11 Fall Projects for the Crafty Witch

11 fall craft ideas for the pagan witch.jpg

As cozy bonfires begin to flare and the first pumpkins appear at the farmer’s market, all the rich, colorful warmth of the autumn season approaches, electrifying even the seasoned witch with anticipation for the coming months.

For winter project ideas, take a look at 10 Winter Crafts for Wiccans.

For spring project ideas, check out 10 Spring Craft Projects for Wiccans.

1.  Design and sew your own voodoo doll or poppet.  If you’re a sewing whiz, you can modify a pattern for a regular stuffed doll to make it all creepy.  Or, just kind of wing it.  That’s what I did with this one, which came together from a mishmash of sewing scraps.  The best part is that it doesn’t need to be perfect.  Odd, asymmetrical limbs, “sloppy” stitches and mismatched button eyes add to the effect.

voodoo doll.jpg

2.  Use your kitchen scraps and spices to craft the perfect fall incense blend.  Make creative use of orange peels, fall spices like cinnamon & star anise, or pine needles collected on an autumn walk.  Blend your own fall incense for use during Mabon & Samhain rituals, or to celebrate the harvest moons.

mabon incense

3.   Create a scrap book for you ancestors.  Samhain reminds us to remember those who came before us.  Honor them in the coming months by researching their lives, gathering pictures from relatives and putting together a “family history” album.  Bonus:  When you’re done, it makes a great Yule gift.

4.  Make your own scrying mirror.   I love projects that make use of odds and ends.  Who doesn’t have an old picture frame?Use it to make your own scrying mirror.  It’s easy. fun and opens up a new “window” to explore divination and fortune telling.  As the days grow shorter, the “veil between worlds” thins, making this the perfect time to peer into otherworldly affairs.

scrying mirror

5.  Make black salt.  As the days begin to wane, autumn makes the ideal time to make ingredients for protection and binding spells.  Make a batch of black salt from your fire pit ashes to store for this type of ritual.

6.  Decorate a mask for Samhain.  Whether you have big plans for a Samhain party or you’re just answering the door to pass out treats, decorating a mask is an easy way to get in the spirit of the season.  Blank masks are available at craft stores and online.  They come in a variety of styles and the creative possibilities are endless!

mask

7.  Adorn a pillar candle with fall leaves for the perfect Mabon altar.    Choose a white candle of the appropriate size (large for large altar, tiny for a small one.)  Gently melt a thin layer of wax in the bottom of a frying pan or large pot.  Roll the candle in the wax, then press beautiful leaves into the surface for a gorgeous, natural altar piece.

Fall Leaf

10.  Glam out a pumpkin.  Forget the same, tired pumpkin carving party.  Go glam.  Spray paint your pumpkin gold or black, glue rhinestones on it, cover it in glitter, adorn it with old costume jewelry or do what I did one year, and slip half a pair of lacy stockings over it.

11.  Blend your own Samhain oil.  If you have a drawer or box full of essential oils you never get around to using, try making your own samhain oil from earthy, autumn-inspiring oils like cinnamon, nutmeg, orange oil or patchouli.  Or, if essential oils aren’t your thing, try steeping orange peels and cinnamon sticks at a low temperature in olive oil until you get something you like.  (Or you can always let me make some for you!)  Be sure to pick out a lovely glass bottle from the thrift store and adorn it with ribbon or charms if you like.

samhain oil

Save

Advertisements

Ostara with a Kitchen Witch: Cabbage Dyed Ostara Eggs

Every year, I try to do something inspired and kitchen witchy for this most decidedly food-friendly holiday.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the concept of naturally dyed Easter eggs floating around Pinterest the last few years.

I thought this made for a perfect Ostara activity.

I tried tumeric, spinach and cabbage.

Spinach was a dud.  I boiled and boiled, but the dye wasn’t strong enough.

Tumeric worked okay, but it stained everything!  I can see why they use this in India to dye cloth!

But the humble cabbage, at 79 cents, proved to be both the cheapest and most effective option.

IMG_1571

The idea is pretty basic.  Start with a base for extraction.  In this case, we have our head of red cabbage.

IMG_1466

Shred it and place it in a pot with a 1 to 1 ratio of water.  I did 4 cups shredded cabbage with 4 cups of water.

IMG_1470

Meanwhile, make your hard boiled eggs.  Some recipes call for boiling the eggs with the dye, but I like my eggs cooked a certain way, so I did them separately.   (Place eggs in pot with cold water, bring to boil, turn off heat, let them sit for 10 minutes in a covered pot, then rinse with cold water—perfect every time!)

IMG_1504

Once your dye is done, allow it to cool and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of liquid dye.

Then submerge the eggs in the dye for 24-28 hours in the refrigerator.

But before you do that, there are some creative options that I didn’t try.  The internet rumor is that if you write or draw on the eggs with crayon, it won’t dye there.  You can imagine all the possibilities for spell work there!

I wanted to keep my eggs as natural as possible, so I skipped this, but I might try using beeswax in the future for a similar effect.

I really loved the way the dye turned out.  It felt so earthy and wholesome.  I see myself using this for a lot of things, maybe even cloth.

IMG_1525

And there you have it!  Charming, naturally dyed eggs for your Ostara ritual.  Use them on the altar as an offering, or for your Ostara meal as a beautiful table decoration.

egg banner

With eggs on sale at my market for 28 cents a dozen, my total cost for this project was a mere $1.08.

mabon incense 3

10 Spring Crafts for Wiccans

With just a few more weeks of winter ahead, the earth already begins to warm and wake up, pushing up delicate baby green grass and soft, pastel-colored bulbs.

Spring is almost here!

Here are a few activities to get you inspired for the coming season.

For fall project ideas, check out this article, 11 Fall Projects for the Crafty Witch.

For winter project ideas, take a look at 10 Winter Crafts for Wiccans.

spring-crafts-for-wiccans

1.  Try a bird feeder wishing spell.   Choose a spring fruit and hollow it out (grapefruits are nice).  Fill it with appropriate herbs and stones and close it up, securing it with a ribbon or string.  Carve symbols in the flesh.  Cover with peanut butter and bird seeds and hang it somewhere it your yard under the full moon.  Every time a bird comes, imagine it is carrying your wish to the heavens.

2.  Decorate eggs naturally for Ostara.  Rather than using the dye kits to decorate your Ostara eggs, try using natural dyes like tea, blueberries and other naturally occurring pigments.

3.  Make an “enchanted” flower bouquet.   This one is particularly fun if you’re knowledgeable about the local flowers and plants.  Choose a theme, like “love and attraction” or “home blessing.”  Go on a nature walk and pick out local flowers, herbs and plants that you associate with this theme.  Leave it in your kitchen to bless your home with the energy.

flowers

4.  Head to the farmer’s market to cast your first kitchen witch spell of the season.    Living close to the earth starts in your kitchen!    Search the farmer’s market for the freshest natural, sustainable spell ingredients and design a ritual around what you find.

IMG_8014e

5.  Make an outdoor pillow with a twist.  Pick up some outdoor fabric (available at most fabric stores during the warmer months).  Throw in a pinch of lavender, mint or dried lemon rind and leave it in your coziest outdoor living space to bless the garden.

6.  Make your own bath magical products.  If you enjoy whipping up your own bath band beauty products from natural, wholesome ingredients, try making them with magic in mind.  Spring is prime time for beauty spells, so get cracking before the season slips away!

lavender rub

7.  Make some new ritual wear.  Good with a needle and thread?  Try making your own ritual robe.  Choose a flattering pattern, select a pattern or color for your robe that speaks to you and go to town!  Get creative.  You can even add beading or buttons with moons or other symbols.

8.  Plant a magical garden.  You’ve always meant to do it.  This is the season!   If you’re intimidated by the green arts, start small.  A simple window box will do.  Choose herbs that are easy to grow and magically useful.  The possibilities are endless.  Bury gemstones in it, choose garden ornaments and symbols with meaning to your practice or create a space for your moon rituals.

9.  Create a spring altar piece.  The craft stores are full of items perfect for making an altar piece for the spring season.  I craft these little boxes last year, and they were a hit on my retail site.

ostara altar box with nest

10.  Craft your own dandelion wine for libation or cakes/ale.  I love the potent spiritual power of making my own wine for libation.  I also enjoy getting creative with the cakes/ale portion of a ritual.  Dandelion wine makes an excellent spring-themed substitute for Ostara and spring moon rituals.

IMG_4920

mabon incense 3

 

Save

Save

Save

Make a Winter Hair Wreath

Most people associate the beloved hair wreath with Beltane or Litha, but I was inspired by the winter foliage to do one for Imbolc (and then I dragged a poor model out into the cold to pose in it.)

make-a-winter-hair-wreath-for-imbolc

If you’d like to do the same, here’s how!

You will need:

An embroidery hoop.  I’ve seen other people use wire, an old hanger or other bases, but these seem to work best for me and they are fairly cheap.  Available at any craft store.

holly-hair-wreath-base

Thread.  Any thread will do, but I like a neutral color or green.

thread

Some natural foliage.  You can use fake flowers, too, but I think natural looks best for pictures or a one-day event.  I just looked around the landscape until I spotted some color.  The leaves and berries from this holly bush were perfect.

img_9837

From there, it’s very simple.  Take a section of the greenery and hold it firmly between your thumb and fingers.

how-to-make-a-hair-wreath

Then wind the thread around the bunch and the embroidery hoop securely.  Keep going, adding sections of greenery as you continue all the way around.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect or even.  A little wildness makes it look more natural.

how-to-make-a-hair-wreath-for-imbolc

I like to save the colors for last so they stand out on top.

img_9848

And there you have it!  Gorgeous.  Everyone at the Sabbat circle will want one!

15591621_356692648030045_724439244965277100_o

holly-hair-wreath

holly-hair-wreath

mabon incense 3

10 Winter Crafts for Wiccans

10-winter-crafts-for-pagans

With the cold weather bringing everyone indoors, and the upcoming Yule holiday, making crafts and gifts indoors is a cozy, soul-nourishing activity.

Here’s some ideas for creating with the heart and spirit in mind.

For fall project ideas, check out this article, 11 Fall Projects for the Crafty Witch.

For spring project ideas, take a look at 10 Spring Projects for Wiccans.

1.  Quilting.  We hear an awful lot about “focus” in the context of spell work.  Sewing makes for a powerful way to draw your intentions into sharp concentration.  Try hand sewing a quilted sachet using a steady chant with every stitch to bring the mind into a lovely, trance like state of calm.

2.  Candle making.  Nothing warms the heart and soul like burning fresh, homemade candles.  Pick a purpose.  Then toss in herbs, anchor the wick with a special gemstone, rub it with oil and/or carve whatever you want into them.

3.  Create an incense blend.  Every witch should learn the art of blending herbs into pleasing, aromatic scents.  Winter makes the perfect season for experimenting with dried herbs (preferably from your own fall garden harvest!).  Test your blend by tossing a handful into your burning fireplace to warm and bless the home.

4.  Make your own rune set.  With the natural light in retreat and the long nighttime hours, divination makes for a lovely indoor evening activity.  Make your own rune set—-and be creative!  Carve the runes into polymer clay, wood or paint small stones.  Makes a charming gift for a like-minded friend.

5.  Crock pot something.  A crock pot makes a perfect cauldron in the winter months.  Stew something kitchen-witch style or toss in some home-blessing herbs.

6.  Make your own cold remedies.  Put all that knowledge of herbs to use and make some cold remedies from scratch.  There are thousands of recipes for natural cough syrup, runny noses and nausea.  With the cold and flu season here, it’s a good time to get prepared!

7Craft a natural winter wreath for your door.  Pick a nice winter day, bundle up, grab the dog and some hot chocolate, and go for a walk.  Collect pine cones, evergreens, acorns, or whatever, and make a beautiful natural winter wreath.  Simple, elegant, and wild.

8.  Make a bird feeder.  Remember how much fun it was to smear peanut butter and bird seed all over something, then watch from your warmth of your window as hungry, feathered friends came to bless your garden?

9.  Create a paper Book of Shadows.  Or, if you already have one, spend some quality time working on it.  Cut and paste photos, jot down notes about herbs, hand write spells, copy down your grandmother’s home remedies.  A lovely way to make use of time in front of the fireplace!

10.  Make your own statuary.  Winter makes for the perfect to work with the warming energy of the kiln.  Take a local pottery class and create something altar-worthy.

mabon incense 3

Natural Beauty for the Natural Witch: A Guide to Making Homemade Beauty Magical

Although the natural/organic homemade bath and home products craze is decidedly mainstream at this point, we pagans have been attracted to natural living for decades.

It makes sense, of course.  Most of us have a lot of experience with the key ingredients.  Herbs, essential oils, natural waxes, resins and organic bases are things common to the practice of witchcraft.

The high value placed on living close to the earth naturally makes us inclined to make good use of these skills in the mundane world as well as the magical.

While many bloggers have covered the subject of homemade beauty products at length, none that I know of have approached them from the spiritual perspective of a witch.  To fill this gap, I decided to give you a review of the most common recipes along with some suggestions about how to use them in a ritual context.

IMG_8542

I reviewed them based on the final criteria:

-How easy/difficult it was to find the key ingredients.

-How easy/difficult it was to actually make.

-How useful the final product really was.

Let’s get started.

1.  Sugar Scrubs & Salt Scrubs

Overall Rating:  B

Finding ingredients was . . .  easy.  Nothing here you can’t find in your average grocery store—and probably in your kitchen cabinet.  Basically just sugar or salt, an oil (like olive oil) and a scent.  If you don’t have essential oils as a fragrance, you can always use vanilla extract.

Making it is . . . easy and super customizable.  Maybe the easiest of everything on this list.  It’s literally just oil and sugar.  Only have brown sugar?  Brown sugar scrub it is!  For salt scrubs, you can use a basic sea salt or be really fancy with the pink Himalaya stuff.  You can also get super creative with mixing scents or just use whatever is on hand.

How did it turn out?  This stuff is perfect to give away for things like baby showers, birthdays and holiday gifts.  It’s a nice home spa type treat.  But there are a couple of problems with both sugar and salt scrubs.  They both tend to be greasy and can make your skin and bathtub kind of slick.  Probably the biggest downside with sugar scrubs is that they attract ants in the summertime, so it’s best to use or give these a way during the colder months.  Salt scrubs do not attract ants, but they can be harsher and more irritating to sensitive skin.

Mundane to magical:  Add a purifying oil like sage and include in ritual baths to “scrub away” negative energy.

2.   Shaving Cream

Overall Rating:  D

Finding the ingredients . . . moderately difficult.  Coconut oil is pretty widely available.  Shea butter, jojoba oil and castile soap usually require online orders or trips to specialty stores.

Making it . . . is a lot of trial and error, especially if you want it whipped.  It takes about a day to full set.

How did it turn out?  Don’t do it!  Anything that is not water soluble and solidifies at room temperature clogs drains.  It took me about a week before I realized what the problem was and a half hour of pouring boiling water down my bath tub to clear it when I finally figured it out.  So not worth the effort.  Go with a quality organic commercial version, or just use a nice, moisturizing bar of well-made organic soap instead.

Mundane to magical:  I don’t recommend this at all.  So.

3.  Deodorant

Overall Rating:  B+

Finding the ingredients . . . was moderate to  difficult, depending on how you do it.  Unused empty deodorant containers are almost exclusively  available online.  But they aren’t necessary.  Arrow root powder is sometimes available at regular grocers, sometimes not.

Making it . . . was pretty straightforward, but did require some tweaking.  I added beeswax to make it harder.

How did it turn out?   I love this stuff.  Customizing the scents is fun.  Woodsy scents like rosemary work well for men’s deodorant, vanilla & orange is perfect for teens, or choose a sophisticated floral like lotus oil for you.  It works well, lasts all day and doesn’t have the nasty chemical odor of commercial deodorants, or scary skin-penetrating metals like aluminum.  The only downside is that really doesn’t do much for moisture and you may have to reapply.

Mundane to magical:  Add a rose or vanilla oil to enhance romantic allure.

4.   Lotion Bars/Lip Balm/Boobie Balm/Diaper Balm/Belly Butter

lavender rub

(All of these things have the same basic ingredients with varying ratios.)

Overall Rating:  A

Finding ingredients . . . took some effort.  The three key ingredients I’ve found essential to this recipe are: shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax.   Coconut oil is pretty widely available in most grocery stores around the country.  But beeswax and shea butter are harder to come by.  Beeswax is sometimes available in craft stores, and shea butter can be found at most beauty supply stores.  Both can be ordered online, of course.    

Making it . . . requires some experimentation to get right.  The ratio of beeswax in particular usually needs to be tinkered with.  More beeswax equals a harder balm (best for lotion bars and lip balms) and more coconut oil softens it (better if you mean to use it as a diaper cream, belly butter or a boobie balm).  And of course, you won’t know if you’ve gotten it right until it cools completely to room temperature, which usually takes 12 hours.  My advice is to get it the way you like it once and write the recipe down in your Book of Shadows to save time.

How did it turn out?  Hands down the best final product on this list.  I like mine harder rather than softer.  Use this stuff for any type of chapped skin problem where light lotions or creams just aren’t enough.  As a lip healer, it is better than any commercial lip balm I’ve ever used, including the high-end organic kinds.  As a winter hand cream, it heals chapped and broken skin without irritation if you don’t mind the greasiness.  I also know several moms with babies who swear by it to heal cracked nipples from breastfeeding (though be careful to make it WITHOUT essential oil for this purpose as some are harmful to baby) and also as a soothing diaper cream.

Mundane to magical:  Add a protection oil like rosemary and use to salve as a protective “shield.”

5.  Witch Hazel Toners

Overall Rating:  C+

Finding the ingredients . . . was easy.  Essential oils require trips to specialty stores, but they are optional.  Some people just use apple cider and witch hazel.

Making it . . . was very easy.  Mix and shake.

How did it turn out?  Meh.  The apple cider vinegar kind of smells funky for something you leave on your skin.  But if you are acne prone, this is much gentler than harsh commercial toners, and the tea tree oil definitely helps.  You can even use tea tree oil as a spot healer for break outs and it’s very effective.

Mundane to magical:  Add a purification oil, put it in a spray bottle and use as a smoke-free smudge.

6. Facial Cleanser

IMG_8558

Overall rating:  B+

Finding ingredients . . . was pretty easy.  The key ingredients are honey, an oil and liquid castile soap, with the castile being the most esoteric.  It’s generally only available at health food stores like Trader Joe’s or your local hippie grocer.       

Making it . . . also pretty easy.  Be careful not to add too much oil because it will solidify.  I have oily skin, so I was nervous about using an oil-based cleanser, but I was pleasantly surprised at how not-greasy it is.

How did it turn out?  Nice.  I found it especially refreshing with a few drops of peppermint oil.  It left my face feeling clean but not too dry.  Definitely better than commercial cleansers.  My skin felt healthier than regular drug store face wash afterwards.  The oil and the castile soap separates overnight because there’s no chemical emulsifier, but it is easily re-integrates with a simple shake of the bottle.

Mundane to magical:  Use in glamour and beauty spells to “wash away” old insecurities about yourself.

7.  Microderm Abrasion Facial Paste

Overall Rating:  C+

Finding the ingredients . . . is as easy as it gets.  The simplest versions are just baking soda and water, with the fancier versions including essential oils and/or coconut oil.

Making it . . . also very easy.  Just mix and apply.

How did it turn out?   Don’t expect miracles.  Many articles promise it will erase acne scars and fine lines.  It won’t.  For sensitive skin, this treatment should be avoided all together, as it is somewhat harsh.  It will, however, leave your skin smoother and deep cleaned if used in moderation.

Mundane to magical:  Include peppermint oil to “face” the world with a fresh approach.

Moral of the story?  Making your own bath products is a fun, healthy activity for the budding and seasoned witch alike.  It’s a great introduction to herbalism and learning about the properties of different essential oils, and herbs.  It also doesn’t carry quite the same risk as herbal medicine, so if you’re headed in that direction or you’re trying to train a younger witch, this is a nice starting point.

Since I started using natural home and bath products, I definitely feel much more aware of all the chemicals I expose myself and my family to.  The more I eliminate unnecessary toxins from our house, the better I feel and I am surprised at what a difference it makes.

While there’s a lot of pros to switching over as many synthetic chemical products as you can to natural alternatives, pre-made organic versions tend to be expensive for those of us on a budget.  Making your own is a fantastic way to get around this, share it with your friends and even sell it for a little extra spending money on the side.

post sponsered by

Yule Gift Wrapping Ideas (That Don’t Look Christmas-y!)

Gift wrapping is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.  A lovely presentation takes whatever is inside the package and brings it up a notch.

Because the Sabbats are so minimally represented in mainstream marketing (and because commercialism is kind of cheesy anyway), I have listed some Yule gift wrapping ideas below that are truly for the pagan.  Enjoy!

Try this Triple Moon wrap.  I had fun with this one.  Simply take some glittery card stock or scrap booking, trace two crescent moons and a full moon, and cut it out.  Use a base wrapping paper of your choice (I like simple white), add a ribbon and voila!

IMG_1174

Take the natural approach.  I decorated these gift bags with leftover dried herbs from my garden harvest in the fall.  This is an especially nice idea for handmade spell kits.  Choose an herb that is appropriate for the spell kit inside.  Lavender for a dream spell, dried roses for love spells, dried sage for a home blessing and so on.

IMG_1169

IMG_1170

Do something earth friendly.  Pagans are kind of notorious for being tree-huggers.  There are a number of ways to show reverence to preservation with your gift wrapping—-which is especially nice when you think about how much trash must be produced every holiday season by discarded gift wrap.  Wrap gifts with or reused materials.  Paper shopping bags turned inside out,

Wrap something in an altar cloth.  Make your gift wrap part of the gift itself.  Use a beautiful altar cloth (like this one below) and tie it on the gift box in a bow.  Gorgeous!

IMG_1529

post sponsered by