Grace Full

Deliberately seek ways to add grace to your life today. How you define it, is totally up to you.

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Going Over Board?

Vision boards not only help you to determine where you want to go, but also provide a record of all that you have manifested by using this Magickal tool. However, if you’re like me, you are inclined to get a bit carried away.

I have them as scrolls tucked away in sealed cardboard tubes that are dated years into the future, not to be opened until that date so that I can see how many things have come to pass. There are several posted in my walk in closet, on the walls and on the back of the door so that I have full view of them when I am in there getting dressed for my day as well as getting ready for bed. This helps to imprint the vision as I dash off for work and also ads a subconscious element to aid in ‘dream work’.

There are also a few ‘portable’ versions that I did on 3×5 index cards and laminated them. These are tucked into my purse and mainly have to do with making healthy food choices in restaurants. One look at the images of leafy greens and broiled fish keeps me mindful of eating right, but there are also pictures of work out clothes to remind me that if I do indulge, I will need to compensate by putting in some extra time in my gym.

I had the idea to purchase a small cork board to hang on the inside door of my closet. That way I can have a ‘working’ vision board that will evolve and reflect the various aspects of my life that I want to enhance through manifesting. A cabin in the woods has recently become something that keeps popping into my mind. A picture of the perfect small A-frame with a cottage garden had me ripping the page out of the magazine and will most likely be my first image on the board.

We all have a variety of goals and dreams that we want to achieve. They change with time and circumstances and having the cork board will enable me to attach images that represent them with colorful pushpins and move them around, but also remove them should my vision inspire me to reevaluate whether or not I still want them. This will allow me to have more creative control than affixing pictures to poster board with glue as I have in the past.

Let the adventure begin as the vision unfolds before me, one picture or motivating quote at a time. I will look for my cork board tomorrow after work and may customize the frame with paint and glitter, the perfect back drop for all of my champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Catalyst Converter

There comes a time when change is not only desirable, but necessary. Habitual patterns that lead no where or remain the obstacle that prevents us from achieving a goal can damage the ego to the point at which our self-esteem takes a major dive. Falling into that abyss can feel like something there is no climbing out of. But, what choice do we have really? There’s no place else to go but to seek the road that leads to recovery unless we’d rather hunker down and stay there the rest of our lives.

The use of Magick is one of those things that a Witch often uses for others, but hesitates to work with on their own behalf. I am not one of those. I wave my wand, twitch my nose, point my finger and stir my cauldron a lot. I see no reason to be the cobbler’s kid who has no shoes when I can conjure up the perfect pair.  Being a martyr never suited me and I find it to be a dismal trait in others. There is nothing self-less about denying ourselves and then talking about how much we do it. In fact, stroking the ego with a huge paw like that in the pretense of not having one to stroke is downright maniacal.

Saving something for special occasions often leads to regrets. Besides, what exactly puts an occasion in that category? I recall when my grandmother on my father’s side crossed over and  my mother was faced with going through her things. She had come to live with us several years prior to her passing and although I was a teenager,  it was fun to go shopping for her. The main item on the list was always a new sweater. After her death, there they were…at least six brand new sweaters with the tags still attached  in her dresser drawer. Meanwhile, the one she wore was always full of holes.

Magick should never be the unworn sweater. The crystal stemware that’s always an heirloom, but has never graced a table. The silver, too tarnished and cold to reflect the celebrations it could have been a part of. Magick is love in action. Directing it toward us is the most beautiful and glorious way to honor ourselves.

So, where is your Toad? Does it need to be driven from your garden or transformed with a Magickal kiss? What change can you bring about with the perfect spell? Would empowerment to make a change be the answer to what has hexed and vexed you for far too long? Set your alter, cast your circle and raise that cone of power and send it forth upon the winds of change. Do it for yourself. It’s the best way to do it for those who love you.

 

Get Out!!!

Outside my window there is a duvet cover of white snow spread over the lawn. The temperature is uncertain at this point, but my observance of plumage fluffed to maintain body heat of the birds who are enjoying their breakfast at my feeders indicates that it is somewhere between frigid and f’ing cold.

For this reason, people in my neck of the woods might tell me where to put my request while some of you may find it to be a glorious reason to stroll on the beach buffeted by balmy breezes. Either way, I am going to do it and assure you that if you do too, you will have something that will not only remind you of the experience, but will enhance your indoor living space in a way that only bringing something into it from the outside can.

I have all kinds of things that I have collected over the years that hold the energy of their place of origin and have blended very well. Representatives of the elements help to balance your living space and keep it and you grounded. Having them available for touch is especially nice when going outside to handle them in their environment might not be enjoyable.

The bundle of vines in the urn was given to me by a Sister of my Coven and has graced my home for a long time. I have given them a make-over at times by changing the silk foliage and the lights need replacing from time to time, but they still add their Magick by providing me with a ‘tree’. Having something from Nature to share its beauty in an unexpected place to have it is wonderful. The energy of the soil from which they grew is felt as well as the vines themselves that curve gracefully as a ‘hair do’ that may have been styled by the wind.

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So, out I go when I notice that my hydrangea blossoms are a lovely shade of Autumn bronze. They are still perfectly formed though shaking in the arctic blast. Brrrr. I took a pruner with me, but it wasn’t needed when I discovered that the stems were brittle and snapped off easily. I brought them in and added them to the base of vines in the urn.

Wow. They have added so much that I can’t imagine why I hadn’t filled that space between the silken wisteria and chartreuse spikey foliage before. A small silver gazing ball that had found itself homeless after the floor update is now nestled in a spot that reflects the hydrangeas. From Spring until now they have found a way to bring me pleasure and will continue to do so. When they were lime colored and sweetly scented in Summer I didn’t want to bring them in since the plant is fairly new and blossoms were sparse. The ones that remain out there provide a perch for the birds and help shelter them.

WP_000132The iron birdbath is also something I’ve had for years when I saw it and just had to have it. A birdbath that has never spent a single moment outside. It’s very heavy and takes up a bit of space that could be put to more practical use, but I just could never bring myself to put it in the yard.

A large figurine of a dove used to sit on its rim until Hmandu, my teenaged Cat, sent it airborne to the floor where it smashed into countable but non-repairable pieces. I thought about trying to find another bird to put there, but its layer of stones and 3 votive candle cups gave me an idea.

I added some crystals and stones with various properties, some feathers I had collected from outside, and some shells I had picked up years earlier from a coastal beach trip. I have items that correspond to Earth, Air, Fire and Water in the basin that I take the time to hold and feel their energy. This is particularly nice after a long stress filled day at work.

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Go on, get out there. No excuses. If I can freeze my tail going out to pick flowers you can venture forth to pick up a few pine cones, feathers, or stones or bring in some twigs and decorate them with tiny lights. A transplanted layer of moss can carpet a terrarium or a vessel of beach sand can have you feeling the surf as you tip it from side to side. Let their energy flow as you mindfully blend these gifts of Nature into your Magickal space.

So, what did you find?

Your Place, Your Space

It has long been my belief that your environment is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. After all, it is where you live and demonstrates how you live. This is your haven and refuge. A place set apart from the mundane and commonplace. It is from whence you leave to work and play and it is where you return for shelter and comfort, and yes, escape. Does your space reflect the love and respect that you have for yourself? One that says, “I deserve this. I deserve to live in beauty and harmony.” Or is it chaos and clutter. You don’t have to be rich to be clean.

Every apartment that I lived in no matter what the décor soon began to take on my personality. From Brady Bunch shag carpet to the outdated appliances, I changed what I could and found a way to incorporate what I couldn’t. Soon the personal touches of my Spiritual path could be found in every room and the voice of the Divine guided me and put me in alignment with the most awesome ‘finds’. Crystals, candles, pictures, and figurines of Crows, Owls and Hawks found their niches and the scent of incense had replaced the stench of stale cigarette smoke of previous renters. It became home, but like the homes of the nomads of this Earth, it was temporary, all of it was movable and would indeed move many times.

Building a house is an extraordinary experience. For the first time, we could choose everything from the faucets and lighting to the floor coverings. Fortunately, the builder had specific places under contract from which we were able to make these choices. That made things easier in that we didn’t have to run all over the city which was great because all of these stores showcased enough items to keep us more than busy selecting and then changing our minds. The chandelier in the foyer was probably the most memorable. After finally choosing what we wanted, I spotted one on the way to do the paperwork to put in the order. I stopped in my tracks and pointed…”That one”. This was after at least two hours of looking at every light in the place. “Are you sure?”, quarried the clerk and my husband. “Yes, that’s it”, I assured. It is the focal point of the foyer and I love it more every time I hit the switch and dim it to ‘just right’.

If there is a downside to building, it would be that everything is put in brand new at the same time and has a tendency to need replacing at the same time. This gets a bit ‘spendy’. So, you put off what you can and replace the things that drive you nuts. This was the case with the carpet.

It was a soft silver gray that I loved initially. Even though we never wear shoes indoors, with the Cat’s Technicolor ‘yawns’ and assorted spills, running my carpet cleaner on a regular basis was the only way to keep it acceptable. When we bought Cat food we would discuss getting flavors that ‘matched the carpet’. Fellow Cat people would give us a knowing nod. Salmon was definitely out unless you’re into pink residual spots no matter how much oxy you apply. Over the years it was stretched 3 times but soon a new ‘wrinkle’ would appear and no amount of furniture placement could hide the lumps. It had to go.

At first I thought tile in the foyer and wood in the great room, but soon decided that I no longer wanted that line of separation. I wanted it all to flow and provide a space that said ‘come on in’ instead of ‘wait here’. In addition to having the carpet in the great room, it was also in the hallway and master bedroom on the second level. We talked of doing wood in the kitchen as well which is lofted over the great room, but my first idea was to do that in tile. This is a future project since the stuff that’s in there is vinyl that looks like tile and is still in great shape. We decided on laminate because of the hardness factor and knowing that it would not have to be sanded and refinished in years to come plus we wanted a ‘floating’ floor.

When we spoke of getting the laminate installed, we were told how easy it would be to do it ourselves. Beyond replacing outdoor lighting and painting we are not exactly very knowledgeable, but are willing to learn. I was like a kid with a water canon when I got a nail gun to work on the lower level several years ago. Kathunk, kathunk, kathunk. I only hope we won’t need to pull all of those out in years to come. We have a table saw that we got to cut one board and a compound miter saw, neither of which has any bits of flesh clinging to the blades.

Some family and friends offered to ‘help’ with the floor project. This consisted of us waiting for instructions since they actually knew what they were doing. I did have the joy of ripping up the carpet. What fun!!! Did you know that sucker is tacked down with some nasty wooden strips and sharp pointy things? I guess I had assumed that gravity kept it there. The padding was stapled as well and when that was removed there was a layer of rough stuff that was none too comfortable on the knees.

We also discovered a sub floor under the vinyl in the foyer and the removal of that put us behind about 4 hours. Did you ever take a crowbar to your living space? Makes you euphoric and feel like vomiting at the same time like riding one of those roller coasters that inverts you in loops. That odd combination of joy and dread that would be less nerve wracking if done in someone else’s house. No wonder people like to ‘help’.

The new floor got put in with only a few snags like the odd wood trim around the fireplace. There is still a gap there that I am optimistic I can artfully disguise with the trim I got yesterday. Then, there was when our teenage feline, Hmandu, decided to tour the ductwork when the cold air return vent plate was off.

The upper level had to be completed two weeks later so I got to do all the prep myself, but it’s done now and I am not missing the carpet at all. The last vestiges of it remains on the stairs and they will get new carpet at a later date. It’s a bit flat, but lacks the bagginess so I can look at it without screaming.

Today is my target for getting my walk in closet put back together so I no longer have to recycle the same 5 outfits. It was a great opportunity to weed out and haul bags of purchases of clothing that became ‘what was I thinkings’ when they never saw the light of day. In the near future I get to play this game again when I have my new ‘closet system’ installed…this updating thing doesn’t snowball…it creates an avalanche. Oh well.

I also replaced the sofa in the great room and hauled the old one down to the pub and got rid of the junky one that was down there. If you’re gonna be a Bear, be a Grizzly as they say. So, it’s all a bit streamlined now and more open. The highest complement came from my daughter, the interior designer when she said, “your house looks much more awesome now”.

You really need to do this for yourself. Even just moving things around a bit can bring a sense of renewal that comes on the winds of change. Your place, your space, your way. Let it be quirky if that’s what you are. Touches of elegance have the ability to invoke the feeling of beauty and refinement after a long day in the ‘trenches’. Get a whistling kettle and let its song be the signal to get out a lovely china cup bought from a second hand store and allow it to reveal its history when you brew and sip.

You deserve to have a beautiful environment filled with a collection of beautiful things. No, we can’t take it with us and so many people downplay the importance of ‘things’, but what inspires and provides slices of joy is never overrated. Items of the past have us reliving the moments and provide us with a lineage that is tangible and can be touched as long as we outlive them. One of my favorite ‘things’ is a small collection of fossils. Not only do they carry their own history, they have now become a part of mine.

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

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.