and this present moment that is signed by both authors.

In case you're not familiar with this book yet, here's what it says on the back cover:

Just like two snowflakes, no two witches are alike. Journey with award winning authors Ellen Dugan and Tess Whitehurst as they contrast their differences, illuminate their similarities, and generally give you the lowdown on the Craft as they know it. Investigate different sides of oft-debated magickal issues as these very different witches square off on subjects such as:
  • Psychic and energetic protection
  • Can you be a Christian Witch?
  • Does "harm none" mean you shouldn't eat meat?
  • Angel magick: when is it appropriate?
  • House cleansing/clutter clearing
  • Faerie Magic: romantic idea or invitation to trouble?
Packed with plenty of useful charms, spells, rituals, and magickal principles - and served with a generous helping of wit, wisdom, and humor - this fun little compendium will inspire you to happily live the magickal life, while letting your inner power shine bright.

If you're a U.S. resident with a mailing address that is not a P.O. box, just follow the instructions in the widget below. Thanks so much, and best of luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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