Friday, 31 October 2014

Samhain



We're the Witches of Hallow'een, ooh ooh!
The ugliest you've ever seen, ooh ooh!
We fly through the night
Giving you such a fright.
We're the Witches of Hallow'een!

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, the Festival of the Dead, Samhain; today has a number of different names.

Traditionally, this was the time of the year when livestock was moved down field and grains accounted for, preparing for the winter months, and deciding which animals were for slaughter, to feed the people.  Bonfires were central to communities, where the bones of the slaughtered beasts were tossed on the fire (the word bonfire comes from bone fire).  All fires were extinguished in the home hearths and re-lit from the central bonfire, with a shared sense of community bonding.
It was also not a time of scary spooks, but believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the other was at its thinnest, and the spirit of our ancestors and loved ones were able to cross between the 2 worlds.  It was a loving and respectful time, although it is believed that our ancestors may have hung the skulls of their deceased at their front doors to ward off unwelcome spirits (hence the now popular jack o'lantern).  At a guess, the reverence for honouring our loved ones may have inspired the ghostly theme of todays celebrations.
When I was a kid, hallow'een was a fun time at school, making decorations and singing witchy songs, but that was it.  We didn't really 'celebrate' it at home or decorate the house. We did dook for apples and go guising (trick or treating) a few times round the streets, but that was the extent of it - unlike today where it is almost as big and as commercialised as Christmas.  The last time I went guising I was 12 and headed out with 2 friends, Fiona and Gillian, and a carved out turnip - the carving of which was no mean feat, even for excited 12year olds! We had our party piece, costumes and, when we came back, quite a haul of monkey nuts, sweets and cash! I really dislike the Trick or Treat name, and prefer our tradition of Guising to earn our treats.  But regardless of name, it is all great fun.


Samhain (summer's end) is the old Celtic new year, and in my home, it is the beginning of winter; the dark half of the year.  Its a time to slow down, quieten down,  coory in, reflect on what/who has passed in the last year, and look towards the future. As well as keeping with modern traditions of getting dressed up with Kiddo and dooking for apples, I like to relax come nightfall, with a glass of mulled wine (this year's has come from a bottle of shop bought mulled wine that was in the cupboard as opposed to home made. I have tried many different recipes and tried concocting my own, but I have yet to make a mulled wine that I like enough to have a second glass, or sometimes, even finish the first...) and read my tarot cards, looking to the year ahead, and what has come of the year past.  My tarot deck has been with me for 18 years, and is a Native American deck - it was given to me by a friend's mother for my 18th birthday. They have served me well over the years.


Its time to get writing, and not on here, so i bid you good night and wish everyone a happy Hallow'een or Samhain Blessings
x

ps - I didn't finish the garland I was making - completed 3 pumpkins and 1 witches hat, but the remaining 2 hats and 3 bats will need to wait until next year to be hung

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Its almost witching time

We have been getting into the spirit for Hallow'een over the past couple of weeks, and decorating our home in accordance with the festival.

 The broom at the front door now has an infestation problem - little bats have moved in!
 This was spotted in Hobbycraft and was carefully and artistically put together.  No help required, this one was his own project one evening.

The ghosts have window shutters over them "to keep them in the spooky house". The Spooky house now lives on the window with the rest of his decorations


I started making a garland.
Using 3 traditional Hallow'een shapes - Witches Hat, Bat, Pumpkin - I free handed a sketch of the shapes on to the inside of a cereal box and made stencils
Can anyone spot the mistake???
Yep - I forgot to flip the stencil around for the backs of the shapes ( the cardboard shape is sandwiched between the felt to give it strength....except I forgot that when drawing out the shapes, until it was too late *face palm*
Unfortunately, having hunted high and low I cannot find my jar of embroidery threads, which are still in hiding (house wights at play? Hallow'een hi-jinks?) so now I cant stitch garland together in style that I wanted too...
*face palm #2*

Guess what these guys are going to be...

Happy with how the dining table is coming along

Even the lego is getting in on the act - this is what I was playing with whilst the boys busied themselves making 'proper' lego things, like tree houses and fire engines...

Hopefully my thread jar will reappear in time to finish my garland, if not, there is always next year!  A few finishing touches here and there and we are all set for Friday

x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Taking Care (disclaimer : this post contains much swearing!)

(found on Pinterest)

Oh how I wish it were true
I would love to be laid back, easy going, 'who gives a... what anyone thinks' sort of a gal.
However, I am more of a tightly wound, constantly on edge, worry wart, who cares too much about what anyone thinks kinda gal. The eternal parent pleaser!  And it pisses me off!

I spent Saturday afternoon in the company of a group of wonderful women, in a Women's Circle arranged and hosted by a good friend.  The theme for the afternoon was 'Caring for Ourselves' and how exactly we do that. It was a comfortable and relaxing place to sit and discuss how we are looking after ourselves, or more importantly, how we are not.  I knew some of the women already and met 3 for the first time.  It was comforting and re-assuring to hear similarities and inspiring to hear how other people do things, things that I thought, Yes, I can do that too.  The group weren't all the same age as me - we had 3 generations of women there - Maidens, Mothers and (thoughtfully rephrased from Crone) Grandmothers. Our circle was also shared with a beautiful 5 week old baby. So it was really interesting to hear the different perspectives and stories passed between us all.
Part of the afternoon was for us to take a bit of time to individually think about how we take care of ourselves, or what we could do to take that care, and to transfer those thought onto paper in a picture representation of how we see ourselves.

This is what I drew (its not the original, which I left at the circle, but redrawn from memory) :

A scarf in the middle - I will rarely be seen without one in my hair or around my neck - regardless of weather!  Coffee and wine are my life juice and keep me going (easy to see how well I look after myself straight from the off!)
The picture is split into what I need less of (at the top) and what I need more of (at the bottom).
So looking in more detail, in order to take better care of myself, I need less:
Guilt & Doubt - Am I doing enough with Kiddo? Am I spending enough time with Hubby? Am I doing enough in the house? Am I enough? Am I contributing enough? I cant' go here/there as what about Kiddo (he's my responsibility not a babysitter's, aka my Mother's), I can't buy this/that for myself as we might need such and such. Having a bad day with Kiddo = immense guilt and replaying how I should've handled it better.
Procrastination - I can ALWAYS find something to do over what I think I  SHOULD be doing (see above)
Toxins - 1.some friends and family members ( do I really care what they think? Why??)
                2.chemicals - I used to be fanatical about home-made home cleaners and beauty products
Social Media - Facebook and Twitter cause me more frustration and angst than is needed in my life
Opinions - see toxins - I care too much about others' judgement and comments, be it about my lifestyle choices, parenting choices, my wardrobe, my ethics, my politics, my home (and housekeeping...) etc etc...
Should - this word SHOULD be eliminated from our vocabulary! Period!  It has to be one of, if not the, most judgemental words in our language.

Having established what is sabotaging my ability to properly care for myself, what is going to change? What do I need more of:
Time for me - even if it is only 20 mins (and not waste it on social media!!) to read or write (blogging, poetry, journal), relax (meditation and yoga), to make and create, craft activities, a bit pampering (at home or outwith)
Finish my courses I started - massage and meditation, get my qualifications
Use my Indian Head Massage qualification - its relaxing to give the treatment but also earn a little income for the home.
Get back into making all my household cleaners and beauty products
Grow a thicker skin and make like a Honey Badger (the worlds most fearless wee creature)
As Hubby says, "Honey Badger gives zero fucks" (not sure where he got that quote from...)
This link to everydayfeminism.com  made me chuckle - I found it to be appropriate for this post! 

I do try to take care of myself, as I am well aware that if I am not functioning, nothing else in my life will.  I love the time in the morning before Hubby gets home from work and before Kiddo gets up, its 10 mins, just me and a mug of fresh coffee, sitting in the quiet calm, planning the day ahead. Or at night with some candles and incense burning, and a chance for a blether with Hubby.  I love to be out in all weathers with Kiddo, exploring what nature has to offer, observing and honouring the changing seasons throughout the year. We all  love to cook in this house, it is so satisfying to prepare, cook and enjoy a home-made meal, especially when I have a little pair of helping hands alongside me. Plus, a solid sense of humour (albeit with a heavy dose of sarcastic wit) continually sees me well.

I like to think that I know of my flaws and of my strengths - all of which  make up ME, unique only to me, but like everything else in life, I am a work in progress, forever learning, growing and evolving.  By taking better care of myself and focussing on the positives and positive changes that are needed, I will continue to grow and evolve to be a better me.

As Max Ehrmann said in 'Desiderata': Strive to be happy.

x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Mount Denmark (!)

We FINALLY got to make our volcano and have it erupt. I now have an extremely excited and proud child, amazed that he made his volcano erupt all by himself.

This experiment is well known and generally much loved by everyone and we have been wanting to do it for ages, but I had to find the right 'volcano'. Step up an empty plastic muffin box from Morrisons.


The divider in the lid would make a fab volcano, once it was removed from the lid, attached to the base and the tip snipped off.

We covered the box with scrap paper and painted it brown



I have to confess to 'helping' with the painting of the lava....

The box took 2 days to dry. TWO DAYS!!! This was so frustrating, for both Kiddo and I! The paint had puddled in the the dips and troughs.
However, tonight when I got home from work, armed with white vinegar, bicarbinate of soda and orange food colouring (for the vinegar), we were ready to make this volcano erupt.   And erupt she did!  Much to Kiddo's delight and amusement (and mine too I might add)





Mount Denmark produced so much "roasting-hot" lava that she filled all the lava pools in the box.  Mount Denmark was named by Kiddo as a "great name" for a volcano, for no other explanation, other than " I want to call it that". Ok, so Mount Denmark she will be!

x

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Feed the birds

Yesterday in the smirry rain and cold wind, Kiddo decided that he wanted to make bird feeders for our feathered friends, to help them fill their tummies.
We made the same feeders last year, and it was these that Kiddo wanted to make again.  Last year he was 'into' Special Agent Oso (I think it is a Disney Channel cartoon - he used to watch it at my mum's as we don't have the channel) and  in one particular episode, the characters made bird feeders, which is the one we copied.

These could not be any easier or more fun to make :

Ingredients :
Pine cones
Smooth peanut butter
Bird seed
String

Method :

Collect some pine cones, preferably ones which are open, and have longer stems still attached.
Tie a piece of string around the stem, leaving a length of tail to attach the feeder to a branch later on.

 Spread peanut butter all over the pine cone

Roll the buttered cone in bird seed

Et Voila!  

Ready to hang in the garden in the trees. We hung ours on the branches that poke though and over the top of the fence.  Unfortunately couldn't get a decent photo, but try and get one and post it up (before the feed is snaffled, of course)

Easy peasy and great fun - for us and the birds.

x

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Livingroom: pt2

As with the bay window, the other end of the livingroom has seen its fair share of re-shuffling of furniture too.  When we redecorated and said goodbye to the magnolia paint we decided to go all out on feature wallpaper : step up Mini Moderns. Their Paisley Crescent wallpaper in Tangerine Dream was perfect


The first piece of furniture in situ was my old chest of drawers which I bought when I moved into my first flat,  which I then painted turquoise a few years ago and changed the wrought iron handles to mismatched ceramic ones. The lamp came out of our bedroom (it used to have a pink base,  now its 'oak') and I 'distressed' the metal base with oak wood stain - it was an experiment that I think worked.


The drawers were then moved out when the dinning table moved in.  So too did the standard lamp I picked up in the British Heart Foundation Shop for £20.  I initially had plans to paint the stand, but left it until I decided which colour.  In the end I have left it in its original dark wood, and green fringed shade (which doesn't 'match' anything colour-wise in the room, but fits in just the same).  Ordinarily the shade sits a slightly lopsided jaunty angle (which adds to its character), but it looks like it is behaving in this picture.


Ok, guess where I picked this mirror up from?  Another BHF shop beauty. I adore this mirror.  Last Christmas I strung Moroccan antiqued lights around it - they are still up as I loved this look.


My birthday present, original G-Plan sideboard (BHF Shop!!) I think its fairly accurate to say that I am in love with this piece of furniture.
As its mid October and we are getting ready for Hallow'een, I have moved around some of the ornamental bits n pieces (although to be honest, nothing sits still for long before being re-homed).  Hubby was delighted to see the fringed shawl removed from the dinning table in the bay, but was then horrified to discover I had put it on the sideboard instead.  This is NOT his favourite 'look'.  Actually, he hates that shawl!


Made a start on the seasonal decorations in the lead up to the festivities at the end of the month.

x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Autumn : The season so far

This time of year, as I have mentioned in the past, is my favourite time of year. I tend to find that we are outside more in the Autumn than we are in the Summer - purely because it is a pleasure to be out and feel the change in the air. Its also the drawing in of the dark nights and the change in menu too, that I adore.
Today's post is not really anything more than an abundance of seasonal photos from the past few weeks as we have enjoyed what Autumn has had to offer, so far :

 cheggies still in the trees

 front door getting its make over



 exploring in the woods 
 identification book - tick
 magnifying glass - tick
 camera - tick

 nature table full to brimming now

 these leaves are the ones he caught as they fell straight from the trees - raining leaves



And now, we are getting ready for Hallow'een

x