Tuesday, October 11, 2011


First off, hello to those who just found my blog thanks to the Real Witches of Halloween event! Thanks for checking me out and possibly sticking around to hear what I ramble on about.

I've always thought of myself as a crafty person, but not in that unhanded 'oooo I'm gonna get ya' kind of way.  I bake, I cook, draw, write, and make jewelry. What has always escaped me, though, was crocheting and knitting. I know many women who do this: my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my sister, aunts, friends and even my grandmother. I look at the end product and want to do that but I'm nothing but thumbs when it comes to attempting. Luckily, though, I may have found an alternativeNålbinding! 

Nålbinding, or Needle Binding, is something that I just kinda stumbled upon. I was looking through sites on Norse history and mythology and the next thing I knew I was looking at this craft. I love working with my hands(making hemp necklaces and the like are my favorite) so it instantly piqued my interest. I looked through many pages of history and how-to videos and picture instructions before I went running to Grendal with the specifics of making a needle. It was a quick make so I found myself sitting in the living room trying my damnedest to make it work. It took me the better part of the day but I know how to do a simple line(the Oslo stitch apparently). The thing doesn't look too pretty but I can do it! My goal is to make a hat for Grendal(I'll be a dork and post pictures of the progress whenever I get it going), one that should keep him warm during the winter. :)  He'll be one step closer to being a viking in his own right.

Links(the ones that helped me):

Nålbinding- Viking history
Bernhard's Nålbinding Site

Another nifty thing I've found myself getting into is the idea of working a loom. This, though, I've been fascinated by for some time. Rather than jumping into working a large one I've decided to stick with an inkle loom. I'll be making belts and what not, but I'd rather have something that small and learn that I don't like than get my hands on a large one and figure that out. :\  The loom will take a little longer for me to get and prepare so I can't go into much detail about that.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Black Birds

I've always liked Crows and Ravens. I don't really know why but I do. Recently I've began to notice more and more Crows in the area, almost always in duos. What strikes me as odd is the fact their population in the area either increased or became more noticeable(believe me when I say that I keep an eye out for these birds) when I began to study the Norse deities, more importantly Odin. I do know that Crows and Ravens come from the same family but they're different enough. While Odin's birds are Ravens rather than Crows, I don't think Ravens would fly so far from their normal homes just to make a connection. Let me just say that I'm not one to go around and saw everything is a sign from this deity or that one. I don't know why but I study the moment and really look at it from every possible angle(yay for being a Libra). Either it was some sort of 'sign' or it was just a very strange coincidence that the crows have shown up in force.

One thing that I suppose I should note is that this isn't the only time that I've had odd occurrences with these birds. Over 12 years ago, I think I was sophomore in high school, I was sitting on the back porch talking to a friend over the phone. I was really expanding my views and capability with Paganism in general about that time, and I was pretty much alone(no friends were 'into it' and I had to do it in secret for the time being). While my friend and I were chatting two large black birds landed in the yard. When I saw large I mean LARGE, like the height of a Bald Eagle. While that species does appear here randomly, these two were juveniles. These two were pitch black rather than brown. I had made a comment to my friend that these two crows were in the yard. While we chatted I watched them. They moved through the yard and towards the house....i.e. me. I was growing more and more nervous as they kept walking and made sounds at each other. When they reached the halfway point in the yard I hurried inside. I never say birds like that again and I still have no explanation on what they could have been. I've recently looked at images of the birds in the area and nothing matches up.

So while part of me just dismisses it, another part likes to think that Odin had attempted contact before and I'm now able to listen.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Turning the Wheel

Grendal was nice enough to get our connection to the internet back in working order, plus cleaning out the machine so it runs a bit faster. With that being done I can talk about that book I've been meaning to. Just let it be known that I haven't written a book review or even a book report in years, so it may be disjointed and full of rambling. :P

I don't remember how, exactly, I stumbled across Wheel of the Year: Living the Magical Life but I found it after Yule of last year and bought it for myself. The book doesn't hide what its going to talk about, telling you right up front that you'll be going through the months of the year and seeing the connections of the seasons. It talks about old and more modern traditions for the various holidays and Sabbats. Each chapter starts out with a description of how the month has effected the world around the authors' farmstead, weaving a beautiful image, before jumping into tradition.

The pages are filled with little crafts to do, as well as some simple spells that connect with that month's over all feel. I just re-read October's entry and found myself overly excited for the weeks to come. Don't go into this book in hopes of finding out the history of each Sabbat. That's not what this book is here to do and there are many others out there do that, which is probably why the authors shied away from doing so.

Over all the one down fall to this book is the fact that it seems to be the epitome of picturesque witchy living. Big farm house, nice fireplace, large garden and orchard, etc.  While I do live on a nice piece of land and may be able to mirror a few things garden-wise, most others live in large cities and these things are hard to accomplish. I do suppose that this book follows the rules of many other Wiccan books out there when it comes to spells: these descriptions are guide-lines and inspirational notes that should lead you to do what you are capable of doing. (quick example) While I love the idea of doing ocean magic, I'm way too far from an ocean to do anything but I do have reasonable access to rivers that flow there. With a few modifications I could make it work.  The same applies to this book: Modifications may be necessary.

All in all this book has rekindled my love of the seasons and my want to tune myself with the ebb and flow of them. I have found myself watching the happenings of the birds and nature in general, and learning new things that seem to herald the changes. This year I learned from Grendal's father that after the cicadas start their songs it'll be around 3 weeks before it starts to get chilly(this is what he was told, by his mother, when he was a child). Me being curious, I kept 'watch' and sure enough 3 weeks later we had a cold snap. :)

The book is worth a flip through if you can manage to find. I didn't have the opportunity to peruse it before purchasing but I don't regret it. This book sits proudly in my bookcase, alongside the other well read books.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh noes! The internets....

Grendal's parents decided to mess around with the router in the house, thus disconnecting our computer from the web while keeping theirs in semi-working order. I was going to post a slight 'review' of a book last night but with a mixture of messed up internet and the fact that I left work an hour and half later messed that up. While the internet is still in the house I either have to blog on the TV in the living, use a dinosaur of a laptop, or just wait it out. The wait might not be too long. Hell, Grendal may have everything fixed by the time I get off of work tonight but I don't know for sure. :\

In other news, I think I may have to search for a new job. I love the people that I work with. Hell, I met a fellow Pagan in my department and we chat whenever we work together but that can't keep me going. The place I work at got bought out by a competitor which is fine and dandy. The not so dandy part is that suddenly the store is implementing seniority. I went from a hard worker with some 34+ hours a week to a hard worker who'll be lucky to get 30 hours a week. Part me understands it but it irks me when four fellow co-workers, all whom live at home with mommy and daddy and don't have any sort of rent or bills to pay, are getting more then their 'allotted' hours. One of them is below part time and is supposed to get anywhere from 16-24 hours a week. This week she's getting 38. :I   Annoying to say the least and my Pagan coworker(a 50 some odd year old woman with more than her share of worries) is getting poor hours as well. She told me that I gotta do what I gotta do....besides, she can bother me on facebook.

I've been trying to figure out some way to decorate and celebrate this season. I wore my 'witchy' socks on the 1st and have been going over some books in my collection but so far nothing much. Autumn and Halloween are my favorite times of year and have been since I was a kid. No kids wander on to our 4+ acre of property for candy(it does look like a spooky place at night) and my relationship with my elder sister is still rocky, so handing out candy at her place probably won't happen. I'm going to start planning something out for the 31st in way of honoring the spirits, but I'm not too sure what.

One way or another a 'review' will be posted on a book that I have and I think I'll explain some nifty crafts that I've been trying to get into, and how I found them! :P

Monday, October 3, 2011

Quick Recipe of the Season

Besides the colors and the crisp air, another reason why I love autumn is the sudden explosion of pumpkins! Big ones, small ones, all of 'em! My sisters and I would do your traditional pumpkin carvings when we were young, giggling at the gross mess we made with the insides and threatening to chuck it at each other. We'd pick through to get the seeds and my mother would toast them in the oven for us. There is something special about homemade toasted pumpkin seeds that seems to be lacking in the store bought variety.

Looking through my mass of recipes I found a quick one for toasted seeds and thought I'd share.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 cups pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Wash pumpkin seed in a colander under running water.  Wipe off excess fibers.  On a cookie sheet, combine pumpkin seeds with remaining ingredients.  Bake approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until seeds are dry and golden.

 As with any recipe, add what you'd like to it! My elder sister does her own spicy variety and I add some cayenne pepper to a portion of mine for Grendal. I haven't tried a 'sweet' variety but I do think it could be done. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Be Kind to Your Fine Feathered Friends

From what I've been told I was bitten by a swan when I was a child. It must not have been very traumatic because I don't remember it and I adore most birds. My grandfather had a Martin house set up in the backyard before he and my grandmother moved to their current house. He has a pair of binoculars and a bird book right next to the large windows that overlook their backyard. It's a haven for wildlife, as small as the yard may be, and it's thanks to him that I've taken a liking to feeding the birds and squirrels in our own yard.

The whole 'grandparent feeding the small animals' thing isn't just in my family; apparently Grendal's own grandfather feeds them. What struck me as awesome was the fact that the squirrels and chipmunks would actually run up to him and pretty much ask for some peanuts. For the 6+ years Grendal and I have been together I hadn't seen it happen. One chipmunk had attempted to get to him but was frightened off by the crowd of people at the family get together. This past weekend, though, I actually got to witness it. Grendal found it amusing because I reverted back to a child when the chipmunk ran up to me and grabbed my finger, thinking I had something for him. He loved it even more so when his grandfather handed me some peanuts and I began to feed the little guy. The chipmunk would take three peanuts(one in each cheek and on its mouth) and then bounce off to its home, only to come back for more. Grendal's grandmother said they're usually nervous around other people but it seems like it warmed up to me rather quickly.

While I haven't gotten the squirrels or chipmunks to do that around here, Grendal and I have managed to gather a rather large community of birds:

I find myself sitting next to the cat by the window watching the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels eat. We have Goldfinches, Whitebreasted Nuthatches, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Sparrows, House Finches, and Blue Jays flying around. My favorite are the Nuthatches right now. I just love how they shimmy down the polls, flip on the horizontal poll, and eat 'upside down.' I do love the Cardinals, especially in winter when their colors pop against the snow, but the male we had this past spring was constantly singing. Grendal said he was just expressing his joy, but it eventually rubbed him the wrong way when the bird decided to sing right outside the bedroom window!

I've seen other bloggers joining little blog parties before and it has piqued my interest many times. I've seen what goes on and I've thought about joining. Me being me, though, I've stopped short many times. Why? Because I'm so nervous and shy. Why should I be, though? This is the internet! Anonymity it supposed to give you courage to be yourself! I think it's more of the whole 'am I pagan/witchy enough' feel. My blog isn't dedicated to my witchy lifestyle but that is more of me still flexing those muscles. I am knowledgeable in my own right! I have no need to fear others looking this over and thinking that I'm not what I should be. I have been following this path for over 10 years! So yeah, I joined something: The Real Witches of Halloween. Hopefully I will meet new people, find new blogs, and expand my view even wider!