thrifty

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

June, 2016

Dont Just Smell Them – Eat the Daisies!

Craft

Merry meet.

I take delight in introducing edible flowers to people I meet in all walks of life. Come late June, a vast amount of flowers are in bloom.

Found and gifted flowers are the least expensive, but a few plants even purchased at a nursery put in the ground or in a whatever containers you have on hand can add inexpensive dazzle to your recipes and rituals.

Consider incorporating edible flowers into your Litha celebration, mixing up a fairy cake recipe, and brewing petals to make tea or freezing flowers into ice cubes to add to your drink for cakes and ale.

Some flowers are mild, while others are slightly bitter or peppery. Some taste sweet while others taste like they smell.

A woman who was very in touch with the Fae living behind the house she rented first introduced me to the concept of eating flowers to receive their powers realizing we are what we eat spiritually as well as physically. If harvested with respect, I sense the Fae are pleased that we are aware of these energies that can help transform our very cells.

Here is a short list of some edible flowers, with most also listing magical uses. Be aware that different sources will yield different information, so trust your instincts and go by what rings true for you.

Remember to never harvest flowers growing by the roadside, or take them from plants sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. Be sure all flowers are identified exactly right; if in doubt, do not eat it.

Daisy: Add petals to salads, sandwiches and omelets. Magically, daisies resonate with the energy of Venus and the element of water. They are used to represent youth, simplicity and future telling.

Lavender: Use flowers fresh or dried to flavor sugar and milk; add them to baked goods such as muffins. Brew into tea or substitute lavender for rosemary in savory recipes (doubling the amount of amount of rosemary called for). Magically, lavender works for love, protection and sleep.

Lilacs: Snip off the small, individual flowers. Great in salads. Brush with egg whites and sugar to crystalize them and use on desserts. Magical uses include protection, compassion, happiness, pleasure, youth and beauty.

Marigold: Pull apart and use the leaves. Enjoy their spicy, peppery taste. Great to add color to salads. Also mix with lettuce on sandwiches. Protection, truthfulness and inner vision are associated with marigold, which corresponds to the element of fire.

Nasturtiums: While they are perhaps the most common edible flower (you can also eat the seed pods), they are also among the best. They come in range of colors and have a sweet and spicy taste. Add to salads, use for garnishes, and stuff flowers with a mousse or crab salad for an appetizer. Associated with air, nasturtium flowers are used in potpourris for spells having to do with aspiration, ethics and festivities.

Pansy: Regardless of color, they then tend to have a slightly sweet, grassy flavor. Use in salads, as garnish or as you would lettuce in, say, a tuna salad sandwich. Pansys magical uses include love and divination.

Peony: Add to water for a summer beverage, float some in punches and lemonades, or steep for tea.

Phlox: The tall, perennial variety (not the creeping phlox) has a slightly spicy state. Using them adds pinks and whites to all sorts of summer salads.

Rose: Remove the bitter white portion and use petals in salads or as a garnish. Freeze fresh petals into ice cubes for summer drinks, or brew into tea. The most fragrant tend to have the most taste. Use rose magically for love, healing, luck, protection and psychic powers.

Violets: This family includes pansies and Johnny jump-ups, also known as violas. Put in salads, freeze in punch and adorn desserts. Magically, violets are associated with tranquility and peace. Petals are said to bring healing, luck and protection, and enhance nighttime magic. Dried, they can be used in dream pillows.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

April, 2016

Green Man mask

Greenmanmask1

Merry meet.

Beltane celebrates life at the peak of spring. The earth is bursting with potential, passion, vitality, joy and fertility. Its when Flora, the May Queen falls in love with the young Oak King, also known as Jack-In-The-Green and the Green Man, and they consummate their union.

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During celebrations, you often see men wearing a mask of green leaves. They can be made of dyed leather, papier mache and clay. Elaborate ones can cost more than $200. To prepare for your ritual, consider making one for $4 from the dollar store – or for free if you have the materials on hand.

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I started with a blank mask I picked up at a tag sale last summer for 25¢, but you can sometimes find them on sale at craft stores. I picked out three kinds of flowers each with different leaf shapes and some ivy at the dollar store. The ivy turned out to be too big, and was never used.

Remove the leaves and the plastic piece that shapes them around the stem. Cut most of them apart, but leave some together.

I used a glue gun to attach them, overlapping randomly chosen leaves until the entire mask was covered.

Thats all there is to it. It took less than half an hour, making it fast and easy as well as thrifty.

Greenmanmask4

 

 

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a budget

March, 2016

Cinnamon

Cinnamonum verum

Merry meet.

Some items used in magic can be expensive, but there are plenty of other ingredients and objects that require little money. Cinnamon is one of those magical ingredients that is cheap, versatile and common enough to be sitting in your spice rack.

You can burn cinnamon either in stick form, or powdered and added to a mix thats burned on a piece of charcoal. Use it to purify individuals, objects or spaces. You can also roll a candle in cinnamon and then burn it.

Steeping it into tea results in an infusion that can heighten psychic awareness and clairvoyance, making it good to drink before divination. Burning some while doing a reading or a meditation has also been suggested.

Sprinkling cinnamon around a space will protect it. So will placing cinnamon sticks on windows and above doors. Another option for protecting a doorway is to make a sachet or mojo bag with cinnamon to hang over the entryway.

Cinnamon is also used to attract good luck, love, money, passion, prosperity and success. It can bring wisdom, tranquility and healing.

Keep cinnamon sticks in with your tarot cards and runes, as well as with your other divination tools.

Burn cinnamon oil in a diffuser to attract prosperity, clients and business.

Bless it and add it to the batter when baking desserts to inspire romance.

Ive also heard that it will bring spice to the bedroom when attached to the bottom of the bed or, I would think, put between the mattress and the boxspring. Kama Sutra oils are made with cinnamon.

Cinnamon sticks can also be used for wands, as is or embellished.

With so many possible magical uses, please tell us some of yours.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

February, 2016

Give-Away

Thriftcrafting

Merry meet.

We witches love stuff, and over time, we can accumulate a fair amount of it. As time passes, there are some items that may fall out of favor.

Perhaps after reading that book on druids, you decide the information wasn’t something you would incorporate into your practice. You might be given a pentacle you like better than the one you’ve had on your altar for years. A tarot deck – or two or three – may no longer speak to you. The black skirt that no longer fits got pushed to the back of the closet and forgotten. Candles you thought you’d use are gathering dust. And that voice of the person on the meditation CD you were given reminds you of someone you’re trying to forget.

If you have a small collection of such items, chances are others you know do, too. A swap or a give-away is a wonderful way to pass on what you no longer want or need to someone who would welcome it – and give you the chance to pick up something you’d enjoy owning. All at no cost.

Consider organizing a give-away at your next sabbat gathering or a swap on the next full moon.

An eclectic Goddesswoman group to which I belong gathers each Mabon for a weekend retreat, and more often than not, we have a give-away. (The photos are from one of our first.) Anyone who brought items puts them int he designated area and everyone is invited to help themselves. At a pagan discussion group, it’s not uncommon for someone to put items up for grabs in the center of the table. I’ve given away bunches of herbs picked from the garden and books and gotten a snakeskin and lavender salt that way.

While it could be an add-on to an existing occasion that will be drawing people, your swap can also be a stand-alone event. Just get out the word, perhaps post a few photos to entice people to participate and then enjoy seeing items go to new homes where they will be loved.

Merry part.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

January, 2016

Holiday sales

ornamentsw

 

 Merry meet.

Just as you may have stocked up on witch hats and black napkins after Halloween to save for next Samhain, look among the post-Christmas sale items for things that will be at home next Yule, as well as for other sabbats and rituals.

I have a black bear that sat on my altar for half a year while I did a ritual using bear medicine; it returns there from time to time. Theres a polar bear, too, that walks across my altar especially around my birthday both as the representation of one of my animal guides and of a yearling polar bear, shot by a native on Baffin Island the month I was born and sold to an Airman who gave it to his sister my mother that now resides with me.

Both these bears began their life as Christmas tree ornaments.

Theres also a spider in a web and a cornhusk woman gotten long before I was on a pagan path both also Christmas tree ornaments; both also used in ritual.

After the holidays, when ornaments are typically half price or less, consider looking for ones that can serve other purposes in your Craft. Moons, stars and suns. Cats. Fairies. Angels. A star can serve as a pentacle. Birds can call East.

I picked up clear glass bulbs in several sizes, on sale after Christmas one year, and filled them to represent the elements: milkweed seeds and feathers for air, red chili peppers for fire, shells for water and tiny pinecones for earth. They hang on my tree, but theres no reason they cant also hang from the light fixture in the dining room when witches gather around the table below it. Those same clear balls can also be used to hold the ingredients of a spell.

And next year, consider decorating your Yule tree with objects that began their life as something else: shells, small grapevine wreaths, ribbon, cookie cutters, keys, toys, dolls, animals, pinecones, crystals, jewelry, buttons, frames holding portraits of family or deities, popcorn and cranberries, or dried fruits and flowers.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

September, 2015

Dream Pillows

Merry meet.

As we approach the second harvest, one thing you might consider doing with nature’s gifts is to use them to make a dream pillow. They cost about $9 retail, but you can make them for much less if you have access to some of the herbs. Another reason for making them yourself is so you can customize the blend to your liking. There’s also a variation that requires no sewing.

First select a small piece of fabric – a favorite shirt that no longer fits, vintage handkerchiefs, the silk pajamas you never wear, scarves or bandanas – and some thread. Wash and dry the fabric.

Cut out a piece bigger than a credit card, but smaller than a tarot card. With right sides together, sew up three sides, leaving a short side open. The top can be folded over twice to form a casing for a drawstring, or upon stuffing, the open end can be stitched shut.

Sew your pillows on a machine or by hand, alone or in a group. (I’m hoping to make this a group project on a full moon, perhaps as a part of a ritual.)

The herbs you select for your pillow will determine its use: an aid for sleeping or to encourage dreams – or both. The herbs can be harvested from the wild, gathered from the garden or purchased. When thinking thrift, be creative. You can take some dried catnip from the jar you bought for the cat, dump out the contents of two or three chamomile tea bags and get rosemary from the spice rack, maybe even use the rose petals you dried from your last bouquet.

Research as much or as little as you wish. You can combine the dried botanicals in almost any combination or ratio. can be found that give precise amounts of ingredients, but in the end, it’s always smart to trust your instincts. (For instance, if you reach for your jar of dried chamomile and find it’s empty, consider it a sign to make your blend without it.) If you feel stuck, you can try using a pendulum to make selections.

Some herbs that can be used to soothe you to sleep include catnip, chamomile, hops, lavender, lemon balm, passion flower, rose petals, rosemary, woodruff, valerian and ylang ylang.

To encourage dreams, try clary sage, damiana, lavender, lemongrass, lemon balm, lilac, mint, mugwort and wormwood. It is said mullein and anise ward off nightmares while jasmine flowers will enhance erotic and romantic dreams.

Tuck the pillows in or under your own pillow, or keep it next to you. If it still smells pleasant, it’s still useful. (Figure 4-6 months.)

Variations abound.

Other formulas can also be made, such as a fiery blend for strength in battle or something to help release pain and grief – to be kept in a pocket or tucked inside a bra.

For a no-sew version, use small, purchased small drawstring bags or cut a circle of cloth and place the herbs in its center. Gather up the outer edges and use a strip of matching fabric, lace, embroidery floss, yarn or string to tie and knot it.

You can add drops of essential oil and gemstones to the contents.

Turn a dream pillow into an eye pillow by making it longer and wider (about 10 inches by 4 inches) increasing the amount of herbs proportionately while adding rice or small beans as filler and to provide a flexible weight that will conform wonderfully to your eyes.

Mix up blends for pet pillows. The Mountain Rose Blog I stumbled upon after a Google search stated that cats like catnip, chamomile, pennyroyal and valerian, while dogs like eucalyptus, lavender, pennyroyal, rosemary, thyme and wormwood.

Sweet dreams.

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

August, 2015

 

Cornhusk Wreath

Merry meet…

Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvests celebrating grain and beer. It’s a time of celebrating abundance and giving gratitude for prosperity. Many honor Lugh, the Irish sun god, with games and offerings.

At the beginning of August, sunflowers and corn are both ripe in the garden. This thrifty craft combines both symbols of the sabbat in a wreath that will last for many harvests to come.

Save all the husks from about a dozen ears of corn. If you decide to make this a group project, try asking for the contents of the barrels often set up next to the corn display at farmers markets and grocery stores into which customers drop husks after removing them when inspecting ears before purchase. Spread them out so they can dry.

You can work with them somewhat or completely dried.

Buy or make a round frame the size you want your wreath. A wire hanger bent into a circle is one possibility. I used coated wire, but grapevines twisted together are other options for the frame.

thrift

Knot one end of a long piece of twine to the frame. Take the first husk and place it on the wreath next to the twine at a 45-degree angle with about 1 1/2 inches extending into the center of the circle. Wrap the twine around the husk and under the wire.

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Now, place the second husk next to the first. Bring the twine up from below the wire and over the top of the second cornhusk, then pass it back down over the wire between the last cornhusk and the one before it.

corn2

Continue in the same manner, keeping the twine tight and the husks as close together as possible. This is the back side of the wreath.

A spool of wire can be used instead of the twine, passing the spool up, over the husk and under the frame.

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When finished, tie off the twine and fasten a loop for a hook.

If desired, add pinecones to the middle to look like the seeds in the center of a sunflower. Turn the wreath to the front and wedge in or glue – beginning along the outer edge and working your way to the center.

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Another option for making a wreath is to start with an eight-inch straw wreath. Working with fully dried husks, take one at a time and put hot glue on the bottom half of the inside. Wrap it around the form, beginning in the back and bringing the husk over the top, securing with a dot of glue. Repeat, moving around the circle until the desired coverage and fullness is reached.

Consider blessing it during your sabbat celebration, and perhaps hanging it above your altar before hanging in in a window or on a door.

Merry part.

And merry meet again…

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

July, 2015

Vision Boards

Merry meet.

The more senses we involve in magical work, the more powerful spells become. I have made frequent use of vision boards to illustrate what I was inspired to manifest.

I flip through magazines (Oprah and Yoga Journal are two of my favorites.), old calendars and books for pictures and words that grab me. If you don’t have a stash, look at tag sales and used book fairs held at local libraries. I have gotten old issues from my gym that were being thrown away, from co-workers and by helping myself to a bag of magazines put in the recycling bin at my condo.

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I try to remain open and not question why I am drawn to particular images or phrases, I just collect a pile in front of me. When it feels like enough, I go back through the items and begin to notice a theme. I play around, arranging the pieces in different ways until I am pleased with the result. Because I write for a living, words often dominate many of my boards.

If you have a subject or theme you are working with, an area of your life that calls for attention – acceptance, health, the perfect job, abundance – focus on that as you select images that appeal to you. Choose those that get you to feel what it is you are invoking.

The more relaxed and comfortable you are during the process, the better. Let it be enjoyable and leisurely. Light candles, play music, burn incense or employ any other ritualistic practice you find helpful.

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Using a glue stick, spray adhesive or other craft product such as Mod Podge, affix the pieces to a foam board, file folder or poster paper. You might even cover a shoebox or a glass cylinder. Images can also be pinned to a cork board, stuck on the refrigerator with magnets or taped to a mirror.

The board itself does not do the manifesting, it’s aligning ourselves with the desire, experiencing the vibrations of having it, and going about acting on those inspirations that works the magic. These inspirational collections shift our focus. When you’re finished, spend some time not just seeing yourself in that reality, but experiencing it. In every cell, feel what it’s like to experience attaining your desire. Welcome it. Accept it. That’s the power of attraction.

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You can place your finished piece on your altar or put it on a shelf. Either way, it works because you have embraced all that it represents.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a Budget

March, 2015

Flower Child

Merry Meet!

altar

Spring is synonymous with flowers. I always like to have them on my altar, especially when I do a ritual.

Those I associate with Ostara are snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and showy happy faced pansies. Because spring is associated with the direction of East, I am somewhat partial to the yellow forsythia because it just about sings, “Spring has sprung.”

Flowers and budgets can go together.

Look around outside for what nature might be gifting to you. Are there dandelions? Bloodroot? Violets? A pussy willow bush from which you can cut a few branches and force the blooms?

You might consider investing in bulbs that bloom annually. If you didn’t already plant some, you could purchase potted bulbs in bloom for your altar now, then plant them in a sunny location for picking next year.

When visiting my mother’s grave one year, we noticed pots of dead flowers thrown in a trash barrel. My dad rescued some and planted them. Some bloomed the following year. The fall mums everyone has on their steps can be planted in a garden and allowed to grow wild. They’ll come back every year. Without the proper sever pruning, they will grow bushy with small flowers.

I am grateful that the Trader Joe’s around the corner always has a selection of flowers for $3.99.

If you ask Source for flowers, be open to all ways they might come to you. I’ve been able to pick lilacs at a friend’s house and buy some for a couple of dollars from a homeowner having a tag sale. I have come across huge stands of daylilies in the back of an almost empty parking lot and violets growing along the edge of my condo complex. There’s also a crab apple tree that has the most wonderful blooms around Beltane.

Be sure to harvest responsibly. Don’t trespass on private property. Never take every flower off one plant and don’t pick a patch clean. Always ask permission of the plant and thank it. Consider leaving a small gift in exchange: a pretty pebble, water, a song, a handful of mulch, a pinch of tobacco, the removal of litter.

But don’t just think blooms. Eggshells stuffed with sprouts from the produce isle could decorate an Ostara altar.

Blooms, branches or greens all dress an altar as long as you find them pleasing. And afterwards, I would like to suggest you return them to nature if possible rather than throw them in the trash.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a budget

February, 2015

Grow Your Craft
seeds

 

Merry Meet!

Because a common Imbolc ritual is to bless seeds, the timing is right to plan a magical herb garden.

Do you find yourself buying chamomile and rosemary for magical purposes? Do you use vervain or St. John’s Wort? Would you use lavender and rue more freely if you didn’t have to buy it? Do you think you’d like to make an offering of tobacco now and then, but you don’t smoke?

Make this the year you grow your own.

If you have a garden center close by, you might be able to find everything you’re looking for there. If not, there are many places online. If you can’t get the packets in time for Imbolc, you can still set your plans in motion.

Packets of organic seeds cost from about $2.50 to $3.75 or so. Chances are, you won’t be able to use all 200 seeds, or 100 seeds, or even 20 seeds. Save money by finding more people who want to do the same thing and divide up the seeds. You might also save on potting material this way. Plant in egg cartons, tin cans and other throwaway containers, reclaimed pots or even simple ones made from newspaper.

Start simply and do a bit of research. Some seeds like to be presprouted, others do better if the hull is scraped up a bit. Once sprouted, thin out the weaker plants. Keep them watered and give them lots of light. If there are several in one container, you might want to transplant them into their own containers if the weather does not yet permit them to be put outdoors.

If you only want two or three different plants, consider buying them as seedlings. It’s more expensive than starting them yourself, but less expensive than buying the herbs fresh at farmers markets – if you can find them. Look for plant sales and seasonal events put on by your local herb association for the very best quality and selection. Ours has an Earth Day celebration in April and often a vendor or two will sell plants at our Pagan Pride Beltane Festival.

Consider reaching out to coven members, co-workers, neighbors or Facebook friends to swap seeds, seedlings or harvested herbs. Be sure to save seeds for your plants next year.

Even cheaper is wildcrafting. Learn to identify magical plants in the wild. Do your research to be sure the plant is what you think it is, and harvest it responsibly. Mugwort grows in the parking lot of my former office building, there’s mint growing wild by one of the water faucets in the community garden, and there’s a patch of violets that increases every year along the perimeter of the condominium complex. Pay attention when you’re outside. Ask for guidance. And when you are rewarded, offer gratitude.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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