The Scent of Lemon and Rosemary: Turning in the Book

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Those words, written by Douglas Adams, pop into my head whenever I’m given a date to turn in a manuscript. It is comforting to know that even great authors can struggle with deadlines.

With my second book, now titled The Scent of Lemon and Rosemary: Working Domestic Magick with Hestia, the struggle wasn’t as great as it had been with Sew Witchy, where I stayed up forty-eight hours straight taking photos to meet the deadline.

In May I turned the second manuscript in technically on time thanks to time zone differences between me and my editor. This week brought a new deadline: manuscript edits. And this time I was able to turn in my edits a day early. That’s progress as far as I am concerned. It helped that the edits were easy to make.

Sew Witchy was a weird idea that I had expected to maybe self-publish once it had been rejected by every Pagan publisher out there. That didn’t happen and I was launched into a nearly two year long journey through aspects of publishing I had no experience with: taking photos, drafting patterns, learning how to insert call outs in a manuscript.

This time around was easier in some ways, more difficult in others. I found formatting citations to be a pain in the butt, and of course I had to cite things like Twitter threads and NPRs tiny desk concert. (It makes sense in the book.)

The only great trouble was providing photos as guides for the illustrations. I was told my photos didn’t have to be perfect and pretty much given free rein over what should be illustrated. You would think that kind of freedom would make taking the photos easier. It did not. I ended up putting tremendous, unnecessary pressure on myself to get it right.

I’m trying not to dwell on that stress, though. Instead, I am focusing on the fact that I have finished my second book and the process was easier this time around. The next book should be a piece of cake.

Per my editor, The Scent of Lemon and Rosemary, will be published May 2021.

Fabric Twine Trivet

Of the many ways to use up scraps, I think making fabric twine is my favorite. I can do it when I am watching television, thus satisfying the part of me that has been indoctrinated from an early age by capitalism to always be occupied*. It’s also a meditative process. And you end up with yards and yards of a new craft material without having to go to the store.

In my book, Sew Witchy, I included a craft project using fabric twine to make altar offering bowls. Since then I’ve been working on the other projects to use the copious amount of twine I have on hand. In fact, I have a major project I’m working on that I’m not quite ready to talk about just yet. However, I do want to share with you one of the projects I’ve been making: fabric twine trivets.

A basket of fabric twine balls
I make fabric twine when I’m watching television.
Continue reading Fabric Twine Trivet

Moon Phase Coasters

We drink a lot in this household. I don’t mean we are alcoholics. We are just a thirsty bunch. Tea, coffee, water, energy drinks, soda, milk, lemonade, hot chocolate, and even whiskey and wine, there is an endless parade of beverages through the house. Besides keeping us busy with cleaning mugs, cups and glasses, our constant hydration means we need lots and lots of coasters, especially since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic when we’ve been housebound.

Years ago I made a couple of coasters from linen scraps. And then I put together a couple more when I was taking pictures for Sew Witchy. With four total not being near enough to protect furniture from water circles and scorch marks, I set out to make more.

Continue reading Moon Phase Coasters

Lucky Four Leaf Clover Sun Catcher Amulet

Beside my front door I have two four leaf clovers framed. I found them in a second hand copy of the book Hermits by Peter France. I like to think of them as the good luck charm for the household.

My wall of pagan art
My wall of pagan art.

Four leaf clovers have been known as good luck charms for centuries. In the fifteen century, John Melton wrote, “If a man walking in the fields find any four-leaved grass, he shall in a small while after find some good thing.” In folk belief, each leaf in the four leaf clover stands for something: faith, hope, love and luck. We’re going to put the magick of the four leaf clover to use in making a simple good luck amulet. We’ll also be using the magickal properties of success, empowerment and growth that come from the sun to help energize the amulet.

Continue reading Lucky Four Leaf Clover Sun Catcher Amulet

Patreon: Tarot Bag Tutorial

Want a bag to hold your tarot cards and crystals? Sign up at my Patreon and I’ll show you how to make one.

Sunday’s new moon on June 21 will see the release of a new tutorial: the My Pretty Tarot Bag.

This is based off of the My Pretty Dice Bag pattern (which you can find in my book Sew Witchy). The bag holds two tarot decks and has interior pockets for crystals. It has a flat, reinforced bottom to help the bag stay upright, and a drawstring closure.

The tutorial will be unlocked for Bodkin and Shuttle tiers.

Click the link here to go to my Patreon and sign up.

Cross-posted from my Patreon.

Costuming My Kids pt. 2: Skyrim Sword Sheath

We are a month into the shelter-in-place order here in Illinois. It’s been a long month of finding ways for everyone to work from home, learn remotely, and not drive each other to distraction. That’s no easy feat when you have four adults, two kids, three cats and a snake all in one place 24/7.

This has been hardest on my nine-year-old, Ben. He is a highly energetic, extremely extroverted kid. He misses his friends and he is struggling with not interrupting the working adults. To fill the time he has been playing a lot of Skyrim. Currently, his PC is a dark elf with two adopted daughters. This has prompted him to tell me all about how hard it is to be a single mother.

My face when Ben tells me his children in Skyrim will never have to do chore

I decided to approach this as a challenge: using only what I have on hand. Seeing how we’re stuck at home I guess that’s less of a challenge and more of a necessity, but we’re gonna go with “challenge”. I dug out a yard of dark blue denim that I had been gifted from a friend’s destash. I found a vector image of the Skyrim logo online and a bottle of gold fabric paint from the Chris Gerrib commission in a basket for the stencil.

Making the sheath was simply a matter of measuring the sword’s length and width to make a fabric tube. I made sure to add an extra inch to the width so the sword could be sheathed easily. I tried to include Ben in the planning stage, but he got bored of the math pretty quickly, muttered something about needing to check in on his daughters, and left me to my work.

I sewed the opening hem, and then attached the belt loop. The stencil was the most difficult part. I spent probably an hour sizing the image and then cutting it out with an xacto knife. Once the paint dried I sewed the side and bottom seams. I decided, after the fact, that I wanted the bottom pointed, so I traced the sword point onto the fabric, and sewed on those lines. It was the most slap-dash part of the whole project and I’m not happy with how that turned out.

I made a matching belt. If I had my preference I would have used a belt buckle, but all I had on hand were D-rings. After Ben had played with the sheath for the day, I went back and added a bit of fabric to the top of the sheath to help him hold it steady when sheathing the sword.

Overall the project took only a couple of hours. Ben is already asking about sheathes for his other swords. I bet there’s a show out there where crafters have to make something with just the materials in their stash. If not, there should be. I’d rock it.

New Book Announcement

I think it is a testament to just how busy 2020 has been that I haven’t made an official announcement about my next book. That’s right, I’m working to unlock the Two Time Author achievement. I’ve signed a contract with Llewellyn for a book on Hestia, household magick, anti-capitalism, anti-fascism an creating a welcoming sanctuary in a world that feels increasingly unsafe. The working title is Hearth & Home.

I’ve been working on it since January. The manuscript is due in mid May. It’s not going to be a craft heavy as Sew Witchy but there will be things to make, along with rituals, spells and a lot of advice on how to work with Hestia. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll see snapshots of the research I’m doing.

As I’ve been a devotee to Hestia for a log time, I’m excited to be working on this book. And with the recent pandemic the topic of the book feels even more timely than it did when I first thought of it. I look forward to sharing it with you all in due time.

Setting a Place at the Table

We’ve reached a weird point in the year. Spring is trying to hurry winter along, and winter is refusing. We’re still a month away from starting seeds. Snow still lingers in the shaded parts of yards. The ground is squelchy and the temperature vacillates between warm and frigid. There’s this constant tug of war going on between the desire to rest ad the urge to get moving.

I’ve dealt with that tumult by diving into my fabric stash. I have so much of it. Some is neatly stored on cardboard bolts. Most, though, is stuffed in file boxes and plastic bags, in bins and piled on tables. It’s an overwhelming mess that I simultaneously want to shovel into the trash heap and lord over it like a dragon who has settled in the back of a defunct hobby store.

Last week I decided to make use of some of the scraps and sew up a set of placemats. I’ve wanted to have some for a while now, due to my nine-year-old’s table manners. Placemats are one of those pieces of household linens that makes it look like you have your life together.

I pulled out two bags of fabric scraps. They were all floral prints in shades of red, orange and yellow. Those colors are always associated with cooking and eating for me. There wasn’t enough to make the placemats from each print, so I ended up quilting them together for the tops and using a length of floral linen for the backs. To add a bit more protection from hot plates, I dug out a remnant of yellow flannel to use as a batting.

Placemat Fabrics
Each place mat is made up of the quilted top, a flannel interior and a fabric back.

I’m not a great quilter. It’s not really an aspect of sewing I’ve ever gotten into. For these placemats I just cut the fabric into rectangles and squares. I pieced them together in rows and then sewed those rows together. My only goal was to make four pieces large enough (17″ x 13″) and I wasn’t too concerned with the patterning.

Othala rune stitching
I chose to mark the flannel with the Othala rune as it has associations with the home and prosperity, energies I would like to bring to the dinner table.

I decided I wanted to add a bit of sew craft to the placemats. To that end, I stitched the rune Othala onto the flannel pieces. Othala is a rune of home, prosperity, and family, all energies I wanted to reinforce. I basted the flannel to the wrong side of the quilted top pieces. And for good measure I top stitched inside the seams of each rectangle and square.

Placemat Topside
Topside of the placemat. I wanted to stitch it to the flannel to keep the flannel from bunching during use, but also to reinforce the quilting seams.
Placemat backside
The backside of the placemat, showing the quilting lines where I sewed the top fabric to the flannel.

The project spanned three days, with the bulk of the time spent on cutting and piecing the fabric together. I plan on making one more set, so that I won’t ever run out (one set can be on the table when the other is in the wash). And it’s not like I don’t have plenty of fabric to use.

Placemat Detail
Making the placemats from fabric that I love and which invoke feelings of plenty and prosperity and richness, makes the table a little more inviting come dinner time.
Finished placemats
I had enough fabric to make four placemats. Each one is different.

Monday Motivation: 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.

Mia Michaels, A Unicorn in a World of Donkeys

Monday Motivation: Difference Isn’t A Problem, It’s An Asset

I used to think money had to come in a certain ‘valid’ way: for example, make money each day, save up, have a budget, etc. But I discovered that there is another way that is just as valid, and maybe even more accurate which I think of as lush, feminine wealth.  My income comes in chunks—I lived the freelance lifestyle, and there’s nothing steady about it.  A chunk here or a chunk there.  I also receive abundance in a lot of different ways—places to stay, artistic patronage, etc. It looks different from the ‘traditional’ way of earning money, I know, but this difference isn’t a problem, it’s an asset.  When I started embracing the different kinds of wealth that come to me—some that comes in W9s and money, some that comes in other forms like inspiration, kind words, support—I feel, and I am, rich.

Krista Suh, DIY Rules for a WTF World