Crafts

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Winter ♥ Yule

Warm Solstice Greetings
by Natalie Zaman


Create this spice-scented reminder of the sun's return to sweeten the Winter Solstice and grow good things in the year to come! You'll need: 

  • 1 navel (thick-skinned) orange Grown in warm climates, the orange, with its round shape and bright color, is symbolic of the sun. Magically, you can use oranges to bring things into your life. 
  • 1 jar (or more) of whole cloves The strongly-scented clove will provide energy for this work. It also represents fire, an element honored at both Yule and Imbolc. 
  • Ground cinnamon A fire and sun spice, cinnamon is used in magic for healing, protection and focusing energy. Put the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. The mingled scents of cinnamon, clove and orange promote an energized warmth that will help you develop a sunny outlook and a positive outcome.
  • 4 lengths of gold ribbon (long enough to wrap around your orange and tie at the bottom, leaving some length to dangle) The color gold is symbolic of the sun, fire, and the God. Magically, gold is good for thinking, problem solving and health. 
  • A straight pin or slender nail (it should be slimmer than the clove). 


Before you begin, decide what pattern you would like to make with the cloves on your orange. Dot your pattern onto the orange using a pen or marker—each dot will mark where you will place a clove. You can make vertical rows, or you can have a central design like a pentacle. 


When the pattern is complete, carefully drive the pin or nail into each dot--this will make it easier to push the cloves through. 


Push the cloves into the orange according to your pattern, and say, 

Cinnamon, clove and orange round 
And by golden ribbon bound, 
As the sun returns to me 
Let (insert your intention) grow So mote it be! 

What would you like to see grow in the coming year? Better study habits? New friendships? Fill in the blank with your intention. 


When all the cloves are in, place your orange in the bowl of cinnamon and roll it around, continuing to say the spell. The ground cinnamon will soak up and dry any juice that has come out of the orange, and will also help to preserve it for a while. 


Once the orange is coated with the cinnamon, remove it from the bowl and tap off the excess powder. Then, one at a time, wrap three of your ribbons around the orange, tying three times (for the Goddess) at the bottom, leaving a couple of inches of ribbon to dangle. 


Slide last piece of ribbon underneath the ribbons at the top and make a loop. Hang it indoors or out to share some sunshine!


Winter ♥ Imbolc






Spring ♥ Ostara


Flowers "Write" from the Goddess' Garden!
by Natalie Zaman

Don't pick the flowers--let them grow, and make these pretty flower pens instead! You Will Need:
  • Silk Flowers 
  • Pens with removable tabs at the end (the pen's body must be a hollow tube) 
  • Glue Gun 
  • Floral Tape 
  • Wire Cutters 
  • Scissors 
 Remove the tab--the small plastic plug at the end of the pen.


With the wire cutters, cut the flower so that there is about a half inch of stem attached to it. Cut the leaf in the same manner (usually the leaf stems are plastic and you can cut it with regular scissors).


Put a few drops of glue from the glue gun at the top of the pen where the tab was removed. One at a time, insert the leaf and flower into the opening.


When the glue is dry, take a length of floral tape, and starting at the top...


...wrap the pen...


until you get to the bottom.


If you still have tape when you get to the end, you can cut it, or continue to wrap upwards until you run out. Floral tape is sticky; when you finish wrapping, gently rub the tape in one direction to seal it.


If you make several pens, you can create a garden display to show them off. Place a block of floral foam in a basket and cover it with tissue paper. "Plant" your pens by sticking each one into the foam, being careful not to scrunch up the tape when you push them in.


Happy gardening!


Virgin Mobile
by Natalie Zaman, Art by Thalia Took

As we begin the Goddess season, it's time to focus on the Maiden aspect of the Goddess; she who embodies innocence, beginnings and the potential of life. That sounds an awful lot like Spring, doesn't it? One manifestation of the Maiden is the Roman fire goddess, Vesta. A virgin (another word for Maiden), Vesta tends an eternal flame. Since the Spring heralds the coming of warmer days, it is fitting to honor her at the Equinox. The materials we'll be using to make our "Virgin Mobile" honor Vesta, the Maiden in all her forms, and the Equinox. The orange represents the sun, and the smaller, lemon, the moon; remember, the Equinox is that 'twixt and 'tween time of equal night and day. Because we're recycling (using a wire hanger) and using natural materials, we're showing respect for the earth which honors the Goddess. And of course, there's no better color for Spring than green! You Will Need:
  • Two Vesta Cards 
  • Wire Hanger (you can get one of these from a dry cleaner) 
  • 1 Orange 
  • 1 Lemon 
  • Powdered Sugar 
  • Green Yarn 
  • Scissors 
  • Tape or glue 
KIDS--BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Remember, any baking and cutting MUST be done with an adult!

Click the picture for images of Vesta to print out:

http://freepdfhosting.com/7532d6f180.pdf

Cut out the cards and glue them back to back so that the image can be seen on both sides. Punch a small hole in the top and set it aside. 


Cut a long length of the yarn and tie it in the center of the bottom bar of the hanger making sure that both strings (after you tie the knot) are about the same length. Working from the center, doing one side first and then the other, wrap the bottom wire with the yarn. You may find (like we did!) that the length you initially cut isn't long enough. If this is the case, tie more yarn on and keep wrapping.


When you get to the end, tie off the yarn or secure it with glue or a piece of tape.


Cut the lemon and the orange into thin slices. The center of each slice should look like a star made of triangular shaped segments.


Carefully cut or poke out a single segment from each slice, being careful not to tear the peel. Don't waste the segments that you remove--pop them in a glass of ice water for a refreshing treat!


Place the slices in a single layer on cookie sheets lined with baking parchment (this prevents sticking), and dust them with powdered sugar (the fruit should be totally covered).


Bake the slices in a 200 degree oven for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the segments are semi-translucent (see through) and the peels are dry. The longer you leave them in, the darker they'll get. (And yes, they can be eaten!)


Thread a length of yarn (at least 12 inches) through the opening made where you removed the segment. Tie it off, being careful not to pull too tightly on the yarn (the slices are hard and brittle and may break). then tie the other end to the bottom wire of the hanger.


Hang the remainder of the slices in the same manner, working your way across the bottom wire and varying the lengths of the yarn.Thread yarn through the hole you made in the Vesta card, and tie it to the top point of the mobile right under the hook.


Your mobile is now ready to hang! If you place it outdoors, it may attract animals, birds and insects. If it's warm, you may see some hummingbirds and butterflies--and bees (these guys love sweets). Be careful around any wildlife that bites or stings.

We love it when readers try our crafts and write in to tell us about it. Check out the Vesta Mobile made by Hava and Max!










Spring ♥ Beltane

Blowing in the Wind
by Charlotte Bennardo


Chill airs and wintry winds!
My ear has grown familiar with your song. 

I hear it in the opening year,
I listen and it cheers me long.
Henry D. Longfellow

The wind blows everywhere. It ripples across your neighborhood, kicks up dust on Saturn, and scatters particles from the sun. Honor the wind and renew your loyalty to Mother Earth by creating a wind chime from recycled materials. You'll  need:
  • Clear fishing line or upholstery thread
  • Screws, bolts, nuts, nails, door hinges, keys, sections of small copper pipe
  • An old shower drain cover or similar hardware
  • Scissors
Please don’t raid your mom or dad’s tool box, unscrew pieces off the car or take apart the blender looking for your supplies--they can be found easily enough. Ask parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends what they can give you from this list. If you know a carpenter or plumber, you’re in luck! They have all kinds of nifty things you can use. You can buy a whole box of hardware (called junk by moms everywhere) for a few dollars at yard sales. Old keys are interesting to look at and make a light tinkling sound. Paints and varnish can dull the sound of the chimes, so if you come across an interesting piece that's been painted, test it for sound by dropping it on the ground.

Make sure the pieces are clean. Give them a scrub with a little dish washing liquid in a plastic bucket and an old toothbrush to remove any coatings. If any pieces have industrial or automotive oil, lubricants, or gunk on them, don't use them. Be careful that what you work with and what you put outdoors is free of toxins.

Cut different lengths of the fishing line. Tie one end to the shower drain plate or other piece, like a long pipe (plastic is okay as long as it’s strong and not too heavy).


Attach the nails, screws and other pieces, spacing them out. They must be close enough to bang into each other with a light breeze. They should not be long so long that they will get tangled in a strong wind. Strings between two and six inches work best.


The lowest tree branch or porch overhang is a great place to place your chimes. Get permission before hanging them from the house, and have someone help. Don't worry about letting them rust. It’s a natural process.


A neat thing you can do is ask anyone who plays a musical instrument to play some notes so you can figure out what sounds your chimes make. I have an electronic tuner for my violin, so I know that a five-inch screw makes the sound of E flat! Now, listen to the music of the wind’s passage.



Summer ♥ Litha

Build a Bee Box!
by Charlotte Bennardo


Everybody needs a home—especially bees since they pollinate our flowers, fruits, nuts, seeds and other plants. Because many species are in trouble from CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), we’re going to build homes for them! Here’s what you'll need:
  • Scrap wood that's at least 4 inches thick. (The wood must NOT be treated, and be a good do-bee—use recycled lumber. Ask a parent, friend, or neighbor for wood they're not using. Construction sites are also great places to get scrap wood. Have an adult ask one of the workers for wood scraps). 
  • Drill with various bits: 5/16, 1/3, 1/2, 3/16. It’s not essential to have a specific size, although not too big or too small--the drill will make holes in the wood that will serve as doorways for bees! 
  • A place to hang your bee box. The location must be dry, but near a mud source. The box needs to be protected from rain, predators like birds, and away from insecticides. A southern or eastern exposure is best. 
  • Two screws or a metal hook to hang your box. A simple eye hook (it's shaped like a lollipop with a a hole in the center) is a good choice. 
  • Sturdy string or cord. 
Bee-cause you’re smart :), we know you’ll have an adult help you with this project!


Place the wood on a steady surface, like a garage floor or work bench (it can also be placed in a vice).   Drill holes into the wood at least an inch or more apart. Don't drill right through the wood--leave the back solid. You can make simple columns and rows or do a pretty pattern. Just remember that more bees will have a home with more holes available. Give it a light sand to brush off splinters. 


Drill a hole on the top of the box for your hanging hook (see the bee box on the right in the picture below). If you're using screws, insert one on each side towards the top of the box (see the bee box on the left in the photo). Thread the cord through the hook, or tie around each screw, adjusting the length as needed, and you're ready to go! 


Remember, bees need a variety of plants to pollinate and there will be competition from hummingbirds and butterflies. If you can’t supply a lot of food sources, leave the boxes in a location where the bees will have access to everything that they need. 

There are many websites offering information on building bee boxes and bee keeping. The instructions for making this bee box were based on information gathered from the websites of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Education, National Wildlife Federation, Grit.com, Etsy (Andrews’ Reclaimed), and Kate’s Bee Boxes. If thirteen-year-old Kate (with some help from her Dad) can build boxes to save the bees--so can you! 

*Many people are allergic to bee stings--use caution around bees!



Summer ♥ Lammas


Seed Sanctuary
by Charlotte Bennardo

Mother Earth leaves a hidden bounty behind every fall in preparation for next Spring. By harvesting seeds now, we’re ‘recycling’ plants for next year.

Do you, or does someone you know have a vegetable garden? One tomato will have enough seeds to start a garden next May. Ask for a tomato, cucumber, pepper, or one of whatever vegetables people have grown--you can still eat the veggies, but keep the seeds! Don’t overlook spices and herbs. If you have your own garden, allow one plant to ‘go to seed’--that’s when the plant won’t produce, for example, cilantro for your salsa, but seeds instead.

After a while, seeds can start to look alike and you will have chaos in your garden if you mix them up--so make a seed sanctuary: a safe place for seeds to rest during the winter. As you gather and dry the seeds, put them into separate containers and  label them. Recycled cans and jars make great containers for storing seeds:


And what about flowers? Almost all flowers have seeds although you may not see them unless you look for them (like the marigold flower head, or pods, and the day lily, after the flower disappears). As the flower heads die, snip them off and save them. The seeds or pods must be completely dried, or they will get moldy and will not grow next spring. And, seeds need to ‘rest’ or go dormant for a year before they can be planted; if you plant seeds you collect right away, most of them will not grow. We’re thinking ahead to next year--so put them on a shelf in the garage, shed or other cool, dry place and then store them in recycled plastic containers and cans.

Wildflowers count too! Wildflowers are necessary for migrating butterflies, honey producing bees, and even animals like bats, who like the sweet nectar. If there are no fields around your house where wildflowers grow, take a hike in a local or state park (Be careful about bringing flowers and plants from other states. Sometimes plants can be invasive and will starve out native plants. Once they take root, it is almost impossible to get rid of them.). Get permission from park rangers to harvest seeds. You don't want to disturb protected areas. Gather seeds from all the varieties you can find. This is called bio-diversity. Lots of different plants mixed together confuse bugs and animals that don’t like to mix their foods (just like you didn’t want your foods on your dinner plate to touch each other!). Make a note about where you found each plant, like "in dry soil" or "near a marsh," so that you can put it in a similar environment.




Fall ♥ Autumnal Equinox

Feeding the Feathered
by Charlotte Bennardo

Winter is coming (the Old Farmer's Almanac said so!), and so is Thanksgiving. Share your bounty and do some recycling with this simple project. Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Dried cranberries 
  • Can of mixed nuts (unsalted if possible, or the salt must be rinsed off) 
  • Dried sunflower seeds 
  • Chunky peanut butter 
  • Cardboard (recycle a cereal or snack box) 
  • Scissors 
  • Colored String, cut into 7 or 9” lengths (bright colors attract birds!) 
  • Square paper 


Fold the paper in half diagonally four times to form a triangle. Cut holes on the sides to form a paper snowflake. Keep the design simple.
Trace paper snowflake on the cardboard...
...and cut it out.
Punch a hole and thread a string through. 
Knot the ends together to form a loop for hanging.
Mix the cranberries, nuts, and seeds and spread them out on a sheet of waxed paper.
Smear a good coating of peanut butter on BOTH sides of the snowflake.
Then press them into the mix. Make sure all the peanut butter is covered.
Hang your snowflakes where birds can get to them (the squirrels will find them too!).

Bon appetite feathered (and furry) friends!


Treasure in the Cornfield
by Laura Beth Shope, photo by Cogdogblog, Flickr Creative Commons

Do you like to get dirty?

Would you like to discover your own historical artifacts?

If so, then arrowhead hunting may be your new favorite hobby. American Indians hunted and worked with these hand crafted tools all over the land, long before we arrived. Cornfields are the best place to look for arrowheads because the soil is frequently turned for vegetable growth. Before the corn sprouts and after a rainfall are the best times to hunt for your treasure.

Getting prepared for your hunt requires only a few items. You will need knee pads, gloves, a water bottle, and old rag, and a bag. Knee pads and gloves are used for protection while hunting on hands and knees. The closer you are to the ground, the easier you may spot an arrowhead. The water bottle and rag are used to clean any artifacts, and the bag, of course, is to collect all your discoveries. Now you're ready to find a cornfield.

Collect and save your findings--or make things with them, like this stepping stone!

Different arrowheads are made from different rocks, depending on your location. Jasper, relevant in the eastern hemisphere, is an opaque variety of quartz that varies in color from red, brown to yellow. Flint, also found in the east, is a hard gray to black sedimentary rock. Obsidian is more common in the western hemisphere, however it is not a rock; it is volcanic glass. The curved, lustrous surfaces (displayed when fractured) make obsidian easy to identify.

Indians crafted special tools for specific reasons. Thumbnail scrapers were used to take the hide off animals, while bird points were small and sharp to pierce feathers. Larger blades were made for cutting and hooks were made for fishing. Many different shapes and sizes were created, depending on the hunt.

After you've discovered your own historical treasure, you will never look at cornfields the same way again. You can further research Indian artifacts at your local library. Start your own arrowhead collection or simply enjoy the hunt. Cornfields don't only produce corn, but hidden treasure, too.

Happy hunting!

Make a Wheat Weaving for Mabon
by Natalie Zaman

Like Lammas, Mabon is a Harvest Festival. While Lammas marks the first Harvest (fruits), Mabon marks the last (grains). If you live on or near a farm, you can see that the plants are starting to yellow. It's the end of the growing season, and the world is getting ready to renew itself, and go to sleep for a while. 

You may see people hang wheat weavings in their houses or on their doors once the cooler weather of Fall settles in. They do look lovely, but they are more than just a decoration. In times past, when the Harvest was gathered, stalks of the best corn were set aside to be woven into a Corn Dollie, a talisman in which the spirit of the fields would dwell during the Winter, when the land was dormant (at rest). The Corn Dollie would be presented to the landlord (read: the "Land Lord"  who owned many acres of property, and families who lived close by would rent the land from him and grow crops on it). The Corn Dollie would be accepted and in return, a feast would be given.


Today, we know these as Fall Festivals or Harvest Home banquets. These feasts were held not only to show thanks to the Earth and enjoy Her bounty, but as an act of faith that the fields would bloom again. When the fields were plowed for the next Spring's planting, the Corn Dollie would be returned to the Earth. Visit the Guild of Straw Craftsmen to see some really neat examples of the kind of Corn Dollies you can make--then, try it yourself and bring an Autumnal Blessing to your home. You'll need: 

  • 9 strands of wheat 
  • Water 
  • A Large Flat Pan (it should be big enough to lay the wheat flat in it without bending the stalks) 
  • Red Ribbon (you can also use a seasonal color like orange--both represent fiery energy!) 
  • Scissors 

While you are braiding and tying, say the following spell (or make up your own):

Welcome Mabon! 
Colors bright, 
An time of equal Day and night. 
Goddess sweet, please smile on me, 
And on my home give blessings three! 

You may want to practice braiding with some string before you begin so that when you do the work, you can concentrate on the spell and not be distracted or frustrated if you make a mistake. Soak the wheat in water for about three hours before you work with it so that it is soft and pliable. 

Tie the nine strands of wheat together with the heads at the top, then divide the nine into three sections of three strands each. Hold the wheat so that the sections are in front of you like the diagram below. The left strand is A, the middle, B and the right, C.


Start with your left strand (A) and cross it over the middle strand (B). Next, take the right strand (C) and cross it over the new "middle" strand (A).


Take your new "left" strand (B) and cross it over your new "middle" strand (C). Then take your right strand (now A) and cross if over the middle strand (B).


Each thread takes turns as the middle, left and right strands with each crossing. 


Keep repeating the process--crossing the left and then the right strands over the middle strand of the braid, until the strands are too short to cross any more.


Take the end of the braid and bend it up so that the braid makes a loop. Tie the end to the top of the Corn Dollie (where the heads of the wheat are) and knot three times. Tie a length of ribbon through the braid loop for hanging--or you can do what I did here and make three braided loops and link them together. 


You may want to tie a sachet of herbs (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and star anise make a lovely Autumnal combination!), or other plants and feathers and decorations to give your Corn Dollie some extra energy.

Mabon Blessings to you!



Fall ♥ Samhain

Be A Light, Make A Light!
by Charlotte Bennardo


It can be hard to see in the dark--but little by little, the light is coming back. In the mean time, you can make a light, and be a light with basic tools and recycled materials. Here’s what you'll need:


  • Tin cans (Any size can works; large like the ones you see at Costco, or small like tuna cans. Just make sure they are clean, dry, and have no sharp edges.)
  • Candle stubs or votive candles
  • Sand or fresh kitty litter
  • An awl or thick sharp nail
  • Hammer


What design would you like the candlelight to make? A pentagram? A crescent moon? Whatever picture or symbol you choose, keep it simple! The design must be reduced to a bunch of dots. After deciding on your design, draw it on the can with a black medium point marker. 


Place the awl or nail on one of the dots. Tap the hammer slowly and carefully to puncture the side of the can. You don’t want to bend the can, so you may have to insert a block of wood, but a stiff piece of Styrofoam will help the can keep its shape. 


Once your can in punctured in your design, pour at least one inch of sand, small gravel or litter into it. 


Center your candle (NEVER leave a burning candle unattended!) and share your light!



Take A Bite of the Future
by Katharine Clark and Natalie Zaman, Art from ClipartPanda


Happy New Year! Wait a minute—it’s October. New Years isn't until... January, right?

Halloween used to be considered the end of the year, Samhain or "Summer's End". And just like us, folks in the past thought that the end of the year was a good time to have a look ahead. You can celebrate this part of Samhain and make a yummy Halloween treat with a batch of fortune-telling cakes. A little—but that comes later. 

Bake a batch of cupcakes or muffins. Be sure to use paper baking cups. Once they are baked and cooled you can decorate them too—just make sure that they all look similar—that's part of the magic!


Next, on a blank sheet of paper, draw circles that are the same size as the bottom of your baking cups (you can use one to trace the circles). 

Draw one of each of the following pictures in each circle and its one meaning underneath or around the image (feel free to add your own): 

heart ~ LOVE 
wheel ~ TRAVEL 
circle ~ SOMETHING WILL REACH COMPLETION
arrow ~ YOU WILL BE GIVEN DIRECTION
butterfly ~ CHANGE 
vine ~ GROWTH
lightning ~ AN "AHA!" MOMENT
book ~ KNOWLEDGE or STUDY
dollar ~ WEALTH or ABUNDANCE
ring ~ COMMITMENT
door ~ OPPORTUNITY
scales ~ JUSTICE
key ~ ANSWERS
handshake ~ FRIENDSHIP
eye ~ AN ENLIGHTENING VISION
horseshoe ~ LUCK
lips ~ AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION

Cut out the circles and glue them to the bottom of the baking cups of the cooled cakes, then arrange them on a tray. Take a cake (no put-backs-ies--you get what you get!) to see what the future may hold for you. Trick or Treat!

Lucky Pumpkin Seeds
By Connie Jasper, Photo by Brian Jackson via Flickr Creative Commons

For this magic charm, you will need:

  • A pumpkin
  • Newspapers
  • A tool to carve the pumpkin
  • A large colander
  • A baking tray. 

Put the newspapers under the pumpkin to keep the table or counter clean before carving it. Remove the insides from the pumpkin and place them in the colander. Rinse the seeds with cold water and pull them from the stringy stuff. Place the seeds in a single layer on the baking tray, then put the baking tray in a warm dry place where it will not be disturbed--like the top of the refrigerator or a window sill. 


When the seeds are completely dry, put your hands over them and say: 

Magic pumpkin, magic seeds, 
Magic charm, fill my needs. 
Magic pumpkin, magic seeds, 
Magic power, do my deeds. 

Now the pumpkin seeds are ready to be used for magic. Whenever you want to use a seed, say the magic charm over it, and then ask for your wish. Then put the seed in a place where it will be safe. Sometimes magic takes a little time to work, so be patient, and good luck!



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