Postmark Joy

Is there something in your space that needs a change? Does it drive you crazy every time you see it, but the task of changing it seems like too much trouble so you just learn to ‘live with it’? I had one of those ‘things’.

When I did the “Enchanted” stencil for my wall, I had the design on the ends, backwards. At first, I didn’t think anything of it, but over the years it became something that bothered me every time I looked at it. I often thought about how to change it, but worried that there would be a slight difference in the shade of the paint, due to fading and that it would be too obvious that I had fixed it.

Finally, I decided to ‘just do it’. I was doing some touch ups to the walls where some of the corners meet that the Cats frequently rub on and figured that I had run out of excuses. I had the paint and I had the time. I also had my collection of stencils since I had just used them for another project so the one I had used for the end border was within easy reach.

I used a sponge instead of a brush to carefully go over the design. It took two coats, but it covered perfectly. No obvious difference in the shade of wall paint, just a new ‘blank canvass’ to recreate the design. I placed the stencil in line with the end section and redid the design…in the right direction.

Why did I wait so long to do this? It was easy enough and now I love the effect. Even my husband remarked how much better it looks. Such a simple change can make so much difference.

Is there something similar that is postponing the joy you could feel in your space? Driving you crazy every time you see it to the point that you prefer to look away rather than face it another day? That stack of books, outdated shade of paint or décor that you’ve convinced yourself is ‘retro’? Feel free to share the story of the ‘Elephant’ in your room or tell me what you think of the change in mine.

IMG_0500                        Enchanted 005_pp

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Shhhhhh

Your yard is speaking. Is it screaming, “MOW ME” or “WEEDS, WEEDS, WEEDS”? How you respond can make the difference between the Magickal and the mundane.

I can remember living in apartments when my yard consisted of a four by four-foot balcony or the stretch of side-walk from my front door to the parking lot. At one time, we lived in a side by side duplex and actually had a yard. I’d sit out there for hours and think of all the ways I’d change it and make it ‘my’ space had it really been mine. I got to plant my own flowers as well as maintain what the landlords had put in, but it was not the same as envisioning and designing and finally breathing life into something personal and beautiful.

Manifesting is a glorious thing!!! I have a yard of my own. Every year, starting in January when a thick batting of glistening white snow still covers my yard and my perennials lay beneath it, brittle, crystalline blossoms and stems, it begins…I clear the library shelves of gardening books and whoop for joy when my seed catalogs begin to arrive. Out comes my sketch pad and lists are made.

Lawn is so overrated. It’s not good for the environment and unless you grow native species, the up keep is futile when the heat and humidity and lack of rain turns it into something brown that crunches beneath your feet. Grass shouldn’t ‘crunch’. Going barefoot becomes a ballet on razor blades. But, it provides me with the bliss of replacing it with beds and borders of colorful blooms.

Native grasses are considered ‘weeds’ but I allow as many of them as I can to invade my lawn until the neighborhood association gets militant on my green ass. When the lawn is a sea of brown, what springs eternally emerald? My ‘weeds’. Besides, if what I wanted in a yard was a pristine, manicured expanse of lawn, I’d go live at the golf course.

The wildlife is also welcomed with no regard as to what they may destroy. I put wire fences around my flower beds when the Rabbits gnaw my investment to stubs and put out extra ‘critter chow’ in their dishes. After all, what lays beyond my open door is their home. I am simply allowed to share it with them.

Bird feeders, as well, are open to the public. Discriminating against Birds who ‘eat too much’ would be like getting turned away at the buffet because of your size. So, ok…I have combination Bird/Squirrel feeders. The show those little gray acrobats put on never fails to bring a dopey grin to my face. Chase them away? Not in this yard.

My Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks march their new families out with pride. The babies find their way beneath the feeders and become furry Roombas, vacuuming up what spills. Soon they catch on too and join their parents in following the lady in the big, showy hat with the peanuts in her pocket (that would be me). They shove the nuts in their cheeks until they’re so full they can’t even close their mouths.

So, how do I view this paradise of my own making? A place that requires hours of toil and trouble or is this sacred space? I always know when I’ve crossed that line. My flowers sadly hang their heads, and even the fountain in the pond no longer splashes a happy song.

When it becomes ‘work’ instead of a privilege, it’s time to remember the woman who longed for a yard of her own. Once the proper mindset is achieved and the joy of creation and the pride of ownership take over and reclaim this Magickal Space, it all transforms.

Everything is bathed in a golden, rosy glow. I have things growing that defy any explanation as to how they even got there. I have a Mullein that appeared from the ethers and is the size of something you’d expect to see at Findhorn. My Yucca is huge and has three towering spires of white blossoms. Three is a Magickal number in the Craft.

It’s like an international airport out there. Birds and furry little beings coming and going through out the day, all with their own agendas, busily eating, creating new homes or just playing.

The fountain in the pond plays a merry tune as Dragonflies perch on water plants, their gossamer wings reflecting the light like pave’ jewels. Butterflies provide an aerial show and a Humming Bird zips past my head so close that the wind from its wings stirs my hair.

At night, the light show begins as strings of little white bulbs pop on and solar stems change color. Fireflies flicker until the whole thing looks like someone above is showering it all with silver glitter. My husband calls it my ‘Rivendell’.

Sometimes a fire is made in the ‘cauldron’ and a new gourmet s’more is invented. Orange flavored dark chocolate on a chocolate graham cracker, the marshmallow toasted to the perfect golden hue. Mmmm. Pistachio studded milk chocolate and a chocolate flavored marshmallow smacked between two Walker shortbread rounds…oh yeah.

Listen to your yard. Look at it with Magickal eyes and you will truly be seeing it for the first time. It will respond, love for love. It’s not a ‘chore’ to take care of it, it’s an honor. Name your Trees as I did and hug them once in a while. If you’re really concerned about being watched, a cloak of invisibility spell will preserve your dignity. Unless, you do as I do and toss it to the wind. Dance in the sprinkler, knowing that Faeries will join you. Laugh hysterically…it’s required.

Even if your yard is a balcony and your paths are concrete, put a flower in a fanciful container and call it a garden. Flowers love complements so tell her she’s beautiful every day. Toss some seeds in a pot and you can grow a salad. A basil plant will keep you in pesto all Summer long.

Well, I should stop or this book will never fit on the shelf. Besides, a corner of the Woodland Garden wants a make-over and the Cardinal is calling my name. I can’t wait to get out there and tend to my very Magickal Space. This is joy.

This is home, theirs and mine. Flora and Fauna. This is our “Enchanted”.

I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures as much as I enjoy sharing them.

40 Shades of Greenman

Greenman Pub Entrance

Greenman Pub Entrance

The Greenman or Jack O’ The Green pops up a lot around here, so long before the lower level’s construction in my home began, the idea of having The Greenman Pub as the focal point of the area was a certainty. I like the idea of having a room evoke a feeling as soon as it is entered and hold it. The Pub has an old world gentlemen’s domain aura about it, which sets it apart from the eclectic-rustic feel of the rest of the house. The theme is Irish/Scottish to honor the ancestry of my husband and I, so in addition to the Guinness and Scotch touches, there are black and white photographs of generations past lifting a pint, sporting kilts, and posed before castles, hanging on the walls.

This is where friends and family gather when we entertain. Whether at the pub table or at the bar or seated comfortably on the sofa or lounge chair, the atmosphere soon takes on the appearance and feel of being in another time and place. Yes, there is a large screen TV, but it is frequently tuned to a Celtic music channel so, drink in hand, a wee bit o’ dancin’ or a rowdy sing-a-long may occur.

Fists dive into bowls of snacks and the jars of candy scattered about, a book might be selected from the library area or one may sit near the tank of Koi, who lazily watch through the glass. The food table offers the whim of the cooks of the house and is served buffet style. In the Summer, the action spills over onto the patio outside via an open window that allows the conversation to flow back and forth.

The photo above is at the entrance to the pub as you leave the second level of the house where the foyer and great room are located, and go to the lower level. Yes, the tall need to duck a bit due to the stairs, but I pass under with ease. In case you are wondering, all the canopy is, is a domed plastic window well covering that can be purchased from any hardware store for about 6 bucks. I roughed it up a bit and applied a copper finish paint and patina from a kit. Then I added the Greenman face, constructed from a plastic mask overlayed with a print. Moss and other finds from the craft store were applied with a hot glue gun and a string of green battery operated lights was added to make the Lord of the Forest feel at home.

This canopy can be done in any theme and hung over a doorway by just screwing the lip of the cover to the wall. Turn the entrance of a child’s room into something special or your closet into a trendy boutique by adding paint and a few touches of glitz. Fringe can be applied to the edge for added glamour. Don’t forget the guys. This can also be used over the door to the ‘man cave’.

Have fun and get creative with your Magickal space. Your home is a reflection of you. Make it personal.

Magick Mantel

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Ok, I cheat. My daughter is an interior designer. Originally, I had a few of the these items displayed on the mantel, but when the construction of the Scottish/Irish pub in our lower level was completed, a few pieces had migrated to the bookshelves in the library section of the pub. This left things a bit chaotic and sporadic.

One day, when my daughter was visiting, she sized up the situation, gave me a sly smile and asked, “May I play?”.
“By all means”, I replied and the mantel make-over began.

One thing among many that has developed into a specialty is her collages. Instead of trying to tie in pieces randomly placed in a space, she combines them to form a cohesive group of things that suddenly belong together no matter how varied the items might be. A ‘trade secret’ is to use the element of height in thirds. To achieve this, tall objects are placed and shorter ones that don’t comply with the ‘rule of three’ are elevated by placing them on things like books, small easels or things as simple as overturned votive cups.

Color, texture and the use of reflective surfaces mingle with the occasional ‘surprise’. An item that appears to be a misfit added to the grouping that catches the eye and pulls everything together. In this case, my tri-blade stiletto dagger perched precariously upon a fossilized fish. The clock amid the Egyptian deity statues and fossils seems to mock time itself as more modern items peacefully coexist in the group.

A large leaf cast and black onyx sphere bring Earth, fossils from the sea add Water.  Fire is enticed by the candles and Air is evoked with the wave of the dagger.

My daughter threatens to redo it all someday when the urge to ‘play’ strikes again, but for now, it’s perfect. So, look around your space and see what objects you can combine to make a statement. You can follow a theme or allow the obscure free rein. Pull in a color that might be a part of a print in the fabric of your sofa or draperies by using a candle, silk flower or figurine. Above all, have fun with this…’play’ like the experts.