Pick Your Poisonless Paint

The little Witch in me is finally feeling spring. I’m never trusting Phil again! What do groundhogs know anyway? They are saying we’re up for one more snow storm. I’ve really lost my wonder with the white stuff. It is time for it to go!

Since I’m feeling a little springy, and can’t wait for the flowers to start blooming. I thought I’d cover one of my favorite subjects: Paint! Okay, maybe it isn’t one of my favorites, but it has been on my mind lately. Actually, it has been on my mind since Valentines day when I received these beautiful purple roses. They weren’t to dark, and weren’t to light…just perfect! I hated to see them wither. However, they did wither nicely!

So, what do you do with withered roses? You make paint of course! I’m sure you were thinking the same thing. The question is…how do you make paint? Well, first you have to know a little about paint. Most of your wonderful paint colors come from natural pigments. They just have filler gunk which usually isn’t good for the environment, or you for that matter. So, how do you skip all the gunk?

You can purchase more people/ nature friendly paints. Unfortunately, you’re going to pay an arm and a leg, and probably another arm for them. Makes it sort of hard to paint…. You can save yourself the money and make your own.

At its most basic, paint consists of color. If you want to get fancy you can call it pigment. It also contains glue which keeps the color suspended. Some paints also contain other ingredients which add texture and bulk. They call these fillers. Then there is the thinner, or solvent, and other junk. There is even drying catalysts. More than you wanted to know, right?

You can pick up natural pigments, in the form of powders, at artists supply stores. If you’re like me and live in the middle of nowhere. It is quicker to find your own pigments in nature. I prefer to use dried flowers.

The glue, or binders, which keep paint glued to the wall are derived from refining crude oil. I think I’ll pass. Instead, you can use natural binders such as starch (from flour), casein (the protein in milk) and linseed oil. For fillers, you can use powdered chalk, talcum, limestone, silica and marble. Clay is also popular to pair with flour, because it reinforces the binding ability of starch and is abundant.

Thinners keep paint consistent. The thinners in commercial paints are usually volatile organic compounds. These compounds can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue, especially in areas that are not well ventilated. Not my idea of a fun time.

So, now that you know a bit about paint. Probably more than you wanted…the question still lingers. How do you make paint? Well, let me tell you….

Basic Flour Paint
Yields 1 1/2 quarts

1 cup flour
5 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup screened clay filler (clay can be purchased in a wide variety of colors)
1/2 cup additional powder filler, such as mica

1.Mix flour with 2 cups cold water, whisking to remove lumps.
2.Bring 11/2 cups water to boil, then add the flour water from Step 1.
3.Turn heat to low, stirring until thick paste develops. Remove from heat.
4.Dilute the paste with 2 cups water, a little at a time.
5.In a separate work bowl, combine clay with powder filler.
6.Add filler mixture to diluted flour paste until desired consistency is achieved.

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Oil Paint

Oil paint is suitable for exterior surfaces, and you can clean oil-painted surfaces regularly without damaging the paint. (You’ll need to use a solvent to clean brushes and equipment.) Oil paints can take a long time to dry — some will never completely harden — but this property gives the paint the advantage of remaining elastic as surfaces naturally swell and shrink.

Natural oil paints typically are made with linseed oil and a natural solvent, such as pure turpentine or citrus thinner. Choose raw linseed oil or linseed stand oil, which has been heated to a high temperature, making it more durable. (Avoid boiled linseed oil, which can contain a variety of ingredients that speed drying time, but may be hazardous to your health.)

Basic Oil Glaze

An oil glaze can serve many purposes. Sometimes you will want to put a glaze over flour or milk paints to increase water resistance. Oil glazes also make nice wood stains, with or without added color.

Yields approximately 2 cups.

1.Dissolve 1 teaspoon each pigment and whiting (powdered chalk) in approximately 1/2 cup linseed oil.
2.Stir in an additional 1/2 cup linseed oil.
3.Add 2/3 cup natural solvent and 2 tablespoons whiting, whisking to remove lumps.

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Casein Paint with Lime
Yields about 1 quart

1 gallon nonfat milk
2 1/2 ounces “Type S” lime (dry powder available at hardware stores)
2 1/2 cups water
Natural earth pigment (more or less depending on desired color)
6 cups filler (usually whiting)

1.Leave milk in a warm place for a few days to curdle. Then pour through a colander lined with cheesecloth. You should have about 2 cups of curds. The whey can be composted.
2.Mix curds and lime powder in a blender. Add a little water if the mixture isn’t blending well. Strain to remove any lumps.
3.Add water to the binder immediately after it is prepared.
4.Dampen and crush pigments. Add them to the mixture a little at a time until desired color intensity is achieved.
5.Stir in filler.

Casein Paint Adjustments

After mixing your paint, test it on a small area of your surface and let it dry completely. If it doesn’t spread easily, add some water. If it dusts, add more binder. If it’s too thin, add more filler. If the color isn’t rich enough, add more crushed pigment.

Expert Tips

•When making your own paint, it is important to experiment, test, experiment, and test some more. Keep it fun! If you play for a while first, you’re sure to end up with a beautiful combination of rich colors and interesting textures.
•For best results, clean all surfaces thoroughly before painting.
•Homemade paints contain food ingredients and should be used soon after mixing. You can refrigerate them, but the binding ability may diminish.
•It may be difficult to create exactly the same color over and over again. Try to mix as much paint as you can reasonably use in one work session.
•Exercise caution when using linseed oil. Crumpled oil-soaked cloths can spontaneously combust, so be sure to wash all cloths and other materials before disposal.
•Exercise caution with all powdered and caustic materials, especially lime. Wear gloves and goggles

And happy painting!!

Board Problems

ouija_board
Okay, so…I’ve started this post a couple of times now. I thought it would be an easy post to write, but apparently I was wrong.

You see, I have a love/hate relationship with movies. I love scary movies. Well, movies that attempt to scare you. I can’t remember the last time I was actually scared by a movie. I’m usually too busy critiquing the graphics – whether they’re good or bad, believable or not. I admit I watch a lot of movies about Witches, Witchcraft, etc. I enjoy them. I’m also frustrated by them.

They perpetuate a stereotype I’d love to see die. The whole “Witches are evil!” portrayal just ticks me off! Yet, I keep watching it. While I’d love to see the movies portray Witches correctly…I would miss the stereotype. I love the idea of being an angry, evil Witch. Sometimes, it is exactly what I want to do! Don’t get me wrong. I’m more of a lover than a fighter. I know any evil, or wrong, I may do will come back to me. It keeps me honest. But sometimes….. Everyone has their limits.

So…what has brought on this talk about movies, and stereotypes? The movie “The Ouija Experiment” came out recently. The movie is…okay for a B movie. The graphics could have been better. And, I could see places to improve the dialog, and acting. All in all though, it was worth a first watch, but not a second. Its release does scare me though.

The movie does give some of the rules of working with a Ouija board. Be polite. Don’t ask how they died. Always say Good-bye. They forgot the white candles, and the salt. And, to always be cautious. Once you open the door, be sure to close it. Never burn the board. And, if things start getting weird…call a professional/Witch.

I know Hasbro is going to love the movie being released. Their Ouija board sales should sky rocket. The calls I’ll get will sky rocket too. I love that Hasbro puts a disclaimer on the “toy.” It says it is ‘just a toy.’ Ya, and a pendulum is just a pretty rock. Anything used to open doorways to the other side can be dangerous. If used incorrectly.

I would love to teach a class on proper Ouija board usage. Even one on pendulums would be useful. There are actually a lot of things I would love to teach. The problem is finding the space, and the funding. There are some things I’d love to teach that are ‘witchy’ in nature, but would be useful to everyone. Especially things like first aid – based on herbal remedies, and plant identification. We all need that one….especially in the event of a Zombie apocalypse.

Anyway, if you like scary movies, “The OuijaExperiment” is not one to watch. It is dull, drab, and cheesy. If you’re a B movie fan…you’ll love it. If you buy a Ouija board, and plan to use it. Remember, be careful! I don’t mind saving people from themselves, but things tend to follow me home. Then my cats get all upset. It is very disrupting. Don’t be afraid to ask the local Witch/ Shaman/ Druid/ Pagan for help. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Blessed Be My Friends!

Honey of a Cold!

It is the second week of October and we’ve already had our first snow! I was not ready for the flakey, cold, white stuff.

I’m convinced the reason adults don’t like snow is because they have to drive in it. Until I started driving, and almost wrecking, in the snow, I absolutely loved it! Now…I grumble every time I see it. That is…unless I don’t have to leave the house. I feel like Jekyl and Hyde when it comes to the fluffy flakes.

When the temperature starts dropping, I start thinking about staying healthy during the winter months. If there is one thing I can’t stand it is cold medicine. Have you ever noticed how yucky it tastes? There is no reason we, as intelligent beings, have to put ourselves through such torture!

It is this time of year I start making my own cold medicine. I also start thinking chamomile and green tea! I count myself among the lucky ones who rarely ever get sick. I think it is because I drink a lot of tea. I also think it is because I reach for my cold medicine the first time I feel a tickle.

Did I hear you ask, “What is your cold medicine made out of then?” Oh, I do love questions! The answer, is simple:

Honey
Lemon
Freshly sliced Ginger – two to three peices (optional)
A Jar

Such a simple concoction! Take a sterilized jar, a freshly sliced (washed and dried) lemon, and some fresh honey. Put the honey and lemon in the jar, until it is full. Place a nicely sterilized lid on the jar, and seal it tight. Then place it in the refigerator. After about three weeks, take one spoonful of the honey/lemon mixture, add it to a 8 oz cup of boiling water. Drink.

There is no peeling the lemon, but you might want to remove any seeds you run across. If you add ginger, please remember ginger is a very strong root, and a little goes a long ways! I do like to cut any brown spots off the lemon rhine, just because I think it looks better in the jar.

After three weeks the lemon and honey should start to jell. If it doesn’t, mix it a little bit, and let it sit longer. I just slice my lemon thinly, but you can cut it into smaller bits. Don’t cut it into large slices – remember, the thinner the better! We want the juice to mix well with the honey.

You can just keep adding to the jar when it gets low instead of making a new batch each time. I find making this rather relaxing, and love to give it as gifts. We add a few more ingredients to ours…I’d share, but I don’t want to ruin our fun! :)

Blessed Be!

Brightest Spirits

Mabon begins my favorite time of year. The time when leaves start turning, harvests are brought in, the air becomes crisp and cool, and the smell of herbs, and fruits, fill the air with happiness. It is a magickal time where we turn inward, and start self reflection. The days become shorter, and darker, and we rest.

No matter how many times I’ve watched autumn approach. I am always inspired by the magick of it. I have the undeniable urge to spend every waking second outside. The colors of autumn are my favorite colors. The oranges, the reds, even the browns are absolutely beautiful!

This is the best time to begin counting our blessings. Mabon is our Thanksgiving after all. It is more than that though. The world begins to fill with the holiday spirit at this time of year. No matter what your beliefs are it is an undeniable fact. The holiday spirit is real, and such a joy to see!

Although the days become longer, and daylight wanes, the spirit of the holidays is the unseen brilliance that spreads. It moves from person to person through a smile, a touch, a laugh, or a kind word. It shows on our faces, in our eyes, and in our deeds.

It is that spirit, that inner brilliance, which moves us quickly through the colder months. We may not welcome the storms, or love the snow all the time but, we are happier and nicer at this time of year.

So, for tonight, I wish you a glimpse of the magick yet to come, moments of brilliant realizations, and an unfailing holiday spirit. When darkness comes, it is the light within which shines brightest. May it never waver, but shine brighter than the brightest bulb.

Blessed Be My Friends!

Acceptable Celebration?

I’m always fascinated with people around the holiday’s, both pagan and non-pagan alike. Facebook adds a unique perspective on people, and holidays. Take this past weekend for instance – Easter for all my Christian Friends.

It was fascinating to see how people behaved. I watched my Christian friends post quote after quote, picture after picture, bible verse after bible verse. My pagan friends…. I saw them post status message after status message about not having religion shoved down their throats. As a Pagan/Witch, I often have those same thoughts, but what I saw transpire on Facebook woke me up.

What I saw taking place was a group of people celebrating their beliefs, and another group condemning them for doing it. I was a bit confuddled. Granted, our last holiday was March 21st, and our next one is April 30th. We didn’t really have a reason to celebrate this past weekend. We also didn’t have a good reason to belittle others for celebrating their holiday.

We always ask for religious acceptance. We fight for it! As Pagan’s we are to often belittled, tormented, hounded, backed into a corner, etc., etc., etc. because we don’t follow the ‘norm.’ Yet, what I was seeing taken place on my Facebook was ‘us’, pagans, doing exactly what we didn’t want done to us.

We celebrate our beliefs. It is one of our favorite things to do. We dance, sing, rejoice, and share our beliefs with others. Yet, let a Christian stand amongst us and celebrate their beliefs….and we are the first to shoot them down. We say things such as, “……your way is not the way!”, or, “…go push the flock mentality elsewhere…” My favorite saying, when approached by Christians is, “I am not a sheep, I do not need a shephard.” I am as guilty as the rest.

It took seeing it on a grand scale to really bring it home though. I love my Pagan friends, and respect them greatly. I also love all of those I call family, and friends, who are Christian. I love them no less, or respect them any less for their beliefs. Yet….isn’t that exactly what I do when I belittle their beliefs?

In many ways, I was completely floored by the behaviour. We/Pagan’s claim to be nature loving, understanding, and accepting. How is telling people not to preach to us about heir beliefs, on their holiday, accepting and understaning? Is their behaviour really an attack on OUR beliefs? How can we be so self-centered to believe their postings, about their religion, is an afront to us? They are posting to celebrate!

Celebration of a belief system is so fundamental to our mental and physical well being. It is only our own insecurities which make it personal. I say let them celebrate! Let them post pictures, and scripture, and quotes, and whatever it is they feel inspired to post. And let us see it for what it is….Celebration!

And if we take it personal then we are no better then those we struggle against. We can not say we accept religious differences if we cannot, will not accept one of the religions which has caused us the most torment. Our belief in nature is not limited to trees, plants, and the like, it also includes Human Nature.

At what point do we lay aside our differences and say solemnly, “I accept you completely!” Isn’t this the tenant we believe in, Harm None? When we don’t accept others ‘as they are’, we do the greatest harm. We are no better than bullies!

No, I don’t want a Christian at my door preaching to me, and trying to convert me. I don’t want to chase away Jehovah witnesses with child eating, satan worshipping comments. Granted, the last one has its fun moments but,…. it just helps perpetuate a stigma we’re trying to fight. Human Nature does the best of me sometimes though.  :)

Life is so much more when we stop putting our own limitations on it. Let me leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” – Buddha

Blessed Be My Friends!

Love is in the Air…..Carefully

It is the time of year where people start thinking about Love. Valentines day is just around the corner, and we’re being unindated by hearts, cupids, and visions of red.

I love February for many reasons. Valentine’s Day is not one of those reasons. It is this time of year when we start getting hit with requests for Love Potions, spells, brews, etc. We’re use to it. We have endless numbers of all of the above.

I’ll be the first to admit I love falling in love. I love being in love. I love love! It is the most awesome feeling! I wish the happiness for everyone. What I don’t wish for everyone is…love potions, spells, brews, etc. They are far to dangerous for John Q. Public, because they are so often mis-used.

We follow the strict tenant of “Harm None” in our belief system. Love spells….harm many. People don’t think before they use them. They want so-and-so to fall in love with them. They don’t like being alone. They know if so-and-so would just spend some time with them…. I know all the reasons for wanting to do a love spell. I’ve heard them, or thought them. I also know the one main reason for NOT doing a love spell – Free Will.

When a love spell is done with a specific person in mind, you remove their free will from the equation. You exert you will over them. At which time “Harm None” becomes void. You cannot go in to a love spell wanting so-and-so to fall in love with you. It is the most dangerous, and unethical way to go about it. Not only will you end up hurting the person, but you’ll also end up hurting yourself.

If you’ve ever watched the movie “The Craft,” you’ve seen a glimpse of what can go wrong. Yes, I know, it is a movie and what they show is a bit over the top. It can happen though. You don’t know what affect your spell will have on the person. Do you really want to take a chance?

The great thing about life is, it really does want you to find love. The whole mythos of having an ‘other,’ or ‘split apart,’ or ‘soulmate,’ is realistic. We need to feel whole, needed, wanted, loved, or we wouldn’t search so hard for it. The person we choose for ourselves, is not always “the one!” We often learn this the hard way, because we rush.

In a world filled with divorce, and broken relationships, do we really want to rush? Mr/Mrs. Right could because our nightmare by rushing in and not thinking about what we need. The best love spells are created so we draw what we need to us, not what we want at the time. Our wants change, but our needs will always remain steady. We just have to know ourselves, and what we truly want, before attempting a Love Spell.

Remember spell crafting is all about intention. Knowing what we need in a relationship is part of that intention. Asking for someone who is handsome is a want. Asking for someone who is stable in their job, is a need. The universe knows what you want. It knows it before you do. It is looking to you for guidance on what you need.

For example, in my life, I need someone who is above average intelligience, holds all life sacred, is willing to put themselves under public scrutiny no matter the cost, an infallible honesty, a slightly warped sense of humor, and holds the belief work is the ultimate equalizer. These are things which are important to me. Deal breakers so to speak.

When I first started on the magick path, some 30+ years ago. I had a Love Spell, or Potion, which was my favorite to create for my friends. Then one day while mixing it I really read the words. It stopped me in my tracks! The spell is beautiful. The ingredients are fun. The words, are dangerous. I share it here ONLY to make a point. Please, never use this spell unless you rewrite it! The Spell is Love Potion #7:

Three hearts of precious wild pink rose
That under sun and starlight grows;
Three silver spoons of honey gold
Awaken powers of the old;
Three silver spoons of brandy wine,
You shall be mind, you shall be mine;
You shall be mine ’til you I free
This is my will, so shall it be!

Even without using a persons name, or thinking of a specific individual, this spell takes away a persons free will. You’re exerting your will, fully. It is more dangerous than saying, “I wish so-and-so would fall madly in love with me.” A wish is just a request to the universe, you shall be mine is a command.

So, this Valentines season, while you’re thinking of love, or the lack of, be careful. A well meaning spell can spell disaster if done the wrong way, for the wrong reasons. And, not all spells can be recalled, or nullified, once sent out. Are you really ready to live with the consequences?

Take care, and Blessed Be!

2012 Bookless Adventure Seeking

I was going to write this post about the new book I received for Yule. It is a fantastic book, by a fantastic author but, there is something else on my mind. I’ve learned to listen to my instincts, so I’m listening now.

While the book is important, and I want to share it with you. There is something more important. You see, for the past year, we have been working diligently to support the Pagan community locally. Our group is growing by leaps and bounds! It is amazing to see, and be part of this bright blessing.

That being said though, we’ve run in to a couple of snags. The first one being space. We have grown to large for the space we’re in. An unfortunate occurance, but so very wonderful! The second snag is the classes. While they are fun to, and on great subjects, I’m seeing the true need to have everyone seated around tables.

When people sit in comfortable seats, at differing eye levels, and with easy distractions you very quickly go off course. Phones come out, and people start text messaging. Something which is irritating to the person trying to lead the discussion. We can’t continue with the current setup. I’ll either go crazier, or people will stop showing up.

I don’t want to fail at this venture. There is such a need in the community for a Pagan group. Group…..isn’t the right word but I am really hesitant to call it an organization. I worry about the day we have to start finding funding, or worse, charging for classes. I also worry that I’m not the person who should be leading this sort of venture. I feel driven to do it though.

Something is telling me this is the path I need to take. It’s my instinct again, and I know what happens when I don’t listen. So….what is the plan? I’m going to take a step out of the Coven Craft play book. Setting up a Coven is much like setting up an organization.

You need strong leaders, lots of organization, and diplomacy. I know strong leaders. I’m fairly organized – I have my disorganized days like everyone else. :) And, I’ve learned to be very diplomatic thanks to work. The question is though…am I a strong enough leader.

I’m really questioning that right now. Whether I can lead as affectively as needed. I have the ideas, the drive, the knowledge, and experience. I know people will follow but, …. just because people will follow does not mean you’re a good leader. I need to take stock in my strengths and weaknesses.

The future is a wonderful place. We’re building it everyday. The Pagan community is a strong place. They deserve a strong leader. If that means I have to step aside once established, then so be it. For now, I’ll do the best I can with the help of the wonderful people around me. We can, and will, make a difference.

So…new book aside, here’s to the next great journey. 2012 is going to be a great adventure!!

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