Autumn is my favorite time of year. It is the season where I most feel magick in my bones. The colors always seem just a bit brighter as the season turns. And, for those who forage, there’s a treasure trove of materials and food available.
Like spring, Autumn is a season of transition; where various planes of existence–physical, spiritual, astral, etc.–come into close contact with each other. Samhain and Halloween are both traditional times to connect with spirits, and to consult various oracles with questions about the future.
Today’s craft makes use of the foraging and divination aspects of Autumn to create a timely oracle you can use throughout the year: We’re going to make a set of acorn runes.
After writing about the paltry harvest I had foraging the backyard, my neglected garden decided to speak up. This year I had only managed tomatoes and cucumbers. The peas and beans fell victim to the local vole and chipmunks. The two pepper plants were overshadowed by volunteer sunflowers so much that they have only now started to produce.
I watch a lot of videos about zero waste and minimalism. Most of the time it’s like flipping through an IKEA catalog: lots of white, lots of pretty interiors, a view of a lifestyle that I can’t achieve right now. From time to time, however, I learn a bit about how to be a little more sustainable in my day to day life. This week I learned about a thing called a greens muslin bag. These are cloth bags used to store greens to keep them fresh longer.
The concept works in much the same way as storing lettuce in a container with a damp paper towel. The moisture keeps the lettuce (or spinach or other greens) from going limp before you can use them. This is something that has plagued my house over the years. We eat a lot of salad, even more the last few months as my husband has started on an anti-inflammatory diet. But sometimes we don’t graze fast enough and I end up having to toss the romaine. It’s not a complete waste as the food goes into our compost.
The yard of my old home was not manicured in the least. It was haphazardly maintained, more wild and weeds than anything else. Chickweed, field penny-cress and bindweed grew right alongside the daisies, morning glories and basil I planted on purpose. One year catnip sprung up in a neglected patch and took it over. I still don’t know where it came from. The lemon balm I did plant, and it soon overran the sage and tulsi I had planted in the same bed. Similarly, my spellcraft evolved with what I could forage from my yard and the small, wild places in the neighborhood. I used dandelions and smartweed and Queen Anne’s lace in my magick because that is what I had on hand and I was too poor to buy magick supplies.
Growing up I collected bookmarks. Most of them featured unicorns and had soft tassels. I still have many of them, although they are currently stored away in various books as I don’t have space for my library. For the past couple of years I’ve been making do with paper bookmarks gathered from various bookstores, but, because I have the habit of reading multiple books at a time, I’ve run out of them of late.
While I haven’t resorted to using an iPad or toothpick to keep my place I have gotten tired of scrounging for receipts or scraps of paper. What I do have a lot of, however, is fabric scraps–so very many scraps of fabric–and that brings us to this week’s craft: fabric bookmarks.
“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.
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.
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.