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Wreathing the Wheel

April, 2019

Wreathing
the Wheel: Mistakes, Messes, and Accidents

This
month, I’d like to take a little departure from talking about the
specifics of bullet journaling to talk about a related topic that I
am very passionate about: making mistakes.

As
an artist who works a lot with pen and ink, I’m familiar with the
unforgiving nature of the medium. It’s very easy to make a small
stray pen mark simply by dropping the pen, or (the horror!) even a
long mark when my cat decides that she really wants to play with my
pen too, or something jostles my drawing surface. From a mistake that
lasts a millisecond, hours of work can feel ruined when this happens.
I’m a perfectionist as well, and I like everything to be beautiful,
precise and clean… in my opinion, my attention to detail is what
makes my art interesting (to me).

But
it becomes necessary, when working on an ongoing project like a
bullet journal, to accept that some things just won’t work out how
you expected, and to tell yourself it’s worth it to keep going with
the hobby you love, even when you are confronted with mistakes. With
stray pen marks and similar mistakes, there’s little you can do to
hide them. Sometimes they can be hidden in designs, but sometimes the
design is already finished when you mess it all up. It’s a sinking
feeling, but I try to just take a moment and remind myself that this
mistake is an accurate representation of my life — and after all,
this is a journal! Isn’t part of the purpose to accurately
represent what my life was like at this time?

But
what about when the mistake is big? Like really, REALLY big? What if
it’s the whole book?

This
was my first 2018 bullet journal. Notice anything odd?

As
you can probably tell, I put a lot of work into this book, and I was
fairly upset when wine was spilled on it (although not as upset as
the person who spilled the wine, bless their heart). The wine soaked
through quickly, and it’s on almost every page. This happened when
I was halfway through the book — I couldn’t just toss it, and I
wasn’t ready to start another yet.

Instead,
I decided to celebrate the accident. In Japanese pottery, the method
of Kintsugi (meaning “golden joinery”) is used to repair
broken pottery with precious metals. The underlying thought process
behind this is that the breakage becomes a beautiful part of the
object’s history, and appreciated in its own right. Borrowing from
this idea, I used silver and gold ink to “repair” some of the
places in my journal that had been washed away by the wine, to try to
make them even more beautiful than before. Another way I have thought
about doing this would be to repair pages with embroidery, but there
are many techniques one could use — gold or silver plating,
decoratively placed washi tape, or even pasting a picture over a
mistake — anything, in short, that transforms the mistake into
something new, and uncommonly precious. I’d encourage you to start
showing some love to your mistakes today: it’s a way for us as
artists and craftspeople to embrace the reality of craft and indulge
in the unpredictability of traditional media, and it can help us grow
and learn new techniques as well.

***

About
the Author:

Sarah
McMenomy
is
an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork,
trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at
https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Savoury Pumpkin Bread

October, 2017

Pumpkin Bread (Savoury)


I love baking with yeast. It’s so organic. It’s literally alive. I prefer it for rituals and celebrations. I like how difficult, how much personality can seem to be infused, batch to batch, bread to bread! I do use fast acting easy yeast, BUT I also like to give them a little more love, a little more time than most yeast instructions say. There are really two part to this bread. One is the cultivation of the yeast, the backbone of the bread and the other is forming it into a loaf. You can, I suppose, use your bread maker but I think it misses the point. There will be a moment when making bread where it looks wrong and too sticky and difficult and you just have to keep going!


Starter or Sponge


2 heaped tbsp. rye flour
1 heaped tbsp. white bread flour
3 heaped tbsp. (1/2 a can) pumpkin puree
1 packet fast-acting yeast
½ a cup very hot water


In a good heavy ceramic bowl mix your flour and bread with the very hot water and mix vigorously with a whisk. Add your pumpkin and beat into this soupy mixture.

This should cool it enough to be safe for your yeast.

Add and whisk for a good 3 three minutes. You are releasing the gluten from the flour, it’s important because rye flour has less to do this a lot.
Cover the bowl with a plate and damp tea-towel and leave in a warm draft free place to rise. Check it every 10 or so minutes and if it is bubbling like a witches cauldron about to burst over the side mix with a spatula or spoon until roughly the size you began with.

I left mine for about 40 minutes checking it periodically to keep what we now call Sir Breaderick in the bowl.

 

THE BIRTH OF SIR BREADERICK

 

2 ½ tbs oil
2/3 cup of rye flour
1 ½ cups of white bread flour
2 tsp salt (one reserved for the top)
1 tbsp. pumpkin seeds for topping

Reserving the topping of salt and pumpkin seeds mix the flour and salt together in a very large heavy bowl. Add the oil to you pumpkin and yeast mix incorporating thoroughly. Add the wet to the dry mixing with a spoon (or a mixer with dough hook) and either oiling or flouring your hands when you knead against a floured board.
With rye flour will make this dough tough and sticky but knead it as best you can for at least 10 minutes. Then cover and let rest for about 30 to 40 minutes. Knock back and knead again lightly shaping the loaf. Dusting your baking container or tray with cornmeal and flour and place your dough on it. Wash your hands and with one wet hand smooth the surface of your bread. Wash and dry hands and add you sea salt and pumpkin seeds to the top. Cover as best you can and proof again while your oven gets up to temperature.


THE DEATH OF SIR BREADERICK


You can leave to proof again while your oven is getting up to temperature about 180C in a fan-oven. As I made mine a large round I cooked it for 25-30 minutes but a thicker loaf will take longer. The bread is cooked when the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

The Kitchen Witch

February, 2017

The Best Oatmeal Bars in the World!!!!!

 

I love oatmeal cookies. I do confess though – I do not particularly like oatmeal-raisin cookies. Raisins are OK but I would rather use dried cranberries or cherries. Right now, I am totally and completely in love with dried cherries. An herbalist friend of mine suggested that I eat them to help ease my arthritis and a month ago, I happened to get a big bag of them at one of Lowell’s very generous food pantries. So naturally, I decided I would put them into some cookies.

Well – if you’re going to have cherries, you just have to have chocolate, don’t you? And personally – I don’t give a hang about cookies without a bit of crunch, so there’s walnuts in here too. I tried to form them into cookies but there was really too much going on – cherries, chocolate chips, chopped walnuts – so I took the easy route and put them into a greased 13×9 pan. And WOW. I shared then with the ladies in the rental office and ya know – I don’t want to brag but they raved! I had to print out the recipe! It made me feel really good.

I usually don’t make the same cookie twice in a row and I generally don’t make cookies in January anyway – after the excesses of the holidays – but I can easily justify these by saying they’re oatmeal and therefore they’re “good for you” and I’ll just spend an extra hour on the exercise bike (yeah, right)!

Here’s the recipe:

The Best Oatmeal Bars In The World !!!

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9×13 pan.

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Cream: ½ butter

½ cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup honey

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Combine & beat until smooth:

1 beaten egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

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Sift together & add to the above:

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

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When completely mixed & beaten smooth, add:

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2 cups oats

Mix well.

Add: 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup dried cherries

½ chopped walnuts

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Mix well. Press into greased pan & baked for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

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Cut while still warm & then cut again when cool. These will keep for several weeks in a tightly-sealed container.

I cannot emphasize how yummy good these cookies are. Fabulous with your morning coffee or an afternoon cup of tea. I think – although I haven’t tried it out and I swear I won’t – but I think they would be quite good with some vanilla ice cream.

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And they are GOOD for you! Try them for yourself! Bon appetite and brightest blessings!

The Kitchen Witch

December, 2016

Holiday Hash and Eggs

It’s the holidays and you have lots of holiday leftovers! So let’s make something fun for brunch! One of my favorites is hash and eggs. Of course, the easy way is to simply open a can of Mary Kitchen Corned Beef Hash and heat it in a pan and cook some eggs with it – which is always really good! But hash is really quite easy to make. Whether you have leftover corned beef, turkey, ham, roast beef or venison, mixing up a quick version of hash is easy and fun. I made this particular hash out of the leftovers of a turkey dinner but you can literally use anything you have on hand.

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First, melt a little butter in the pan and sauté some chopped onions. If you have some green pepper, throw that in as well. Then add your chopped meat.

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Generally, when you are making hash, you add chopped potatoes, but since I had mashed potatoes, that’s what I added. I also added stuffing from the turkey, which gave it a very nice flavor. There were also some green beans in there – why not?

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Turn the heat down and let it cook until it browns on one side. Turn carefully. Then let it brown on the other side. While it is browning, make a hollow in the middle and crack an egg – or two – in the middle.

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Then put a cover over the pan so that the egg cooks. This will take at least ten to fifteen minutes. It’s the same concept as baking an egg, only you’re doing it on top of the stove.

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When it’s done, it looks like this:

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And served up on a plate, even on my desk with my phone and my laptop, it’s even more appetizing! Let me tell you, it was yummy good! I can always eat hash and egg, no matter what the hash is made from! So use your holiday leftovers in a new and innovative way! Yule blessings!

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The Kitchen Witch

November, 2016

Super Quick California Cream Soup.

 

With the coming of the holidays and all the shopping and partying and everything that must-be-done, isn’t it nice to have a quick soup to make up when you come home all tired out and want something that’s thick and filling but still nutritious and yummy good? “Super Quick California Cream Soup” is perfect for these kinds of days.

I love canned cream soups – Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Onion, Cream of Celery and all the others – for casseroles and quick gravies. This soup uses Cream of Potato soup. I’m not even sure where I picked this can of soup up – it must have been Aldi’s – because normally I would just make mashed potatoes and just add extra milk for a cream of potato soup. But I’ve had this can in my cupboard for so long, I decided to use it in something. And yes! I did look at the date on the bottom of the can!

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You also need a bag of frozen “California Mix” of vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I confess that I didn’t have a bag at the time and used fresh but it worked out the same. I think the cooking time might be a little less if you have frozen vegetables. Mine were still a little crunchy, but I like crunchy vegetables.

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Super Easy California Cream Soup

¼ cup celery, chopped fine

¼ cup onion, chopped fine

1 teaspoon butter

Splash of olive oil

1 can cream of potato soup

1 can milk (use the empty can)

½ cup white wine

1 cup Colby-jack cheese, grated

4 cups California Mix, steamed according to package directions

Melt the butter with the splash of olive oil and sauté the celery and onion in it until they are soft. You don’t want them to get brown. Add the cream of potato soup and the milk. The best tool for mixing this is a whisk.

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Next, add in the grated cheese until it’s smooth and creamy and then all the white wine.

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After this, all you have to do is add in the steamed vegetables.

Let simmer for at least ten to fifteen minutes up to thirty minutes – however long you need to prepare the rest of your meal. Serve garnished with more grated cheese and a piece of crusty bread. Bon appetite!

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This recipe keeps well – I put it in a container and reheated it the next day and thought it was even better! So if you want to make it ahead and perhaps serve it in a bread bowl or take it to a holiday meal, this would work out just fine. Quick and easy and yummy too! Pure magic!

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WitchCrafting: Crafts for Witches

November, 2016

Plant Wands

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Merry meet.

As the wheel turns to the third harvest, I was moved to harvest some of the energies from the world around me, inspired by the Botanical Spirt Wands made by Rosemari Roast of Walk in the Woods, located in Winsted, Connecticut.

Cleaning up my community garden plot at the end of the season, I gathered a selection of plants, living and dead, adding to it from outside my back door.

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how-to

Making an assorted bouquet of about eight pieces, I wrapped the stems together with fibers. One I wound with twine. For the other, I tied a scrap of novelty yarn at the top and criss-crossed it front and back down the stalks to form a handle. Red ribbon was used to wrap a single tassel of broom corn.

They are being hung upside down until they are fully dried.

If this inspires you, you might consider making a plant wand for each season, or even for each sabbat.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.