Friday, December 31, 2010

Mused: Gifts of the Season

So I have shown you some of the gifts I made, now it's time to show you the gifts we received! 

 My grandfather and his girlfriend made these blankets for me and the kiddo.  Everyone in the family received one with their name, even my mom's dog.  They are all sorts of nice and comfy!
 These, plus one I didn't get a picture of because it's in use in my kitchen, came from them as well, but only his girlfriend did the work.  I guess she embroiders during her morning coffee.  I think that will be my hope for the future. :)
Aren't these wonderful?  I adore, ADORE, embroidered flour sack dish towels.  Let me say that again, ADORE!  They remind me of my childhood when we used them all the time.  I remember my great grandmother making these.  Now, teddy bears aren't my favorite thing in the world, but they are adorable and will be well used.  I have had dish towels on my list of projects to make forever.  Maybe these will inspire me to finally get them done.

A friend wants to do a themed xmas next year, Our Ethnic Heritage, so I could whip some of these out with Dutch tulips and patterns.  Although I think I might make them into cloth napkins...  Ah, so many project ideas!  At least I know what I will be doing for my summer crafting.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Musing: Stolen Time

I write on stolen time,
on light when darkness reigns.
Front and snow give trees winter leaves
while they lie sleeping,
glowing with reflected headlights
that cut through morning fog,
silent sentinels brooding over the intrusion.
And I , I cut the dark with my light,
stealing time,
writing them out of the night.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Muse: Take a Break

It's the perfect time to launch into a week about the new year.  Perfect timing to give you a list of what to dos or not dos.  But you know what?  I'm sure you are getting enough of that else where.  And I never tend to make resolutions. 

That's going to be a bit different this year, but my 'resolutions' take place at the beginning of February with oaths taken for Imbolc. 

So today, I'm going to tell you just to take a break.  Relax for awhile.  The holidays are mostly over and, if you're like me, that means you no longer have to craft your butt off.  So just chill out for awhile and not worry about what your next project is.

Even if I hadn't of been planning on telling you that, I would this morning.  My soup leaked all over my work bag on my way in.  Now my backpack, my 'essentials' bag, two books, and my lunch bag all smell like dumpling soup.  Luckily the books are just a bit wet, but the rest are really wet. 

So I'm taking this as a sign to remind me to slow down and not get too frustrated with the world.

How did your holidays go?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mused: And to All a Good Night

As usual, the holidays are all sorts of busy.  I have a million projects to do and not enough time to get them done.

And as this is xmas eve or after it, I will leave you with a couple pictures of what I have accomplished this year.  Many of them are already wrapped and under the tree or already handed out, but I managed a few pictures.
 I made our stockings this year.  And I forgot to get a better picture of them hanging up on the wall.
Crochet wolf I made for my son.

Upholstered ornaments for my coworkers.

I hope your holidays are full of joy and laughter.

Hail the newborn sun!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Musing: Holiday Music

The noise is contagious –
going for a sleigh ride,
jingling bells
around the clock.
Every speaker seems
determined to get at you,
to convert you to the Claus.
They send out worms
burrowing into your brain
incessently repeating.
It’s on everyone’s lips –
a hum, a phrase, a verse.
Forced cheeriness
in the darkness of winter.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Muse: Why I celebrate Xmas

As a Pagan, Xmas (Christmas) is an iffy time.  We have Solstice a few days earlier.  But everyone else turns out for Xmas.  What is a Pagan to do?  Do we pretend like Xmas doesn't exist?  Do we go along with the holiday as well as celebrate Solstice?  And if you are raising children, do you follow the traditions and give them an Xmas or raise them without it?

I was raised as a Christian, Methodist to be exact.  Most of my family is still Christian, Evangelical unfortunately, so we all get together on Xmas eve to exchange gifts, hang out, and some of them go to church afterward.  If I were to give up the Xmas traditions, it would be hard because of my family.  Granted, I could think of it as a belated Solstice gifting (which I kind of do), but it would be confusing for my young one to say that we don't celebrate Xmas but yet celebrate Xmas.

So we do a little of both.  We have a bit of a ritual for Solstice, and I'm going to let him open a present for Solstice.  Tonight we may wake up at horrible hours and watch the full moon eclipse!  We have a tree with stars and suns and homemade ornaments.  We have stockings and snowflakes.  We have Santa who comes on Xmas morning. 

But we have no Christ in a manger.  We have the Sun God returning and bringing the light with him.

Santa is a pretty secular character anymore, and he is welcome in my home. 

I feel that in getting excited for Xmas and the presents and the family, I am not just celebrating any one holiday.  I am celebrating them all.  It is a season for joy, for family, for hope for the coming year.  It is a holiday that keeps us from going crazy as the night grows longer and longer.  After all, the winter solstice is the reason for the season. ;)

What do you celebrate this time of year?  Do you think Pagans should participate in Xmas traditions?  Is Santa okay for Pagan families?

Happy Solstice!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mused: A Cloudy Sun

I apologize for the lateness of this post, dear readers.  Life around here has been a bit… busy.  This is the first time I am able to sit and write up a post.  One of my goals for the new year is to plan ahead and write posts well before they are supposed to be published.

Diane Rixon

Today’s craft was supposed to be dried oranges to hang on your tree to greet the sun.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to accomplish it.  Instead, I will share tutorial with you on how to do so. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Musing: Solstice Muse

Lia was late.

Seriously late.

There was no 'I'm going to be late if I don't hurry' or 'If I go past the speed limit I can make it.'  No, she was already supposed to be there and she was still at home.

"Crap, crap, crap," the blonde muttered under her breath as she tied her sandals to her feet.  Her hair was twisted into a cable that kept falling over one shoulder and getting into her way.  Standing up, she checked herself in the mirror a final time.  Stars fell in embroidered patterns from her shoulders as the dark blue fabric floated over her slim frame.  It was held close to her waist with a silver cord and left her arms bare to show off the bangles jingling on her wrists.  The tunic ended at mid-thigh but a darker skirt covered her legs to her ankles.  More silver cord held the panels together down to her knee where they were tied.

She straightened the tunic and slung a bag over her head and shoulder, letting it rest at the small of her back.  Lia headed out the door at a run, barely slowing down enough to grab the orb sitting on her desk.

The orb was bronze and the size of a softball, pricked all over in patterns that started to slow softly as she ran into the woods.  Snow had fallen earlier and was part of the reason she was late.  The path had been packed down and cleared, leaving the snow in piles between the trees.  Her breath steamed as she ran.  A glance above showed the blue fading away as the night began to creep in.

"Crap!" Lia uttered again and urged more speed out of her feet.  The orb cast shadows against the trees as it glowed more and more in the fading light.  The path ahead turned left, but Lia turned right, darting between two old trees with the branches entwined above.

One moment her feet were freezing in the snow.  The next, the orb became a globe of bright light that obscured everything.  Now she was pounding up a gravel path to the stone steps up a hill, green grass growing on both sides beyond the row of columns lining the path.

"It's almost time, Lia.  You're late."

"So are you,"  Lia didn't bother looking at the raven who rose in a flurry of wings from a rock by where she had emerged.  Now that she was here, she could see the sun had almost touched the horizon.  She sped up the side of the hill, aiming for the gathering in the field above.

A huge palace loomed off to the side, higher than the field, and lit up with foxfire and globes of light.  Candles and braziers burned everywhere and would cast the hill in brightness when the sun set.  All of this to for Solstice, to welcome the sun back from the longest night.

She aimed for the gathering of her siblings.  They were easy to pick out next to the stage, their clothing made them look like galaxies were colliding.  She came to a halt and stowed her orb away in her bag to avoid the ticked off look on her brother’s face.  This was their year to charm the sun back from its sleep and no one wanted to fail. 

"Aurelia, you had me worried."

Lia winced at the exasperation in her mother’s tone and turned after stowing her bag away.  She nodded in greeting to the man holding her mother’s hand.  “Lord Apollo.  Mother.  Happy Solstice.  I’m sorry I’m late.  One of my students had a question.”

Apollo laughed and shushed her explanation with a hand.  His golden hair glowed with the reflected light of the sunset.  “Not to worry, Aurelia.  Ourania and I are pleased you could make it.  Isn’t that right?”  The God of Music and other things turned to his companion who nodded and kissed Lia’s cheek.

“You all will be magnificent.  How not when you are Muses yourselves?” 

Lia smiled and settled in with her siblings as they moved onto the stage.  Their voices lifted in hope and supplication as the last portion of the sun disappeared beneath the horizon and the night began.  They filled the dark hours with music and dance, a celebration intended to woo the sun back from its slumber.

She may have missed this evenings practice, but Lia was a child of a Muse and had already gone over the gig a million times.  She never missed a note as the gods and spirits danced around the field.  One this night, differences were set aside and everyone behaved themselves.  Well, mostly.  They were gods after all.  But no wars were started or fights begun.  Hermes even asked her to dance a reel with him.

A long night later, the beginning song was sun again.  Each of her siblings and all the attendees raised their arms to the eastern horizon as the darkness began to fall beneath Dawns hooves.  They took up the call, weaving their voices in and out, over and below, creating a haunting melody that asked for the return of the sun.  They sang in memory of a sunlit beach, the warmth of light on their skin.  They sang for the crops in the ground, for the leaves on the trees.  They sang the sun back to earth and cheered when the first rays of the glowing orb touched the hill.

The sun had returned.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Muse: Solstice is coming!

Solstice is coming!  Solstice is coming!  December 21st heralds the longest night and therefore a return of the sun.  It is a winter Pagan holiday that celebrates the return of the light after the darkness of winter.

I have never quite wrapped my head around the fact that it gets colder here after the solstice, but that's me. 

My extended family is almost all Christian, and I was raised that way, so Xmas is still the holiday that is for gift giving and gathering together as family.  However, Solstice has started to become a time for friends.  It is a time to honor the returning light and gather together to celebrate that the light will return. 

This year I plan on celebrating the Heliogenna festival for the Solstice.  However, since it is on a Tuesday and I work full time during the day, I will have to modify a few things.  For instance, I cannot greet the new sun with singing and breakfast because I will be on my rideshare van on my way to work when the sun rises.  And I am on my way home when the sun sets. 

I feel like a kid on xmas morning anymore about the solstice.  Why?  I'm not sure.  It could be a return of the light.  It could be because I love giving gifts the way I used to love getting them as a kid.  Maybe it is just the return of the light.  We don't loose the light as much as those north of us do, but the sun rises around 8 am and sets around 430 pm here.  That means that it is dark when I go to work and dark when I get home.  And I don't have any windows in my cube.  The closest I get is the door outside next to me but I have to get up and go look out it.  So by the time Solstice comes around, I am ready for the joy that means more sunlight. 

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mused: Snowflakes Snowflakes!

Here at my office, we have been in a bit of a decorating mood.  Last year we barely did anything.  This year, we decided to have a crafting lunch and make snowflakes.  Then they were put up around the office.  Then I went home and the kiddo had made snowflakes at school.  Then it snowed a bit.  We made some more snowflakes later in the week as well.

And today, as I'm getting ready to post this, I hear that we are supposed to get an inch of snow this weekend...

...Maybe if I talk about warm weather, cute single guys, and cash, that will fall in my lap as well...

Ah well, it's worth a shot.

Here are some of the snowflakes that are hanging around my office!  I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Musing: Count Down

The season counts down
one more day gone
full of merriment and excitement
for little ones
bouncing with anticipation
one more day to check the lists
shop the stores and worry
about coal
Parents keep the suspense
building for an early morning

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Extra! Noumenia: A New Beginning

It's that time again, dear readers, for a new month.  At least this month I have remembered it before it was over.  I need to perform my rituals and give honor tonight.  Last month I completely spaced it and I don't want to have that happen again.

In looking back, this will be my eleventh month posting about Noumenia.  But I have yet to get the practice down.  Hopefully as this year wraps up, I will be able to make a more devoted effort to this.

In fact, that is my goal for this month like many months.  I want to take a step back from my busy life and reflect on my spirituality.  I need to deepen my devotion and once again feel connected to those I choose to honor.

My second goal is to make a plan and follow through with it.  I need to work worship and exercise into my daily routine and stick to it. 

I hope your new month is full of joy this holiday season.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Muse: What's that white stuff in the air?

There was snow on the ground this week.  Last year was a hard one.  We had piles and piles of snow and blizzards and ice and horribleness.  This year, we didn't see snow until the last day of November.  It didn't stick, but it stuck for awhile on Thursday before melting. 

Luckily, here in the middle of Iowa, we have been graced with only a dusting of snow so far.  It's winter, so give it awhile.  But the first soft snowfall is always inspiring.  The kiddo is ready to break out the snow boots and my office is decorated with the paper variety.  (Shh, don't tell anyone, but we hung up snowflakes the day before it snowed.  I think it's our fault.)

It finally feels like the holidays!

Do you have snow in your neck of the woods?  What does nature do to signal to you that the holidays are coming?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mused: What I did this month

Nanowrimo ate my brain for awhile.  While I was writing up 50,000 words and finishing my novel, almost everything else fell by the side of the road.  But no longer!

I not only finished my novel and hit the 50,000 word mark, but I have accomplished quite a bit of crafty-ness as well.  Luckily.  With the holiday season upon us, I had better get my butt to work, right?

So today I am going to take you through a few of the projects that I have completed.

First, and my current favorite, is a scarf that I will present to someone who shares my love of vampires.  I got the idea for this project from the Vampire Knits book.  They had a freebie design that was called a Tourniquet Scarf.  I can't knit, but it was pretty easy to crochet.  It's supposed to look like a big wound on your neck is dripping down the tourniquet.

I'm still working on the kiddo's Harry Potter scarf.  He likes Ravenclaw.

I finally finished the advent calendar, and just in time too.  It is now hanging around three walls of our house (windows and closets keep me from having a large amount of blank space that isn't already decorated).  The kiddo has had fun with it so far and I hope that continues.

I am sending out my Solstice cards to a few people in a Swap-Bot swap.  I am very happy with the way they turned out.  Plus, I wrapped them in scrap paper rather than use a new envelope!

And my biggest accomplishment?  Finally deciding on a planner system for next year.  It's always a struggle for me because I have so many different ideas of what to use.  I settle on an idea, then think, oh wait, I want this too!  But this year I have decided to go with a 5.5 x 8.5 binder.  That means I can take out and add things to it as I want to.  And I finally found the binder!  It was an obsession to find one.  I wasn't able to thrift one, although I did make a binder from an old photo album and cardboard, so I ended up paying money to buy this one new.  But it was cheaper than buying an actual planner and I can customize it the way I want to.

Have a great weekend!  I hope you accomplish everything you set out to do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Musing: After Dark

Everyone has gone home
at 1 am.  Only 
sleepy clerks and
waxing machines roam the aisles.
Then a cackle breaks loose,
every botton is pressed,
and the toys come