Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Artist Contributor Copies of Magical Almanac Have Arrived!

I'm super excited! I got my artist contributor copies of Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac! I love the cover art by Tammy Shane, A really clever take on the element of water, a literal sea-horse!  I was honored to be able to create 9797 pen and ink interior illustrations and write one article for this excellent almanac.

I always love to dig through and see how my illustrations turned out, it's great to actually see them in print!
I illustrated the article that I wrote "The Element of Surprise and Drama in Ritual" It's a fun article about how to add some really neat special effects into your ritual to make them memorable and entertaining.

I had a blast illustrating Magenta Griffith's article about the Rosicrucians, I learned a lot from that article.


One of my favorite illustrations that I contributed was for Ellen Dugan's clever article about Menopause and Magic! I just had to insert some humor into that one.
Another great article that I got to have some fun with was Autumn Damiana's article about the ever changing conceptions and misconceptions about witches, I really enjoyed creating this illustration of a classic and modern witch.


Anyway, these are only a few of the articles in the 2015 Llewellyn's Magical Almanac,I did a total of 15 illustrations, in addition the the authors above I already mentioned, I also illustrated a second article for Autumn Damiana, and also for Emyme, Charlie Rainbow Wolf,  these almanacs are full of great articles about Pagan and Witch culture, practice, rituals and more. Plus it has a great calendar section in the middle featuring daily correspondences. Want one? You can get it here!

Blessings,
Mickie 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mystical Cats, Magick, and Furballs: Interview and Giveaway Too!

I had a really fun chat with my friends Blake Octavian Blair & Gwain Nighthawk last week, and you know what they did? They recorded the whole thing for their podcast Broadcasts from the Cove!  We really had a fun time talking about Mystical Cats Tarot, Alefheim, and a plethora of other things as well. You'll want to grab a cup of tea and pop over and join us for the meandering madcap merriment because we're doing a giveaway!

One lucky listener will win a signed copy of Mystical Cats Tarot, tarot bag, bookmark, and cat ornament, plus Broadcasts from the Cove is throwing in a copy of the excellent CD Canyon Storm by Gwain Nighthawk with Blake Octavian Blair! This CD was on my playlist while working on Mystical Cats Tarot, so it's a great combo! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gwainnighthawkandblakeoc

Here's what you'll get from me if your name is drawn in our giveaway!

The winner will get two packages, one from me and one from Gwain and Blake!
Canyon Storm by Gwain Nighthawk with Blake Octavian Blair 

Here's how to enter:
1.Give a listen to our interview on Broadcasts from the cove, its fun and easy and have a laugh while you're there!  Episode #5 - Mystical Cats, Magick, and Furballs: An Interview with Mickie Mueller

2. Pop over to Broadcasts from the Cove on Facebook: **Click here** and drop Blake and Gwain a comment on their post about the giveaway and suggest a topic for an upcoming show.
3. Come right back here and drop a comment on this blog post.

Then...you'll be entered twice in our giveaway! Fun! Easy!

Good luck!

Blessings,
Mickie



Thursday, April 24, 2014

This Girls New Greenhouse

About a month ago Dan and I discovered a nice little greenhouse at Big Lots for a reasonable price. We decided that since we would have a giant garden at Aelfheim to fill with plants, we should get that little greenhouse and start our own seeds.
Building it was like a gigantic tinker toy! Then Dan drove four fence posts into the ground to keep it from blowing away in the  nutty Missouri weather.  We secured it with zip ties and topped each fence post with layers of white foam packing material to keep any sharp edges from poking through the cover.
We put the cover on and secured the ties, it got hot in there really quickly!  Now we needed to get the seeds into trays! 
My mom had this cool planting station, since we're sharing the garden, she and Grandpa Gecko brought it over. They're right next door at Frogbirds Farm, so we're sharing this giant garden plot.  We found a great spot right outside one of the stables in the barn and went right to work. 
We had fun sorting seeds, filling trays, and getting those little babies ready to sprout!  We used two different kinds of trays, the traditional Jiffy trays with the disks that you add water to, mom said those were the kind my grandpa (my moms dad) used. He would have loved our garden set up. We also tried the new hex shaped trays with some Miracle Grow soil, they're supposed to help the little roots and make transplanting less stressful. We'll see which we like best.  We used plastic spoon handles to make markers, don't worry, we're recycling the other end of the spoons. I sometimes use paper plates, but not a fan of plastic utensils, I think someone gave me these years ago and I never used them. They make great markers for the seedlings.
And here are the first trays in the greenhouse! Just a few minutes after I put the trays in, the greenhouse got that lovely smell of moist earth, life and potential! Dan and I were married in a greenhouse (although a much bigger and more permanent one than this.)  I can't wait to see the little green leaves pop up from the soil.  Magic truly is all around!

Blessings,
Mickie

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fairyland Fragrances and Coupon for You from Twinkleberry Cottage

I want to brag today about a fellow Etsy artisan Lore of Twinkleberry Cottage.  Lore hails from the Mojave Desert, and let me say, this lady really knows how to craft amazing moisturizers, creams, and other beautiful wares!  A little bit ago I got a lovely package of handcrafted items in the mail from Twinkleberry Cottage, I took photos as I opened it all up so I could share the magic with you!  Seriously dears, these are some of my personal favorite bath and body products, I use them all the time!  Her shop is an ever-changing magical place, you never know what magic you'll find there!


What gorgeous  packaging! I actually hung that cute Witch's Kitchen tag up in my kitchen next to one of my several Kitchen Witches.

Oh my! Two little jars of Twinkleberry Cottage Silk & Satin Lotien, and Faerie Frosting! Oh these are so lovely and they smell so yummy!  A really cute necklace, pink sparkly faerie magic!
Click here for Twinkleberry Cottages Springtime Sampler!
The Silk & Satin Lotion Faerie Whispers, smells just like it might actually help you hear the whispers of the Fae Folk.  I think the product name Silk & Satin is a perfect description! So silky smooth!

"Into the Woods" Scent - Fairy Frosting Body Souffle Lotion - 4oz Jar -- Fairyland Fragrances

The Faerie Frosting, one of my favorite Twinkleberry Cottage items is a super soft whipped cream that has a beautifully subtle pearlescent quality to it, not glittery, but classy.  This is such an elegant souffle, the product reminds me of something that Galadriel would have on her dressing table. Seriously, check out the Fairy Frosting, if you want to feel really special (and you are) here's a custom listing so you can choose your scent, click here.  She'll mix one up just for you, just in time for frolicking in the meadow among the spring blossoms!
Click here to see Twinkleberry Cottages Fairy Gem Necklace collection!
I love this sweet Fairy Gem Necklace! She has many sweet designs in her shop. This is a totally cute pendant, great packaging, and I love the sparkling gypsy style, perfect for spring!

Perfume!! Oh Twinkleberry, how did you know?  I had some of her body spray and Faerie Frosting in her Water Sprites scent, it has become my signature scent recently. It's really clean and fresh smelling, and it makes me happy to wear it. So what did I find in the package? A bottle of Water Sprites perfume!
Heaven!!

Twinkleberry Cottage is so good to us, she's offering my readers 25% off, just for you, because you're awesome! When you check out at Twinkleberrys Cottage before June 1, 2014, use coupon code MM25OFF to get your special discount!

Thanks Twinkleberry Cottage!  I shared some of my various lotions when my family was visiting and they were all really impressed, with the little jars and bottles of luxury.  None of her products leave your skin oily, but they magically soothe my dry skin every time.  I have some other scented lotions from big box stores, and while they smell good, they aren't nearly the same quality as My dear Miss Twinkleberry's products. If you're in the market for some very good quality lotions with wonderful scents, you should really check out her shop, you won't be disappointed!

Blessings,

Mickie

Monday, April 14, 2014

Breaking Ground in the Garden at Aelfheim

Spring is looking up, I'm so excited, we finally broke ground on our first garden here at the home we call Aelfheim.  We had a corral in the front of the barn where the horses had been hanging out for years, it gets lots of sun and has had plenty of manure dropped all over the place. We decide it would make a perfect vegetable garden.  The horses left to go with the previous owner last fall, so it sat all winter.

It's also pretty cool because Dan and I like to use organic gardening methods and as far as anyone knows, this land has never been planted, so there should be just natural soil with no residual chemicals lurking.

We used to use a little hand tiller back at the old place, but Grandpa Gecko has a great garden tractor with tiller attachments.  When you're tilling up a 25' x 30' vegetable garden this is the only way to go!

Tilled it deep and the earth was actually fluffy!  Gecko ran the tiller and Dan, Mom, and I went behind gathering rocks as he tilled them up.

Dan got down and just smelled the soil, I have to admit, it really smelled amazing.

It was just beautiful! I'm sure not everyone falls in love with the earth, but we have.  When you grow your own food, you can't help but love the earth and it's potential for life. There were tons of earthworms too, always a good sign. One end of the garden is lovely, the other end is partially clay, but Dan and I have amended clay soil before, and much worse than this.  We have a big pile of oak leaf mold that we're putting on the clay end along with three stables full of perfectly seasoned manure the horses left as a going away present, we couldn't be happier about a pile of poo!

Speaking of piles, right now we aren't harvesting anything but rocks...lots of rocks.  See this big pile of rocks?  This isn't the only one this size that we pulled out of the new garden.  I'll use all the rocks we harvested to build a little wall around a new herb garden.

Soon, we'll till all the added material in, and then we'll be ready to start planting. We'll be starting our own seeds, and I just can't wait to see this beautiful earth bursting with life!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Parcel Full of Mystical Cats!

All those years ago when I began working with amazing visionary author Lunaea Weatherstone on Mystical Cats Tarot, I made a big binder, like I do for all my big illustration jobs. I keep notes from phone conversations, reference photos, sketches, basically anything to do with the project is kept in this big binder so I can always find it. I also always decorate it so that it's easy to find the right one, and for fun and manifestation. Who would have thought all those years ago, I would have nailed which card Llewellyn would choose for the cover of the box...

It's the coolest feeling in the world when you get that finished product in your hands! FedEx pulled up in my driveway this morning and I ran out to greet the dude because I knew that my wonderful editor Becky Zins was sending a couple of the finished kits.  I'm a dork, but I can't help it, I was really excited!

Oh My Goddess Bast!! She sent two kits AND some book flats! Book flats are the book covers from the printer before it gets folded and glued to the book. I love to frame them when I can get my hands on these and hang them up in my studio.

Of course Willow the cat jumped right up and planted her kitty butt right in the middle of everything, like she does...always.  I think she approves. Willow the cat appears on two cards, once on the "Floating Cat" the Mystical Cats version of the "Hanged Man." I got the inspiration to use her for this card after she ate some poison lillies and ended up at the vets office overnight probably tripping her little kitty butt off.  She bounced back fine, more on that story here.  She also appears on the two of sea with my Llewellyn art department rock star and head of the art department Lynne Menturwecks cat.  So Willow is quite proud of herself.
Back of the deck
Back of the book
Here are the sides of the box, watch for this in bookstores everywhere this May!
Oh my, am I ever excited!  I just had to share with you. Now that the release of this shiny new deck is right around the corner, watch for new pretties to arrive in the official Mystical Cats Etsy shop too, we have tarot bags, jewelry, garden flags and more all featuring your favorite Mystical Cats!
https://www.etsy.com/shop/mysticalcatstarot


Also be sure to drop by our Facebook page for upcoming news and contests https://www.facebook.com/MysticalCatsTarot 

In the mean time I just want to put an entire kit on a necklace and wear it everywhere I go, is that so wrong?!


I was thinking all this excitement, purrrhaps I should do a giveaway, maybe a deck, tarot bag, autographed book flat, couple other fancies, what do you think?

Blessings,
Mickie

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

New Drawers to Dress Up the Studio


Since we moved to Aelfheim last fall, we've spent lots of time making this house a home.  Although we have gotten a lot done, we keep finding little things we can do to improve our space.  These clear plastic drawers used to have a home in a giant cabinet at our old house, but at Aelfheim, they ended up being used in my studio, and were one of the first things you would see when entering from the front door.  Not so nice.
This is the "before" view as you enter our front door.  See those nice plastic drawers? You can also see all the junk, i.e. art supplies etc. jumbled up inside of them. Not a great first impression.

The view from my art table when I turn around.  Pretty crap-tastic!

So Dan came up with a great plan to replace those ugly old plastic drawers with something much nicer.  I loved the idea, so we picked up two ClosetMaid Cubicals 3 cube organizers and 6 of their fabric cube shaped drawers and went to work.  
What's in my drawers?!  Holy cats, what a mess! Step one, organize and release!  I went though this mess and figured out what to keep, put it in a category, and what to pitch.

Next we built the two ClosetMaid pieces.  Now I have to tell you something really important here. ClosetMaid makes two lines of organisers, the Cubicals line will work with their fabric drawers, however... their Shelf Stackers line do not work with their fabric drawers, they look like they will, but they are about an inch too small. Yes, this was a lesson learned the hard way, one set had to be returned and the correct set purchased. We went with their 3 Cube Organizer.  We found two in a coffee color.  These are designed to be used horizontally or vertically, but they are designed to only stack in the horizontal position.  That cabinet that you see our ugly plastic drawers next to?  That's actually part of the house and can't be moved, so we needed to stack them vertically. 
Dan and I have built tons of these crazy boxed up furniture pieces in our day, we're like a well oiled machine working together.  Now to figure out a way to hack their design and make  the two pieces stack vertically.
Our homemade bamboo skewer peg tapped into place with a hammer.

Here's how we stacked them. We made 4 of our own pegs out of a bamboo skewer I found in the kitchen, they were the perfect diameter to make a tight fit.  Then, we put the top board onto the cubical that was going to be on the bottom of the stack and instead of using the screws to attach the board, we tapped the homemade pegs into the board as shown in the photo above. Then we built the second cubical and left the bottom board off. We stacked it on top of the other cubical lining up the pre-drilled holes with our homemade pegs and voila! We now had a 6 cube tower! I wouldn't stack these that high unless you have a nook like we did to put it in or at least a corner to add stability.  They also include a wall bracket which might be good to attach if you decide to try this little hack.  We didn't because it's pretty tight in that corner and clearly isn't going anywhere.

Now, I wanted some pretty labels for each fabric drawer so I wouldn't have to open each one to see what's inside.  I really wanted those fancy tags that look like luggage tags, heavy paper with a little metal strip around the outside. I've seen them in craft stores for use in scrap booking. But I had already spent more than my meager limit on this project, so I looked around to see what I had that I could make something with instead.
I found some pretty scrapbook paper and cut it to size, then folded it in half and glued both sides together so it would be thicker and two sided in case they ever flip.  
These are the only fancy scrapbook scissors I had at my house, I think my daughter Brittany left them here years ago...ummm...perfect!


Hole punched the top, threaded pretty green ribbon and tied it to the handle of the fabric drawer.

Then I used a cool font and printed labels for each drawer, aged them with some brown watercolor, and cut them to size.
I'm really happy with these, fancier than the tags I actually wanted, and they were free!

So now my studio has a nice upgrade! I have much more storage, I can find everything I need, and everyone that walks through doesn't have to look at all my junk in clear plastic drawers!
Didn't it turn out nice?! You can't even tell that it's two pieces that weren't meant to stack that way. It's really sturdy and visually a big improvement, not to mention all the extra storage!


Acrylic paint, I still have room for more!


Candle making supplies, a crafty witch's must-have!
Household tools, "I need a phillips head screwdriver!" Ha! I know right where that is! I added some empty tin cans so I don't have to dig to the bottom to find anything.


The new and improved view as you walk in the front door!  Oh so much better, that's a nice first impression!
And the view from my art table when I turn to stand up from my chair! 

I'm so much happier with this new storage solution! It's not a super expensive piece of furniture, but it really added function, class and personality to my studio and the adjoining library.  Sometimes being creative with what you can find and what you already have really pays off.

Brightest Blessings,

Mickie

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