Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ring of Fire

Ever since we moved in here at our home on the edge of the woods we lovingly call Aelfheim, we've wanted to build a fire ring.  We knew a fire ring would be the perfect addition for full moon nights, sabbats, and also just for drinking some wine and beer with friends and making s'mores.  A few weeks ago (yep, I got behind again) my daughter Brittany and her family came to visit, so we enlisted her and her husband, veteran rock hauler and stacker PJ to assist us.

Dan got the wagon hooked up to the back of the garden tractor and we headed down to the back of the pasture where we've been eyeing a really nice pile of big rocks for this project.  Our little grands couldn't resist riding with their PeePaw!

Once we got the tractor down there, Brittany, PJ and Dan carried the biggest rocks and put them on the tractor. I'm still healing up from the tendonitis I ended up with back in January, and struggling with adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) which probably was due to disuse of my arm when I had the worst of the tendinitis. So I have some arm pain and can't lift my arm very high. I was only allowed to carry little rocks that I could lift with my left hand. The little kids and I got all the little rocks. 

Thank goodness my daughter is no shrinking violet, we raise them tough in my family!  And PJ dug right into the project both literally and figuratively, prying up and lugging some of the bigger ones!

Dan hauled them all up to the clearing outside of the back yard that we had chosen as the perfect spot!  It took several trips to get all the rocks we needed.

The guys got to work plotting and planning. PJ fitted the rocks together like he was building New Grange or Stonehenge.

In the end, Dan's vision of a fire ring with a keyhole was complete.  We're going to build a grate to put over the keyhole section. We can have a big fire, then rake hot coals into the keyhole, put the grate on and grill! I thought it was a really cool idea. I also love the keyhole shape on a spiritual level, it's a passageway between the realms, so great for sending wishes off to manifest, or scrying in fire and smoke.  In proper Kitchen Witch fashion, it's magical and practical at the same time.

The guys immediately broke it in with the first fire.  An outside hearth created by family from nothing but stones from the land, dedicated to love, fellowship, and magic!  Our meal that evening was hot dogs cooked on long forks over the fire, beer, wine, music, and laughter.  Of course hot dogs and marshmallows were properly sacrificed to the Fire Gods!

We've used our new fire ring several times so far, the kids are excited about having a vigil fire for Yule. It's become a lovely addition to the magical land of Aelfheim.


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!


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!

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

Good luck!


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!


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!

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!



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!

Also be sure to drop by our Facebook page for upcoming news and contests 

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?



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