Back from Nature

This past weekend was my annual retreat into the woods. I love going every year, but every year it’s harder and harder to come back to the daily reality. There’s something about a weekend full of relaxation, fun, and nature that is amazing, especially when it comes with a big break in connectivity and lots of times with new friends and old friends. If it weren’t for my cats, I’d be tempted to refuse to come back.

The spring weather was beautiful, although the Magnolia tree was too far along to attract the wonderful clouds of bees it sometimes gets. I did get to see several deer, which was quite exciting.

I also got a chance to take some pictures, and I’m so glad that I was able to be there with my community.

Sisters

Gwen and Aurora

Ursa and Grey

Rabbit

Tempie and Kye

Slow Crafts

Some craft projects are fast, like candle-pouring. Some are slower, like knitting. And some are really, really slow. Like cross stitch.

Cross stitch was one of my first crafts — my mom is a cross stitcher so it was easier to do on a regular basis than knitting (which I learned from my grandmother) because she was there to help. But it takes a long time, and so it’s not something I’ve ever been as prolific with.

But while I was feeling under the weather, for some reason, my brain refused to knit. Just flat out wanted nothing to do with it. Even simple things. But cross stitch, with all the counting and tiny, tiny stitches?

That was apparently okay.

Yeah, I don’t make sense to me either.

Cross stitch

But I did make some progress on my big and complicated cross stitch project. I’m making a mental note to try to devote more regular time to work on it so that someday, I might finish.

White Elephant Finds

I’ve been pretty sick since midway through last week, which does a lot to explain the lack of blog posts. I’m pretty sure it’s just a cold but it’s miserable all the same. I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on my couch sneezing and coughing and making pitiful sad faces.

I did manage to get myself to the annual White Elephant Sale in Oakland, however. It pretty much wiped me out for the entire weekend, but it was worth it. I wasn’t looking for any big items this year, but I found a few smaller ones.

Most of it was generally unremarkable. Some silver goblets, a pretty decorated mirror tray for my bathroom counter, a fancy teacup. But there were some standout finds.

Copper Cauldron

A copper cauldron! I haven’t had a functional cauldron until now – I have a little ceramic one that’s very cute but not practical for much, as it’s very small and can’t take heat.

This copper beauty is a good size, and has likely already been owned by someone witchy. There’s no evidence of it being used over a fire (and I’m not sure the welds on the legs would hold if you tried) but there’s clear signs that somebody has burned things inside it before. I’m so pleased with it, it’s just adorable.

Sailor Dress

I also found a great dress. I’ve never had luck with clothing at the sale, and I think to really score in women’s vintage you have to get preview tickets. This dress is very 1980s does 1940s, but it’s still quite cute. I love the sailor dress thing and all this needs is a new hook and eye on the neck and to be taken in an inch or so to fit me.

I’m so happy with my finds, and it was completely worth getting exhausted and spending the rest of the weekend lying on my sofa resting.

Maintenance Mode

This weekend seemed to be all about maintenance. Catching up on bits of projects to be able to move ahead.

I untangled the yarn for the Tree of Wisdom socks that was massively tangled. I did laundry. I started to sort out what I need to gather to do my taxes. Inquired about getting some computer maintenance done.

We also got back in the groove for Black a Widow Honey. We redid the the Four of Cups and the King of Cups, which marks the end of re-shoots, at least for now. (We have one that’s waiting until the end for logistical reasons.). Then onward to the majors! I’m so excited, you have no idea.

Of course I had fun, too. Part of my resolutions this year are to go out and be more social since my hobbies make it entirely too easy to become a hermit.

I checked out Mango, the queer women’s dance party at El Rio. Getting into San Francisco is a hike, but worth it. The party was loud, crowded, and awesome. I just learned to get there early if I go.

I also met up with the Lake Merritt pagans for a rain ritual on Sunday. I met them at PantheaCon and it was lovely. I don’t live by the lake anymore but I still love it and I really enjoyed the informal, spontaneous ritual.

Now I just need to train myself to function on less sleep so I can do everything I want in a day …

FO Friday: Revelry on the Fjords

It’s another pair of CAYA socksthat I’m so pleased to have finished! These socks are for the lovely Molly Blue Dawn, our wishbringer and serendipitous priestess.

I knew Molly’s socks had to be blue and the crisp white, blue, and yellow combination suits her quite well. It’s cheery, just as she is. This pair marks the last pair of socks for the Elderflowers, and time to move on to knitting for Hive 09. Progress!

Revelry by The Fjords

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Solids in white and dandelion with Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in blue yonder tonal. The pattern is By the Fjords by Stephanie van der Linden.

I had to some pattern alterations. As written, the foot was far too long for the given size and the decrease pattern resulted in a weird bulge on the foot. I basically reworked the entire toe.

Once that was done, however, it turned out great and Molly was delighted to receive them! Hooray!

Storm Moon Candles

The second batch of full moon candles is done! These Storm Moon candles were poured on the full moon this month, and I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out.

First pour, Storm Moon

The color turned out perfect, though I got a few white spots on the side. I like the effect, like snowflakes, but I need to figure out what might have caused it so I an only do it on purpose.

Second Pour, Storm Moon

The candles are imbued with the intention of reflection, peace, and inner wisdom even when there is turmoil and chaos outside. I charged them under the full moon at PantheaCon — luckily, the hotel rooms have balconies so I was able to pack them with me instead of leaving them home.

Charging Storm Moon candles

I’ve already had people claim their candles! I think I’m going to do a switch from container candles to stand-alone pillars for my next batch. I’m halfway through my case of jars, and I can’t find a source for the three-day containers anymore. The company I ordered from still sells seven-day but doesn’t appear to stock these anymore. I’m also gearing up to sell these, and the margin on craft enterprises is generally pretty tight, so pillars will be more cost effective as well.

PantheaCon Madness

I love PantheaCon. Ever year, thousands of witches, pagans, conjurers, and the like converge on the Bay Area for four days of workshops, magic, parties, and fun.

This was my fifth PantheaCon in the past six years — I missed one year — and it was a good weekend, though I was hit with some pretty powerful emotions to process at the end.

I managed a fairly good slate of workshops. Some practical things, which are often my favorite. Making natural incense, wheat weaving, a workshops on herbs and mojo bags, and Lou Florez’s amazing workshop on Queering Conjure were some of my favorite parts of the weekend.

Other stuff was a mixed bag. I had high hopes for a ritual on The Power of Love for Healing and Happiness that just totally missed the mark. Great idea, poor execution, though it’s given me some thoughts of my own for what I can offer the community. The Sekhmet Empowerment ritual, however, was a last-minute decision (I was literally half asleep in bed and got up and changed and ran downstairs with five minutes to start) that turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I also met some new people, which was always great, and found more things I’d like to check out. Of course, despite my best intention, I wandered over to the vendor room …

PantheaCon Swag

I actually exercised some restraint! My goal this year was to only buy things I would use, and to try to avoid being seduced by the shiny. I wound up coming home with the six incense cones I made in class, a Brigid’s cross and two wheat braids I wove in class, two mojo bags from workshops, a necklace from the Pomba Gira ritual, a dangly bit for my hair, a book on making incense, a cup and bowl from my favorite potter, a copper herb knife, and a set of glass runestones with a book on runes.

The knife and runes are both interesting. They’re gorgeous pieces and they called to me immediately. Only I don’t read runes and I haven’t had great luck with gardening — that didn’t matter, they clearly wanted to come home with me. So we shall see what comes of this! I haven’t been able to stop playing with the runes since I got home, they’re just beautiful and feel so good in my hands.

It was, as always, hard to leave. I want to stay around my people and be crafty and learn things all day, but it’s good to be home with my cats too. And I’ve brought a lot of things — material and spiritual — home with me to remember it.