Sew Witchy Cover Reveal

When my editor asked me if I had any ideas or suggestions for the cover art for my book, all I wanted was to make sure my name was spelled right.  It’s not that I’m indifferent, but the publisher has a lot more experience about what kind of covers sell what kind of books.  I trusted them to come up with the best cover for the book.  And boy did they deliver.  Just look at this lovely cover:

Sew Witchy Cover Art
Sew Witchy: Tools, Techniques and Projects for Sewing Magick by Raechel Henderson, out December 2019 from Llewellyn.

The book was originally called Sew Craft: a Sewist’s Book of Shadows, but the publisher changed it to Sew Witchy: Tools, Techniques and Projects for Sewing Magick.  And again, I’m cool with the change because if anyone knows what it takes to sell a witchcraft sewing book it would be Llewellyn.

I am ridiculously excited to hold the final book in my hands.  It has been a wild ride from the first query to this point.  I’m sure there’s going to be more to announce over the coming months until it is released.  And before the year is out I get to say that I’ve got a book published.

I’m working on a novel right now, and Hestia has inspired an idea for another pagan witchcraft book.  I’ll have enough to keep me busy in the next few months while I wait for the release of Sew Witchy. It’s going to be an amazing year, is what I’m saying.

New Year. New Goddess. New Word.

Despite being a practicing Pagan for years I’ve never formalized my relationship with a deity. I’ve worked with goddesses in the past. Most recently I’ve spent two years honing my magical practice under the tutelage of Hekate. The focus of study was spellwork, protection, connecting with the elemental powers around me, and tapping into my own personal power.

Over the last few months, though, my need for a sword and shield via my relationship with Hekate has lessened. As the question of home and food and work have been settled, I find I want to nurture this new life. And to that point Hekate has stepped back.  In her place another goddess, Hestia, has moved to the forefront of my practice.

Continue reading New Year. New Goddess. New Word.

Fabric Magic: 9 Designs from Spoonflower for Money Spells


There is a special magic in introducing favorites to each other. I got to do that a couple of months ago when I took one of my favorite people, Moira, to one of my favorite places in Chicago, the Textile Discount Outlet. It’s three stores of fabric, trim and notions stuffed into a poorly ventilated, crowded and meandering warehouse. You can find boxes of zippers, bra fasteners, lace scraps, rolls of church brocade, velvet ribbons, toggles, brads, bells and beads. It is a sewist’s fever dream and I love it so very much. Something I found there prompted thoughts of a different kind of magic.

Continue reading Fabric Magic: 9 Designs from Spoonflower for Money Spells

Finding Home

Solstice this year is a low-key affair. We’re still recovering from the upsets and disruptions of 2018. Half of the last few months have been spent realizing all the things we left behind when we moved. For example: the book tree has been built, Santa Hulk and his Little Helper are out, but the lights didn’t make the move. Neither did the stockings, fortunately, my mother sent along two for the kids when she shipped out the annual box of gifts.

Our book tree for this year doubled as a way to store books after we had to leave a lot of our shelves behind.
Our book tree for this year doubled as a way to store books after we had to leave a lot of our shelves behind.
Despite these issues, we’re settling in to the new place. The house is the nicest I’ve ever lived in. My workshop is in a finished basement. We can actually park a car in the garage. In many ways we are better off now than we were a year ago. Every day I am reminded that while change is scary it is also necessary. I clung to the house for so long because I was afraid of what life would be like outside of it. And while some of my predictions did come true, I have found ways to work around them.

We are sharing the house with two friends. It keeps the bills down and ensures there are always people available for D&D sessions.

And I have been working with Hestia over the last few months. Cooking meals for everyone, keeping house, making sure people are taken care of: I find myself playing a role that I hadn’t wanted years ago. Today it feels right. Next year I might feel differently. Who knows?

Honey and Apples
The first things I brought into the house when we moved in were apples and honey from Wyoming.
The goal is to make this house as welcoming and safe as possible. After a year of uncertainty, creating an island of warmth and stability is my focus. The other parts of my life–writing, sewing, etc.–have all fit in around that goal.

My pagan sewing book, Sew Witchy, is due out in August 2019. While I await the final cover art to share, I am working on a fantasy novel, and putting together notes for another pagan book. I worked out a collapsible dice tray, and booked two events for next year. I am working at a pace that is less frantic, less concerned with filling quotas and more focused on how I feel as I work.

So far, it works. Again, change is inevitable and maybe it won’t always work. It feels like the right recipe for making this house a home, though.

Leaning on Your Craft When Life Gets You Down

I’ve been away from posting the last few weeks due to all the things happening at once. Life is starting to settle back down, and I have a backlog of posts to release. I’m not quite ready for that bit of work, though.

One thing I’ve been doing is embracing my witchcraft as a means of dealing with all those changes. Centering myself around my spirituality, my work with Hecate, Hestia and Turtle, and engaging in spellwork aimed at making life run more smoothly has given me a small measure of peace.

And just today I came across this video by Headology and the Witch which goes into how one can make a practice to deal with life changes. I especially like the Tarot spread included towards the end.

For me, small acts, like lighting a candle on my altar to Hestia, give me a moment of peace. I am able to connect with my spiritual, witchy core. It’s a reminder that I am stronger than what is going on around me.

Spell for Overcoming Obstacles

Domestic witchery is a fascination of mine, I think because it seems like it would be the oldest and most common form of witchcraft.  Or maybe it’s just the lazy part of me that appreciates being able to accomplish two tasks in one.

This spell is one I’ve been working with over the last year or so, no only as I write Sew Witchy, but also in my daily life.  When you are facing a great task ahead—a job interview or a court case, say—the odds can feel overwhelming.  Using the spell below and visualization you raise energy to overcome all the small obstacles that can come between you and your goal and also provides you with a magickal talisman attuned to your task.

Materials

  • A wrinkled piece of fabric or clothing*
  • Steam iron
  • Ironing Board

*Circumstances should dictate the fabric you choose.  Clothing that you will be wearing during your challenge is ideal.  For example, a skirt you’ll be wearing to a court case or a shirt you’ll be wearing to an interview.  You could also choose a fabric scrap; about 18″ by 18″ is ideal.

Cotton and linen are best for this spell as they tend to wrinkle naturally.  Synthetics and non-wrinkle clothing is not recommended.

Spellwork

Clear space and cast a circle according to your tradition.  Call on any spirit helpers or deities you wish to aid you in the spell.

Place the wrinkled cloth on the ironing board.  Use a heat setting that is appropriate for the cloth you are using (consult the iron’s operators manual to find out what that is).

As you iron see the wrinkles as the obstacles you face.  See the steam and iron as you press as smoothing out not only the physical wrinkles, but those obstacles.  Visualize the obstacles clearly.  Name them as you work: people’s preconceived notions are smoothed away, distance becomes a non-issue, doors that were closed will now open, even traffic will not be a problem.

Continue working, ironing out all the wrinkles.  See the path you are treading becoming smooth: the road you travel is paved, the ocean you cross is calm, the sky you fly through is clear.  Everything is crisp and pristine, just like the cloth is after you press it.

When you are finished, hang up the clothing, or cloth.  Wear the piece of clothing to the event you are preparing for.  If it is a piece of cloth, hang it near your altar until the event—and your need for it—has passed.

Make your spell more potent by using a linen spray.  Before beginning, make a spray by mixing 1 ounce of witch hazel, 3 ounces of water and ten drops of essential oil together in a spray bottle. Choose an oil aligned to your goal. Spritz a light mist onto the part you are going to press then go over it with an iron.  If using on an article of clothing, test on a small, inconspicuous part first, like an inside hem, to make sure it won’t stain the fabric.

Making it Work: When it Doesn’t Work Out

Yesterday was the pre-trial hearing and the judge has said he won’t be ruling in favor of my petition to relocate.

To write that this is devastating is an understatement.  I’m still processing my grief.  I couldn’t even offer my daughter comfort as I had to turn her over to my ex a couple of hours after I heard the news.  She’s crushed, too.

So this is where I am: broke, homeless, separated by 1,000 miles from my husband and seven-year-old son, and trapped in Illinois for another four years.

I’m going to withdraw my petition to relocate.  There’s no reason to go through the expense of a trial now.  Next I face my ex’s petition for more parenting time, as well as his petition to throw me in jail for losing the house.  The absolute worse outcome sees me in jail and having lost my daughter in a year’s time.  So, you know, good times.

While I await for those load of bricks to fall I have to find housing for me and my daughter.  Since the judge could limit me to staying within twenty-five miles of my ex, I am really limited in where we can settle.  I’ve already started the process of signing up for food stamps.  I looked into Section 8 Housing and found that the wait list to get on the wait list has closed.

I also have to finish up pictures for the book.  I’m halfway through and should be finishing them up in a week or so.  Getting those turned in will trigger the release of the rest of my advance which will be used immediately for my legal fees.

I have also started the process of reporting my ex for his predation of an underaged girl.  It might have happened eighteen years ago and isn’t an issue as per my ex’s lawyer, but that is the sort of thing that doesn’t happen just once.  There has got to be someone out there who will take it seriously and look to see if he has harmed any other girls in the intervening years.

I am not okay.  I am upset and gutted by all of this.  My anxiety has been high and I’ve had to dole out my medication in dribs and drabs because when it runs out I’m done.  My depression has raised its oozing arms to drag me back into a world of remonstrances and accusations of worthlessness.  None of this is fair.  None of this easy.  None of this is going to be okay for a very long time.

Costuming my Kids

Despite having access to an experienced in house seamstress (me), my children have rarely asked me to make them costumes.  For three years straight, when she was five to seven years old, my daughter Charlotte was a cat for Halloween.  It was a costume that required only a black leotard, cat ears headband and some face paint.  Up until last year, my son Ben wanted to be various Star Wars characters, using store bought costumes.

Still, I have made some costume pieces for my children.  For my daughter it was a dress to wear to the Bristol Renaissance Faire.  We don’t go to the Faire often, averaging about every other year, so we like to make the most of it.  When Charlotte was eleven she decided she wanted to dress up for our visit.

Charlotte and Her Bow and Costuming
This girl loves her bow something fierce.

I showed Charlotte a dress idea I had pinned on Pinterest.  It’s a reconstruction of the dress worn by Kiera Knightly in the movie King Arthur.  She approved the design and we headed out to the fabric store.  I guided her to the kinds of fabric that would work and she picked out the color.  We chose an olive green cotton drill. It was heavier than what was used in the pattern and movie costume, but I wanted something solid and a bit more hard-wearing.

The making of the dress was ridiculously easy.  While drapey tunics use a lot of fabric, I love them for the ease of construction and customization.  The belt was made from ribbon I had on hand, with a snap fastener as a closure.  That day at the faire she had a great time swanning around, shooting arrows and eating turkey legs.  She’s outgrown the dress now and I have it packed up.  Perhaps one day there will be another child eager to use it for dress up.

The Family at the Faire
See what I mean about loving bows? Stephan decided to dress up as well.

Ben’s costume story is more recent.  Last year he decided a week before Halloween that he wanted to be Purple Link.  On such a short deadline I ended up buying parts of the costume and sewing the rest.

The leggings and shirt came from the girl’s section at Target.  I used a Simplicity “Indian” costume pattern that I had inherited for the tunic.  Both tunic and hat were made from purple broadcloth I bought.  The belt was made of brown cotton drill from my stash as well as yellow and brown felt I had on hand.  I used hot glue to tack the Velcro fastener for a closure.  The hat was made from a self-drafted pattern.  The whole costume took a couple of days.

Ben as Purple Link
My little agent of chaos sure does know how to rock some leggings. <3

He was pleased with his costume, even if his classmates didn’t know who he was supposed to be.  And Ben has kept the shirt in his regular clothes rotation, always a plus.  The various costume pieces have been worn since during play and pretend time.

I am certain these won’t be the last costumes I sew for my kids.  We have plans to join a boffer LARP that runs in Colorado once the move is finalized.  That will require costuming for them.  And there are still plenty of Halloweens to be had.  I do hope I’ll have a bit more time for sewing the next time, though.

My Power and Glory

“It took many years on a forever-steep learning curve to figure out how to be me apologetically and to accept every bizarre part of my past.  When I stopped worrying about having friends, or being fat, or following a predictable path, or trying to be a commercially sellable artist, I began to come into my own.  By standing strong in my uniqueness and walking with faith in a universal, positive energy and in myself, I found my power and glory.” — A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys, Mia Michaels, p. 5-6

Ramblin’ roach

I’ve been back in Illinois a few days now. It’s hard being separated from my husband and son. I even miss the cats. It’s hard not having a place to call my own. It’s hard not knowing what the future holds.

But it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Charlotte and I are staying with friends who are doing their all to make us welcome. I have people who love us sending messages of support hourly via social media, email and text. People are helping me research. People are lifting me up. And I have resources. The library is going to be my home base the next few weeks. It gives me access to the internet for communication, air conditioning and even a place to take step-by-step pictures.

Charlotte is being upbeat about all this. As long as she has access to the internet and time to draw she’s happy. She might not deal well with change same as me, but things are familiar enough to help her cope. It helps that season five of Voltron hit and so she has a whole world of Tumblr fandom to keep her busy.

I am focusing on pictures for the book. The house I’m staying in is lovely and quirky and perfect for indoor shots. For the outdoor ones there are plenty of parks around. People have given me lots of advice on taking the pictures. Their help is starting to show as the last batch I sent my editor got a big thumbs up.

As difficult as the next few weeks will be, I know that I will survive them thanks to the incredible support structure I have around me.