Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Travel Log 12-28: And Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

 Our Christmas morning came a day late here. The older kids were at their father's for the 25th, but we did our christmas a day late and had a great time.
    One of our traditions is that we don't bring out our actual tree until after the kids go to bed christmas eve. We get a "decoy tree" that is either small, or fake, or as in this year made out of rosemary.
Then we make decorations ( the topper got changed to an angel at the last minute and there were no other heads available, lol so we had a little halloween on our christmas tree) for it with the kids and put out one gift for everyone to open on christmas eve. Then after the kids go to bed Santa- aka mommy and daddy, transforms the tree magically into a full sized real one, decorated with christmas gifts for the kids to pluck off the tree and surrounded by the rest of their gifts.

    This year we added a new tradition of making a christmas fairy tree topper for the top of the tree. I got a Cinderella doll fairly cheap and made a dress for her out of tissue paper.
The whole thing is actually held together by tape on the back, and the wings did not turn out as well as I liked, but My daughter loved it and has added it to her doll collection. I hope to do a better one next year.
     The kids loved their presents, which included a Wii system and some games, as well as the usual movies and assorted toys. The squishmiester got a new train set, and Littles got an awesome Bumblebee that transforms all the way (and let me say that I think my hubby geeked out more than I did on that one- I squeed more over the optimus with the real voice- nothing better than hearing optimus say "autobots transform and roll out"!). And I found a pretty awesome game for my daughter called Create. It's a wii game that lets you set up animated scenes that you make yourself, kind of like a starter on how to set up animated graphics. So far Epic Mickey with it's disney twist and Fable like good/evil interplay is holding sway with my Monkeyman.
      Oh and I got my new favorite thing in the entire world- my kindle, but more on that later. hope everyone else had as good a holiday!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Travel Log 12-22: And When the Candle Went Out...

The night was over and the wheel had turned.
    It is the day after Yule, the Winter Solstice, and the longest night of the year. The rain has let up here and as I type there is blue sky peeking out of the clouds outside my window.
    The meditation went really..well strangely. Usually when I tap into the energy filled "spirit world" ( I really have no idea what else to call it) it is vivid but concise. I get a clear perspective with a beginning a middle and an end. This was not that way. I got a lot of flashes of a lot of things, in a disordered jumbled mess. A lot of flashes of pictures and ideas. It will take a while to sort it all out, but I think perhaps one thing that is clear is that in some way my life is going to take a dramatic turn, especially since one of the clearest an repeated images was of Thurisaz (the rune not thorns themselves, however now that I think about it those might have been around the edges). I'll have to do some rune castings tonight and see what comes up.
     On a more  mundane note, thank you all for your well wishes on my root canals. I ended up only having one on Friday, and will have the other on next Wednesday (it was going to be today, but I really didn't want to have it done right before christmas). We have family stuff this weekend, and I will finally get my Kindle on Saturday!!! Ahem, I'm a little excited about that, lol.
     Oh, and I'm glad that the package got their early for you Robyn! I hope you liked it all!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Travel Log 12-21: The Longest Night of The Year

Will also be the stormiest here in SoCal. It has been raining steadily for 4 days now, and supposedly this afternoon and tonight is supposed to be the worst as one storm front hits another..directly over my house....
   But I look at it this way- It's my own personal re-enactment of winter, for one week only, here in the land of the sun. Normally I am wishing for nice rainy days all the time. Now I truly feel like I will never see the sun again, and I am wishing for it's return. So I can truly celebrate the turning of the wheel tonight.
    Unfortunately this all meant that I got to see NONE of the Eclipse this past night. I was severely disappointed.
    But that is ok. We're going to do some preserving with the lemons that grew out of a tiny tree in our side yard that I forgot was there. Truly an unexpected gift of little suns in this greyness. We'll be making some lemon syrup, and I might go for some lemon-vanilla jam. The boys and I are going to make some sun cookies before they go to bed and then the hubby and I are going to do our own meditation time and then snuggle down on the couch and watch movies.
      Blessed Yule everyone and may the next year be better than the last!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Travel Log 12-17: All I Want For Yuletime Is...

...not to have to get 2 root canals today.
    But my dentist insists. Something about decay and making the pain go away. Personally I think it is all a ruse and they are all sadomasochist animals. But then that just may be my phobia talking.
    Ahem. On to the more important business of the day- announcing the winner of my Yuletime Giveaway!

Drumroll please......(duhduhduhduhduh).....And the winner is........Robin Larkspur of Wiccan Writes!

Shoot me an email with your contact info and I'll get it shipped out!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Travel Log 12-16: Thursday's Cool Site of The Week

Thursday's Cool Site of The Week!

    I spend so much time surfing the web I think I have a massive Cyber Sunburn by now so I figured sharing some of the cool stuff I find with you guys would be fun! (that and I think my husband is getting a little tired of the "honey come look at this cool stuff that you don't know what it is and it's going to take me an hour to explain it to you" right when he gets home)
     Anyone else who wants to try this go right ahead I would love to see what you guys find out there in Cyber Space.

This week I felt I should spotlight a site that I actually use a lot. I get a lot of ideas and information from this one, and I hope you do too! The site is Candle and Soap Making Techniques from the people over at Peak candle supplies.
     There are project how to's, general information on both soap and candle making, as well as info on how to set up your own craft website and how information on how to get the best and most economical equipment.
     All the how to's are well put together and step by step with pictures (cause trust me, I need them!) and while they do have a supply site where they sell candle and soap making products they don't push their own products down your throat (which I thoroughly appreciate). There are a lot of fun projects and goodies on there so I hope you enjoy!

Also it's the last day to enter my giveaway! You can enter HERE!

Travel Log 12-15: Things That Make Me Cry...

    Now I usually won't admit this, but I am slightly sentimental (ok I am a sap...). There are certain things that will always make me choke up and swear that there are large grains of sand in my eyes.
     Surprisingly enough one of those things is How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated one, not the Jim Carey one). I even know the Whoville Christmas song. I just can't help it. Despite the years that have passed since I stepped away from that faith there are still ideals in it that will touch my heart. The ideas of overwhelming love and acceptance are hard not to admire (and wish fervently that they were the ascendant ideals in this day and age...ahem, stepping slowly back off the soap box).
      Another thing is a green frog singing a song about rainbows. In fact that was the only thing that made me seem to have the appropriate emotions while at my mother in laws funeral a couple years ago. They had the Kermit The Frog version of Rainbow Connections (it's the only version that makes me tear up for some reason) and I would start crying every time it played. Now I am not heartless and there wasn't any seriously bad blood between me and my mother in law, but the fact is I had only met the woman once, for a couple hours( my husband is from Indiana and I live in California, they only visited once for a couple days).
     And somehow my children have radar for this. They set up mini film festivals in our house with these films included because "mommy likes them so much she cries" (they apparently aren't buying the "I was just chopping onions" line). Since when did crying mean you like something???
     Oh well, It's the holidays, let them have their fun torturing me. I am after all , a parent and it is in the job description (learn to read the fine print people, learn to read the fine print). Just wait until they are 16 and going on a date *rubs embarassing pictures of children lovingly* oh yes, just wait...

Oh and you can still enter my Yuletime Giveaway HERE!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Travel Log 12-13: Yuletime Giveaway!

 Yule time is almost here and I've been a busy little elf (ok not so little...we'll say an elf with a glandular problem..yeah that will work)!
     If you've been following along here you'll know that I was burning the midnight oil on a few projects this week and FINALLY they are done!  I have finished my first ever home made gift baskets for friends and family.
     And lucky all of you because I have an extra! That means it's giveaway time!
     One of you lucky people out there will receive this lovely basket full of homemade goodies!
Here's the finished product all ready to send out!
  Here is a picture without the bag and big ribbon so you can see the contents better-

Inside you will find a jar of Sweeter Than Honey Apple Butter, Sunshine In A Jar Lemon Butter, a pouch of single use petal soaps in a relaxing tangerine-lychee scent along with a bar of soap in the same scent, lemon sugar face scrub and a jar of light olive oil to make it a moisturizing scrub if you like, as well as a tea pouch that includes 2 handmade reusable tea bags and samples of our Lavender Lemony Mint Elixir( a lavender lemon grass spearmint and peppermint herbal tea- the kids thought up the names when we tested them here at home) and our Minty Sleep Potion ( chamomile spearmint and peppermint herbal tea- again the kids named it, lol).
    We all had a whole lot of fun making them and I hope you like them!

So here's the rules:
    1) to enter you must be a follower of this blog and post a comment on this post
    2) (1) extra entry will be awarded for doing any of the following:
         a) posting on your blog about this giveaway (please put a seperate post with the link to your post on this thread =)
         b) entering my Sexiest Man Not Alive Linky (also please post on here that you did so =).
               - I've extended that to coincide with this giveaway.

A winner will be chosen 12pm on Thursday Dec. 16th so I can make sure that I can get it shipped out to make it by the 25th. Good Luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Travel Log 12-10-2: My Sexiest Dead Man....

For those who don't recognize him this sexy man is Dean Martin. The Dean. Member of the Rat Pack, Frankie's best friend, singer extraordinaire, and comedic partner to Jerry Lewis. For decades he was America's Italian rogue with the twinkle in his eye and a voice to make you melt.
    If it had been me he was singing to in Baby It's Cold Outside he wouldn't have had to get past the first verse before I was settled down on the couch....

To enter your own dead sexy man join the Linky HERE!

Travel Log 12-10: The Sexiest Man Not Alive

   I've passed a lot of check out magazine stands in the past week or so and a lot of magazines have been touting the "sexiest man alive". While I thoroughly agree that Ryan Reynolds is HAWT (funny does it for me, what can I say), there have been through the years many men who have possessed that illusive quality called sex appeal, and as they lived before our current age of public drooling over celebrity bods I felt they were some how cheated out of their due.....
    So I propose this- Lets give those fallen hunks their due! Lets each post about our favorite passed on hunk and then vote to see who this year's Sexiest Man Not Alive is!
    Just use the Linky tool below to link your entry (a post about your favorite dead guy) and once all the entries are in we'll vote and nominate the Sexiest Man Not Alive for 2010!
    Entry will be available until 12pm pacific time on Sunday Dec. 12th so let's have fun robbing the grave!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Travel Log 12-9: Thursday's Cool Site of the Week

I've decided that I need to start structuring what I put on here so that I don't go weeks without posting anything at all or just wandering around and reading all of your blogs and not doing anything of my own, so here's my new weekly installment:  Thursday's Cool Site of The Week!
    I spend so much time surfing the web I think I have a massive Cyber Sunburn by now so I figured sharing some of the cool stuff I find with you guys would be fun! (that and I think my husband is getting a little tired of the "honey come look at this cool stuff that you don't know what it is and it's going to take me an hour to explain it to you" right when he gets home)
     Anyone else who wants to try this go right ahead I would love to see what you guys find out there in Cyber Space.

Sorry it's up so late this week. Got caught up taking the cat to the vet and will post about my trip to Armstrongs later (but I now have 2 new plants to try my green thumb out on). But here is the Thursday's Cool Site of The Week!

 This week, since it's the holiday time and I have kids, I thought I would highlight a great little website that gives some great resources for pagan parents around the different holidays throughout the year. For those of you who have not seen it it's called Pooka Pages and it's awesome!
    It's based around an adorable little cottage witch named Elsie and her familiar a black cat named Pooka.  There are stories and art work by  Lora Craig-Gaddis and they are great touchstones for kids. Also there are the awesome Pooka Pages which are magazines that come out for the major holidays and really bring the spirit of the holiday in question and give kids a way to get involved with crafts, stories and coloring pages. You can get the Yule Pooka Pages here. Lora has a heart of gold and offers all of this for free. She has sections for crafts, herbs, and recipes- all witchlet friendly.
     So for this week the Pooka Pages is my cool site of the week!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Travel Log 12-7: Because Everyone Should Have Balls For Yuletime!

Domestic Witch is having her annual Got Balls? party and because lately I've been baking up a storm and NotHannah at Diving Women has launched her Cookie Witch site I figured I would list my recipe for Santa Baby's. So her you go-

Santa Baby Cookie Balls

      1/2 cup margarine
      1/2 cup brown sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1-1/2 cups flour
      1/8 teaspoon salt
      20 to 25 maraschino cherries
      2 tablespoons juice from maraschino cherries (optional but I like the flavor, not that I'm a maraschino junkie or anything...DON'T JUDGE ME!..ahem)
      20 to 25 chocolate chips , plus 1 cup chocolate chips

Oven Temp: 350 Degrees Fahrenheit (does anyone know how to do the little circle thing for degrees on a keyboard cause without spell checker I can't spell Fahrenheit)

           1. Cream sugar and margarine well. Add vanilla, flour and salt. Mix well. If the dough seems dry,     
               add up to 2 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry juice.
           2. Stuff each cherry with a chocolate chip, then wrap in 1 teaspoon dough. (at this point it is advisable
               to appease the pygmies doing their war dance around your feet with either a cherry or a chocolate
               chip- or that may just be at my house)
           3. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool.
           4. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in the top of a double boiler over low heat or in the microwave, and dip
               top of cookies in melted chocolate.

Now grab a couple and eat them quick before the pygmies get the spears!! (yet again that may only be at my house.....)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Travel Log 12-6: I'll Get Enough Sleep When I'm Dead...

....Or so it seems. Been burning the midnight oil this weekend to get all the stuff ready to ship out Yule baskets to all and sundry this holiday.
    I got our holiday cards ready and set to send out once my husband gets me a list of addresses for his family (besides friends I don't have that many people to send them out to since my family is way scattered). I thought about doing a card exchange with a lot of you who are doing it this year but it's my first year making our cards and I want to try it out on some guinea pigs and next year I'll send them out to any of you who want them :).
Here's the artwork I did for the front of it.
I had fun doing it even though it took forever, lol. I really like the way her hair and face turned out.
      The hubby's company Christmas party went pretty well. Didn't win any of the awesome prizes they were giving away but did get to put faces to the names he tells me all the time (which did not match my mental images at all in some cases)
      On friday I went thrift store rumaging with my Mom, Sister, and the two gnomes (littles and squishie, lol). We found some great stuff including a second couch for $35. 35 bucks!! I was a little excited about this. It is practically brand new!!! Ahem. Ok I'm done now, lol.
    I also got these nifty little bits that will be transformed this coming week as I have time
And here are some pics from the last weeks that I finally uploaded, lol
The kids helping for Thanksgiving dinner
That's Her Royal Highness and The Monkey Man in their jammies at 1 o'clock (hey it was a holiday!).
   And here is the Squishie helping out too

And here is an awesome box full o' Squish I got earlier this week
So there you have it all..it's been hectic and I'll get back to the 30 days of truth probably later this week. I have creative stuff to do (right after I play Transformers vs. Thomas the Tank Engine).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Travel Log 12-2-2: Thursday's Cool Site of The Week!

 I've decided that I need to start structuring what I put on here so that I don't go weeks without posting anything at all or just wandering around and reading all of your blogs and not doing anything of my own, so here's my new weekly installment:  Thursday's Cool Site of The Week!
    I spend so much time surfing the web I think I have a massive Cyber Sunburn by now so I figured sharing some of the cool stuff I find with you guys would be fun! (that and I think my husband is getting a little tired of the "honey come look at this cool stuff that you don't know what it is and it's going to take me an hour to explain it to you" right when he gets home)
     Anyone else who wants to try this go right ahead I would love to see what you guys find out there in Cyber Space.

So here's what I found this week!
   I'm looking at starting a new hobby. Ok, this isn't so much a new hobby as a really in depth combination of a bunch of them. As some of you know I've been flirting around the edges of gardening (a moment of silence for Tom the tomato plant, you were valiant to the end my friend) and have recently taken up making my own herbal teas. Well now I'm going to take that a step farther and actively begin learning about herbalism (and not just as a player skill in World of Warcraft, lol). It is something that I have long sat back and wished I knew more about. I would love to have that kind of skill at my fingertips and it's about time I got off of my overly rounded patootie (yeah even geeks use that word sometimes) and did something about it. Oh and by the way I want to give a huge shout out to my friends over at Diving Women and their new virtual bonfire forum. They have given me a lot of resources and advise for getting my own herb garden going inside this winter and how to plan for the spring!
    So far I have not found any live classes in my area, which has stymied me a bit (and if anyone out there knows of any in the California Inland Empire area I beg you to give me a shout out with the 4-1-1) but I have found a solution that I feel is workable. They have different stuff for different skill levels and a forum community that you can ask questions and is populated by a bunch of really skilled people.
    I have actually found an awesome online site called HerbMentor.com that provides videos along with the intructions and work in a multimedia type setting. There are a lot of really cool aspects of the site and I think that for a remote learning experience it will be the best available. That and at 10 bucks a month it won't break our budget. That and they offer a 10% discount on bulk herbs from their affiliate shop to members so it has extra perks, which rocks because I have a hard time finding bulk herbs in my area and they sell them by the pound and have a HUGE selection.
    So for a ton of reason's HerbMentor.com is my Cool Site of The Week!

travel Log 12-2: 30 Days of Truth, Day 4

Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

     Probably one of the biggest things I need to work on about myself would be learning to forgive people that I never really met. I need to forgive my biological parents for not being different people and not keeping me. I can't know what was going on with them, or what the situation was. I was adopted the day after I was born, and it was arranged from a month before my birth. I need to learn how to forgive someone without really know why they did what they did to need the forgiveness. That isn't as easy as it sounds....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Travel Log 12-1: 30 Days of Truth Day 3

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
      For me the answer that has the most meaning would be that I need to forgive myself for being selfish, or what I see as selfish.
     I can say with complete integrety and depth of meaning that I have abandonment issues. MASSIVE abandonment issues. How this ties into this post you'll see in just a moment.
    My 2 older children were from a previous (extreemly failed, trust me) relationship and are not biologically my husband's. That relationship broke down shortly after my oldest had to have heart surgery at 9 months old and before my daughter was born but was on the way. The court battles for my oldest and, as then, unborn daughter began almost immediately. My ex's family was vindictive and controlling to an absurd degree. My entire family was dragged through the mud, police were unleashed upon our household almost weekly, in summary it was a nightmare. 
    The end result was that we would split custody 50/50. One week with me, one week with them. Now they live over 3 hours away and so I had absolutely no way to check on the kids and they refused to answer the phone when I called.  
   My son started going when he was just over a year, and my daughter when she was 3 months old. 
   As you can imagine this had my abandonment issues rearing their heads pretty quick. And I ran and hid. I stopped bonding with my children as closely as I could. I went to school. I socialized.
   Don't get me wrong, I was there. I loved them and held them. Took care of them when they were sick, but was I as close to them as I could have been? No. I kept that one careful step back because letting them go to their father broke me apart every time. Every time after I let them go I would be huddled in the corner crying for hours( I know there are thousands of moms who face the same thing all the time with a lot more grace and courage, but those are things I'm working on learning and had no grasp of 9 years ago).
    Now I'm trying to rebuild that bond that I let slip away years ago. They don't go to their father's as often anymore (for various reasons), and we're slowly but surely getting to where we should be.
   But the loss of that time will always be, to me, a supreme act of selfishness that I can never make up for but must learn how to forgive.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel Log 11-30: 30 Days of Truth, Day 2

Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

     While this one is a little harder for me I have to say that the truest answer would be my  creativity. I love being able to make something, or transform it, or just generally think up silly stories for the kids. It is a large part of the joy in my life and a gift. My life has had a pretty fair amount of darkness in it, and I have spent my share of time hovering around the edges of despair, but being able to write, draw, and craft have pulled me back too many times to count.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Travel Log 11-29: Jumping on the Bandwagon

A lot of you out there are doing the 30 Days of Truth series, and after reading so many of your installments and how they have helped you I've decided to hop in.
So here's my first installment-
Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.

     This is a question that gets a lot of answers from me. I have a really hard time with self image and can't really say very much positive about myself without adding a disclaimer as to why it isn't so great after all. I can't remember a time when I wasn't like that and it drives my loved ones crazy. This is something I have been actively working on for some time, so some headway is being made, and blogging about my exploits here has definitely helped =).
      But now that I've rambled on I would have to say that something I can be ok with hating about myself would be my over worked sense of perfectionism. I have a driving need to make things "perfect"  but that doesn't really exist. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder and not universal. I will not be graded on my life or my creativity (that has become a bit of a mantra to me, lol). The more times I say it the better!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Travel Log 11-26-2: Something to Ponder

The Domestic Pagan made a post the other day about a pagan Thanksgiving that included a history on the day, which was neato, and a paragraph that really got me thinking. People find it distasteful to celebrate Thanksgiving because the first harvest it commemorates was then followed by years of heinous acts upon the Native Peoples of the Americas. That really struck a cord with me and made me think.
     To me that doesn't make sense or really even do what is intended, which is to admonish the disgraceful treatment of Native Americans in our nations history. In my opinion that harvest was not important because the pilgrims survived, but because they had worked together successfully with the Native Americans and they had survived together. It was a moment where the two forces that would be later diametrically opposed to each other had been at peace and in harmony. It was a moment to give thanks for working together. Can we really ignore that important thought just because it didn't work later? Is a protest against a political force that doesn't garner the action requested any less important or vital to the process?
    I don't think so. I think that any time people come together in the name of cooperation and sharing is important and should be marked and remembered no matter what happens later. Those moments are what peace and prosperity are built on, no matter how long it takes for them to fully appear. To me that will always be something to be thankful for.

Travel Log 11-26: The Day After

 Thanksgiving is over...thank all the gods available!
   This was the first time that I handled Thanksgiving. Admittedly it was just for our little family (all 6 of us), but it was the first time we actually did the whole huge meal thing. Prep lasted 2 days with me and my daughter (9) doing the baking on Wednesday and then me, her, and my hubby doing everything else yesterday. We had pumpkin bread, honey wheat rolls, sweet potato banana mash, mashed potatoes, apple honey glazed turkey breast, apple topped pork loin, pumpkin spice bars, triple chocolate cake with butterscotch whipped cream frosting, and gingerbread with maple whiskey cream sauce (thanks again Mrs. B for passing that link and idea on, it was sooooo good!).
      I can now admit that in my zeal to make the perfect holiday meal I may have gone a little overboard. We ate no where near this amount of food, and I fully anticipate eating left overs for the rest of the month at least, lol. It was an intense 2 days. It was the first time that me and my daughter spent that much time together in the kitchen and it was awesome, so this is now a tradition that we will keep up every other year (my 2 older kids split holidays with their dad and me). I never had that type of time with my mom, we were going out to eat every night from when I was 6. So this is completely new to me to have this kind of bonding time over an oven or a cook top. It's really nice and I hope that she likes it as much as me.
    The dinner was a success and we gathered around our table and told each other what we were thankful for over turkey, pork, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (my 3 year old is VERY finicky and loud). It was great.
     The kitchen however looked like a very large and messy war had been waged and there were no survivors, but I figure that's pretty traditional too. I was extra thankful that my hubby rolled up his sleeves and helped me get it done so now my kitchen is almost back to normal.
     How was your day?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Travel Log 11-22: Oh What A Weekend It Has Been!

I have been busy busy busy this weekend. I got all the craft shopping done for Yule presents and got some of the stuff made. I even took pictures of the final products! So yay for me remembering visual aides!
     I do want to give a shout out to one of my favorite stores, Dragon Marsh, and if you happen to be anywhere near Riverside Ca and you haven't already, then check this place out. They have everything from herbs and essential oils (and staff on hand that knows all of their uses from medicinal to spiritual) to tools and even fabrics for robes or period clothing. The staff is awesome and perfectly willing to help and answer any questions you may have! So yeah, they rock, lol.
   But back to what has occupied me this weekend!
Oh and I finally got pics of the rolls that I made! the kids helped me this time so they were extra fun to make.
And here is one of the little tidbits going into the gift baskets that my friends and family will be getting for Yule this year-
These are my first foray into the world of soaps. Admittedly it was the melt and pour type, but for this craft that is the best. They are single use rose petal soaps all tied up in cute little bags! I used a yellow tint to make them butter yellow, and a tangerine-lychee sent to make them smell purty.
   And then with the left over soap I made these-
I got a mold and made a few of these pretty little bars to go with the petal soaps.
    And then I found these awesome little bottles and filled them with a sugar-lemon face scrub.
Here they are lined up and waiting to be finished off with some light olive oil for a moisturizing face scrub!
Aren't those bottles just adorable??? Aren't they??
   And then the crafting weekend wouldn't be complete without firing up the 'ol sewing machine and cranking out some seams. I made These adorable little reusable tea bags-
I still need to make a few more of these and I got a couple other patterns, but for $2 squares of fabric they look pretty good huh?
     I also got a bunch of herbs, which is where the great people at Dragon Marsh came in (they answered all my silly questions with a ton of patience and even steered me towards different options for some of the really rare herbs on my list), and am going to make some homemade herbal teas to go with the bags but I haven't gotten to those yet. And I plan on making those little jars prettied up (there will be ribbon, oh yes there will be ribbon!)
     So that was my weekend. Pretty fun and I got a lot done! Now I gotta start working on getting the baking done for Thanksgiving!*

    *I just noticed how many exclamation points I used in this post and I do apologize. They say excessive use of punctuation is a sign of a disturbed mind, so you guys should have expected it really...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Travel Log 11-18: Oh Sarcasm, What Would We Do Without You?

     There has been a lot of political craziness this year. A LOT. I mean, seriously what has been up with our country and all the protests, sensationalized stories, and just general nonsense? From a rousing round of who's the witch to a rather disturbing obsession with a 16 year old girl calling someone a name (cause yeah, that doesn't happen on a daily basis just about EVERYWHERE), to all the tea party nonsense (and trust me I'm pretty sure the bodies of those long ago heroes in war paint are on a constant rotation in their graves when they look at the majority of this group) it has been one ridiculous thing after another.
     But amongst it all has been a steady stream of people who have been standing up and saying it's ridiculous. Which to me is the most important part. From the Rally to Restore Sanity to this little tidbit that a group of clowns in Knoxville TN started the sarcastic and snarky have started to fight back in our own style.
    To me this is awesome because sarcasm is a language I mastered at a very young age. However the really sad part is that the majority of crazy people that are involved don't speak sarcasm which means a lot of the great messages and retorts being tossed out there are just not being received. So while I am amused as heck by all the great witty remarks finally being blazoned onto picket signs, they are unfortunately not going to work
      But here's to all the snarky warriors out there- may you eventually drown out the intolerant and closed minded, for here in America our national language is sarcasm!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Travel Log 11-14: And On A More Personal Note...

     While my personal modesty and some issues from my childhood (trust me that is a place you sooo don't want me to go) I have  been avoiding posting anything really personal about my own spiritual beliefs or practices. I intend to change that.
      It may seem strange to some, but just being on here for a year and openly posting that I am a witch is a big step for me. Now it's time to take another step. Hopefully eventually I can be as open a person as many of you wonderful people are in our little blog world here. A lot of you are very secure in yourselves and very generous in your sharing of your personal practices and moments with the rest of us. And I realized recently that while a lot of people share traits in what they do, none are exactly the same. They all have their own flair and feel to what they do, and I have gotten ideas and helpful tips just reading about what they do. But kind of like a voyeur I have not shared in return and as such I have not given back to this pool of knowledge that I keep dipping out of.
    There are a lot of reasons for that, but mainly it's because I'm scared. Scared that what I do won't be considered valid, fear that others will think I'm not "authentic" or that I'm just some sort of poser. And I realized recently that those fears are just down right ridiculous. I am who and what I am. I feel what I feel and practice how I practice, and someone may find something of worth that they can use for themselves in what I do, so I am bound by my willingness to learn to offer what I have learned so that others may use or discard it as they need. ( and yeah, that sounded pompous didn't  it, lol)
     So here is a little of what I do.
     I am not big on ritual. I am way too self conscious to be able to pull it off with conviction and while it works awesome for some people, that very self-conciousness keeps me from being able to focus on the task at hand so to speak.
    So what I have developed is my own form of energy work. To me divinity is a huge pool of energy, and everything has a piece of that, and is connected to that. I can't see "auras" as they are sometimes called, but I can feel the energy itself inherent in living things. To me it's like feeling the worlds heart beat. Usually my work consists of a focusing agent (usually a candle) and a deep meditative trance.
      Once I am seated I take some deep breaths and then center myself. By this I mean I pull all my own energy back into myself and hold it in the center of my being ( for me this is just below my sternum, but I think its a fairly subjective thing). Then I light my candle ( I tend to use jar candles as it allows me to pick up and move the candle while lit with minimal heat  and spilled wax issues). I take a moment to connect with the energy in the little candle flame and recognize and thank it.  I don't, on the whole work with the elements as separate entities or personalities, but if I am physically using one while I work I do like to say thank you.
      In terms of the elements I tend to have an "all are one" sense of them. Each drop of water contains the same energy as a crashing wave, or  a still deep pool. Each flame holds the warmth of a hearth fire and the destructive power of a forest fire. To me it is essential when I approach any of the elements that I recognize what they are as a whole, helpful and destructive.
      Once I have thanked the fire I let my own energy release and spread out as far as it will go, until it touches what I feel is the "dominant" energy. For me this is dependent on the time of day. If it is daylight out and the moon has not risen then that would be the sun. Or if it's night time it's the moon, or sometimes the stars. That's when I let myself drop into a meditative trance. Then I pull myself back until my energy forms a protective globe around me that will filter everything that comes through and only allow positive energy to pass (sometimes I ask for help from other trusted energy sources with this).
       I invite that "dominant" energy to pour itself into me, as if I were an empty jug that needed filling. I visualize that energy as sunlight, or moonlight, pouring in like a thick syrup until they fill all the way up to the top of my head. Then I visualize a thin line of energy pouring from that source into me and refilling as I need it.
     That's when I start to focus that energy filling me up towards whatever I need. I build that energy layer by layer into a ball between my hands, then once I feel it's built up enough I release it back out so that it can go where it can make my will happen. I allow for a trailing line of energy that connects to the divine power source using me as a conduit, so it will continue to have enough energy to get what I need accomplished.
      Then I send my thanks out to that divinity and pull myself out of the trance.
      The last thing I do is thank the candle flame again and put the lid on the jar, saying good bye (this is also a reason I use jar candles, it allows the flame to "put itself out" rather than me snuffing it). One last stretch and I get up and put my candle away.

That's what I do for a normal focused working.
    Lately I've been doing some unfocused meditations that have brought me some interesting insights and I'll post those another time.
    Thank you for bothering to read this all the way, and hopefully I won't actually die of embarrassment or delete this later..

Friday, November 12, 2010

Travel Log 11-12: My Current Obsessions

 Well everyone, I have been obsessively working on artwork lately. I even revamped my profile pic, even though most wouldn't notice the difference. I've been doing a trial on a new to me digital art program called Corel Painter. This thing rocks! Like seriously, all it needs is face paint and it's filling in for KISS...ahem, I digress, lol.
    Here's an example-
My profile pic before (done entirely in microsoft paint if you can believe it):

and here is the new revamped one (which includes the switch from my natural hair color to my current choice)

It took me about half the time to do the new one.
    Now I'm working on the artwork for our Christmas cards, which is awesome because  I have wanted to do that for years but never had the equipment.
    But other than artwork I have taken on my first turkey this past week (alright it was a turkey breast, but hey, never even tried that before!) and it was a pretty good run. The only hiccup was that I freaked out about the meat being pink and put it in for a half hour longer until I checked the USDA website and found out it's ok, lol. What's the holidays without a little fear of food poisoning?
     Doing trial runs on all the new recipes for thanksgiving and so far they have all worked. Going to try and roast a pork loin in my new electric roasting pan this weekend.And I should have pictures of rolls too as I am going to do another batch tonight! I'll also be posting a blog on meditation a little later. If I'm going to use this blog as an online diary of sorts then I need to start recording some of my spiritual experiences here as well, so bear with me =D.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Travel Log 11-9: And Now For Something Completely Different..

Ok, not so very different, but I couldn't think of a title (it happens to the best of us how do you think they got The Iceman Cometh?).I've been hitting up the after Halloween sales and I found something I just had to share!
    This is my new computer companion-
She sits on top of my scanner and watches me surf the web and of course peruse all of your blogs!
She shares her spot with Iron Man (because who would be better to ward of tech problems I ask you).
I got a few other goodies, but she is by far my favorite!
   My sweet hubby also got me the scanner/copier/printer so she has an even posher spot to rest.
   This weekend marked my first foray into the strange and cryptic world of yeast. This is a place I haven't so much feared to tread, but have been wary to broach (wary, yes wary, cause a grown woman shouldn't be scared spitless of a little packet of powder). But this weekend I rolled up my sleeves and went for it. I started simple and made my first set of from scratch rolls. They were Honey Wheat rolls and I knotted them and made them look all pretty and everything.
     I would have pictures except by the time I went and got the camera and came back half of them were gone and my husband and the evil midgets (some people call these mischievous fae "kids" or "children" but I calls 'em like I see's 'em) were all conspicuously not in the kitchen and when questioned had sworn that they were all in another town sitting quietly and definitely NOT touching the rolls at the time of the disappearance. So I have no pictures, but I hope to do another set in a day or so (they take overnight to rise) and then I shall have the camera ready.
    I can't wait to try other types of bread! Jaz over at Octoberfarm has some awesome no-knead recipes that I  have been dying to try so now all I need to do is get a clay pot like she has and I'm on it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Travel Log 11-8-2: Cause I'm Totally Late To The Party...

I just found out about the Bloggerette Sorority and am posting this because I really really want to join (can you tell that I wasn't in one in college? lol). So if you're not part of it then check it out here, and if you are I hope I get to join you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Travel Log 11-6: I've Been Productive

Well today has been a really productive day. Been out and done all the shopping, opened up and played with- uh I mean used, my birthday presents. I was lucky enough to get a pressure canner and an electric roaster for my birthday and I currently have some spaghetti sauce canning and a roast making my mouth water. It's been a good day, when I get the pics downloaded I'll be sure to post them. Working on a few ideas for home made christmas presents for the adults in our life this year. We've been doing so well starting to do most stuff home made and I want to kinda show it off to family and friends. Oh and don't forget to enter the Giveaway that the lovely people over at CSN stortes have been kind enough to sponsor! Click here and get your entry in!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Travel Log 11-2: And Now for a Very Important Note....

...get out there and vote!
     I am not, on the whole, a political person. It all just irritates the hell out of me and makes me want to put all those pundits and elected officials in a room with bears that missed lunch. But for those of us who live here in the good 'ol US of A this is the time to get up off our butts and say something (albeit anonymously in a closed booth, that like by law no one can see into...but anyway it IS speaking up!). Of course there are a lot of people who don't, and usually they are the sane and reasonable people- because most sane people look at our political choices and want to run screaming in the opposite direction, cause well, they are sane and reasonable people. But I digress.
      The point is that unless we use our voice we cannot be heard.
     As a card carrying pagan (hey, if something is around long enough SOMEONE will give out cards for it...) I am in a marginalized and generally discounted minority. Yes there are a lot of us but we are not orginized, nor are we cohesive. Also quite a few of our numbers are in situations that do not allow them to freely express their religious affilitations, which sucks but hey it happens to the best of us. So how do we a) get a voice, and b) make sure that it is used to advance our situation and protect our rights?
     Voting is annonymous and it's only beneficial. It only takes a few minutes, and it's a way that all of us can help to back up those groups that are out there fighting for our rights and standing on the front lines getting hit with the crazy stick that a lot of the right wingers seem to carry about there person somewhere.
     There are tons of websites out there that list the candidates and what they stand for, and what voices they are going to listen to.
     So today instead of getting up in arms because someone has called us satanic, or crazy, or has put in-appropriate art work somewhere,  let's hit 'em where it hurts- in the votes!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Travel Log 11-1: Oh What A Time We Had

Sorry for the absence right after meeting some of you but this weekend, besides being All Hallow's Eve, was also the first time my best friend has gotten to visit me in about 2 years. She moved up to Washington state about 6 years ago and I have missed her like crazy. So we were a bit crazy, what with all the running amok and all. Unfortunately no governments were toppled or mayhem mayhammed (is that even a word? Well now it is!). But we had a lot of fun and I am still exhausted from last night.
     She talked me and the hubby into spending our 5year anniversary (yup, married on Halloween) at a local venue for a Rockabilly show headlining with the Horrorpops. We didn't know much about the genre (don't I sound all artsy and stuff- genre...g-en-re, just saying it makes me feel more cultured, lol) but we got a quick education last night. And it was great! I now have a bunch of bands to research and for those of you who may know who they are we saw The Muertones, Resurex, FOF, The Horrorpops, and the Necromantix made a surprise appearance. What was great was the 3 classic hearses lined up in front of the show. It was awesome!
     Unfortunately the conversation that happened on the way back to the car was "we are too old for this shit" "my back is killing me" and "what ever made me wear the platform leather thigh high boots?"  But hey, what are friends for except to show you that you are waaaay past your prime.
Hopefully she will get the pictures loaded up quick and I'll toss some on here!
     Since I'm feeling uber cool and all sock hopper-ish (also now a word! I'm going to start my own dictionary soon..) instead of saying good bye I'll just catch y'all on the flipside!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Travel Log 10-28: And the Winner is.....

One of a Witchy Kind!!

Just drop me a line and give me your shipping info and your new broom will be winging your way!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Travel Log 10-25: Welcome Everyone On the Blog Tour

Welcome everyone who is stopping by from Mrs. B's Haunted Blog Tour!
     I'd like to give you a hearty welcome to our little corner of Astral Space. We seem to have been having some navigational issues, but they should be resolved soon. Pay no attention to that beeping or the red warning lights. And I have no idea who Will Robinson is or why that robot seems to keep telling him there is danger....
    But anyways, I thought I would entertain you all with a tutorial on how to make one of my favorite Halloween decorations. These are some of those multi-purpose crafts that can be decoration, spell paraphenaila, or even protective ward or spell charm. Also I am currently doing my annual Halloween Tale and this year it is a "Choose Your Own Adventure" version. You can find the start to the story here.
     So without further ado (because there has been more than enough ado so far, and we here at Lost In Astral Space have pledged to become an ado free establishment at some undisclosed time in the near future) here is my walk through on making my Witchy Brooms!

What you will need:
         Wooden dowels (1/4inch thick, about 12 inches long- you can get them in a package at your craft store)
          3yrds of ribbon (any color or pattern you want)
           A package of pre-dried corn husks (I use the ones that you get from the grocery store for making tamales)
          A bowl of water (large enough to soak the corn husks in)
          A drying rack (I use a cookie sheet with paper towels on it)
         Hot glue gun and sticks

Step 1:  Soak the corn husks in the bowl of water until they are soft and pliable.
Step 2: Take one of the corn husks and tear it into thin strips (you will need 2 per broom)

Step 3: Start wrapping the corn husks around one of the dowels with the thin end lined up to the end of the dowel, leaving the wide end laying along the length of the dowl

Step 4: Using one of the thin strips of husk, tie the strip around the thin ends about 1/4 of an inch from the end of the dowel.

Step 5: Now push the dowel down until about another 1/4 inch is showing below the husks.

Step 6: Now begin to fold the husks down over the tie, until the other end of the dowel is now clear of husk and the end that you just pulled down in Step 5 is now hidden in the husks. This is a good time to tear the husks so that they seem fuller and more broom like.

Step 7: Now you'll use your other thin strip and you will tie the strip around the husks about 1/2-1 inch below where they meet the dowel. This will really make it look like a broom.

Step 8: Let them dry. I suggest over night, sometimes longer if you have a particularly thick set of husks.

Step 9: I usually, as soon as they are dry, use a hot glue gun to clue the upper (folded over) part of the broom to the dowel ensuring that it won't move around.
Step 10: Decorate! I use ribbon to wrap around the dowel and the "broom tie" so that mine end up looking like this:
This one I used 2 different colors on (orange and purple) in the Halloween spirit. Or they can look like this:
This one i used a patterned ribbon on and it looks a bit more homey.

I also like to add a little folded envelope (you can find a great tutorial on the one I use here) and stuff the little pockets with protective symbols or small stones, or anything that sets my purpose. I then punch holes in the top and string a ribbon through it and hang them from the brooms.
These can be just simple decorations, or you can charge them with intent and hang them as charms, or you can even use them as home made altar besoms for those of us who have limited ritual space! One of my favorite things to do is to soak the corn husks in tea or an herbal concoction instead of water. It leaves a sublte scent to the brooms. Also herbs or potpouri can be put into the envelope or can be hung from inside the "bristles". It's one of those multi-purpose crafts that I love !

And now to the giveaway!
I'm giving away one of my brooms pre-made!
You can have this sweet little broom all for your own!

Here are the rules:
1. be or become a follower of Lost In Astral Space
2. leave a comment on this post
2. Leave me a way to contact you- either a blog profile with email contact, or leave your email in your post!
Good luck and I hope you enjoy!

Travel Log 10-24: An Apology Then Onward!

Sorry about not getting this up last night, but we had some internet problems over here. The tech goblins were playing around much too much last night! (you can find the first installment of the story here)
     So without further ado, here is-

                                             "Mockingbird Lane, Part Three"

     Linda opened the door to the hallway.
     Where on earth is Samantha, and what happened last night?
     The hallway she stepped into seemed to stretch the length of the house with doors lining each side. At one end was the landing that lead down to the rest of the house, and at the other end was a couple steps leading up to a door that she assumed lead to the tower. Her room appeared to be the closest one to the stairs and she turned to check the rest of the rooms down the hallway. Samantha had to be here somewhere.
     The walls were covered in what looked like silk and were faded but she could still make out the pattern of alternating stripes of light blue that would have been gorgeous when it had been new. Photographs were spaced along the hallway in elegant frames. The one next to the room she had come out of was an old black and white showing two  young girls posed in the serious tradition of the Victorians. One of the girls was tiny, had dark hair piled into a gibson girl bun, had very thick glasses, and was seated on a velvet chair. This could only be a very young Ms. Ashworth. She even seemed to be wearing the same dress she had been last night. Next to her was a blond girl with large bows tied to her long braids. While Ms. Ashworth was serious to a fault, the blond girl seemed to be almost impish in her short skirts and and pigtails, a slight smile playing on her lips. Linda almost smiled back at her.
      She turned to the door directly across from her. The soft carpet that ran down the center of the hallway completely muffled her footsteps. The door opened easily and showed an empty sitting room. The furniture was covered in a thin layer of dust and the room appeared to be unused.
       The picture outside this room was of the same girls in almost the same position, only a few years later. Ms. Ashworth looked almost identical, only her face had seemed to fill out more, but the blond girl had grown a good foot and towered over the small woman in the chair. Her hair was now put up in a bun as well, and she appeared to be wearing a high necked button down gown that looked very similar, if not identical, to the one that Linda now wore. She had not lost the air of mischief in this photograph, but it had taken on a subtly sultry edge.
       Hmm. Must be relatives, Linda thought. If I am wearing her dress then she must have lived here. I wonder what happened to her.
     There was a second photo not that further along the wall and it showed  what appeared to be a wedding party with the happy couple stoically not smiling at the camera. The blond woman was standing with a a rather good looking young man and did appear to be happy. Ms. Ashworth was still on her chair to the side of the rest of the wedding party, looking not at all happy. Hmm, can't be fun to be left behind.
      The next door along the hallway opened into a bedroom outfitted similar to the one she had woken up in except that where hers had been decorated in lilacs, obviously decorated for a woman, this one was definitely masculine. The furniture was heavy and solid, and the walls were done in a dark oak. The other difference was that where her's had been clean, with everything in it's apparent place, this room looked as if it had been ransacked. The bedclothes were torn and tossed around the room. Furniture was over turned and broken, or haphazardly stacked in the corners.  Really weird.
      Linda turned away from the room and walked a little further down the hall to look at a cluster of photographs. They were all set up like the early photo's of the two girls. These were obviously done over a period of years as Ms. Ashworth aged visably in each of the pictures but the really weird part was that while Ms. Ashworth was in every one, her companion changed with each photo. They were all in the same pose and all blond, their faces were different. They looked frozen and stiff, and they were all wearing what looked like the dress she was wearing now. And in the corner of each photograph was a stone that looked like the ones out in the garden, but she could read them in the photo's. They all said Sylvia but had a different date under the name. The latest was dated about three years earlier.
      Ok. Really, really creepy. Time to find Samantha and get going on our merry way.
     Linda began walking a bit faster and tried the rest of the doors in the hallway. These were all locked and no answer came when she knocked and called Samantha's name. She had just reached the door she believed lead to the tower when she heard loud sobbing coming from the room she had woken up in.
     No one had been in there, had they?
     She cautiously headed back to the room and peered around the door frame. There was a woman sitting in the bedside chair, sobbing uncontrollably. her hands covered her face and her blond hair hung down in tangled clumps. Her body rocked slightly back and forth as her grief shook her.
     Linda went to her, preparing to offer comfort, but as soon as she reached out to touch the woman she shrieked and ran across the room. The woman ran through the other doorway in the room. Linda went after her and found herself in an empty sitting room. This one, while matching the bedroom in femininity, had recieved the same treatment that the man's room across the hall did. Furniture was splintered and even the wallpaper had been shredded. She took a moment to check behind the piles of what used to be nice furniture and found the room to be truly empty. The door leading out into the hallway was still locked, and the window was closed.
     "Alright, that's it, I'm out of here." Linda said as she unlocked the door that lead to the hallway and stepped out of the room.
      As she passed through the doorway she felt something cold  brush her cheek.
     "She's in the tower" came to her on a whisper almost to low to hear.
       Linda paused and glanced back and forth between the landing and the door to the tower.

So which one is it going to be?

Will Linda-
  Go down the stairs
   Try to get into the tower room
You Decide!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Travel Log 10-23: Busy Busy Busy

I'm sorry I haven't updated the story, but it's been pretty hectic over on this side of the astral plane.
     I've been getting ready for  my day on Mrs. B's Haunted Blog Tour and I'll have my turn for that on Monday so look forward to a tutorial as well as a giveaway!
     Been getting ready for Halloween here. decorating is almost done as well as furiously sewing to finish up costumes. Took a break on Tuesday to take Her Royal Highness to Disneyland for her 9th birthday. It was a lot of fun, and we did Mickey's Halloween Party too, and if you ever get the chance to do it! It was a lot of fun trick or treating around Disneyland, and let me tell you Walt does not stint on the candy! That and they close the park down for the party, so there was no wait for any of the rides.
      Since our anneversary is Halloween, and with my best friend coming down to visit and all, the hubster and I aren't going to be doing much on the day so he got me my presents early! I scored a brand new digital camera and a portable fire pit! So squeeeee!!
       I'll have the next part of the story up tonight, and I'll look forward to seeing what you all pick for Samantha and Linda next!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Travel Log 10-12: October Fun!

Since I decided to join the fun over at the Whimsical Cottage I have yet to actually post anything about what I am doing to bring a little bit of halloween into everything I do this month. So here is an abridged list of all the halloween type fun being got on in our household!
       - magickal brooms with protection envelopes were made by all (hopefully will have tutorial with pics on  this fun craft before this weekend =)
       - mini funkins were decorated with glitter glue and put outside to decorate the front
       - pumpkin bread, pie, and chocolate cake with pumkin whipped cream frosting were baked
       - shopping at the 99 cent store with the little guys suprised me with new halloween dessert plates, raven accented bowls, and cool pumpkin ice cube trays!
       - a trip to the craft stores got me a bunch of Halloween/fall ribbon for uber cheap, and I got some cool Halloween themed fabrics for half off. (I'll show you pics of what I did with them soon, it's really cute and involves Her Royal Highness's costume!)
         - Found out on a tour of Target's Halloween section that nothing can lure Littleman away from a Warmachine costume (for those who don't know it's from Ironman).
          - worked on my "choose your own adventure" style story for the blog this year ( you can catch the start of it here)
          - made half of my Halloween costume for this year
          - and I have to admit I have been obsessively Halloween decorating in Pet Society on Facebook

Been busy here, lol. And tonight we're making shortbread cut with Halloween cookie cutters!
 I love this month!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Travel Log 10-10: Mockingbird Lane Part Duex

You've chosen a path so lets see where it takes the girls! ( you can find the first part of the story here)

                                            "Mockingbird Lane (cont'd)"

     "C'mon, lets go up to that one on the left, the porch light is on so they may be waiting up for visitors."
      Samantha led the way up the cobbled pathway that wound up the hill, through the rose garden. The light gave off a welcoming glow from the large wrap around porch that dominated the front of the house. In the irratic flashes of light from the storm the square tower would be briefly illuminated and the wind caused a loose set of shutters somewhere on the second floor to bang irratically against the side of the house, making Linda jump.
      As her gaze roamed the garden they passed through she wondered how they go the roses to bloom this late in the season. The large blooms looked black in the rain but a flash of lightning revealed them to be a deep red. The porch light reflected off of small carved markers in each bed. She couldn't quite make out what they said and leaned closer to read one just as Samantha knocked on the front door.
     I'll check those out on the way back to the car, she thought and hurried up to her friend just as she was lifting her arm to knock again.
    "Give them a moment to answer." Linda told her, grabbing her arm to stop her from knocking just as it swung silently inward.
     The girls looked down into the wrinkled face of a very old, very short woman. She was dressed in an old fashioned ankle gown, and even with her hair piled into a bun on top of her head she must barely have been four feet tall. The old eyes appraised them from behind a pair of thick round spectacles and slowly a smile spread, changing the web of wrinkles that covered her face.
      "Hi. Sorry to intru-"    
      "Come in out of the rain my dears, you'll catch your death." She turned and began walking down the front hallway of the house, leaving the girls standing on the front porch staring after her.
      They looked at each other then looked down the hallway, after the woman.
      "Maybe we should go to the-" Linda began.
      "Come along dears tea is waiting in the parlor." The woman called back to them and disappeared into a room on the left.
      Linda looked at Samantha and gestured back to the car. Samantha shrugged and stepped into the hallway after the woman. Linda groaned and stepped in after her.
      The hallway was dark, most of the illumination coming from the porch light behind them. Bowing to her ingrained sense of etiquette Linda reluctantly closed the door behind them to keep the cold night air out, cutting off that small bit of light. The hallway was oppressively dark, but as their eyes adjusted they noticed that there were old fashioned lamps hung from the walls with shutters on them letting of dull glows. The lamps only gave off enough light to allow them not to trip over the few pieces of furniture that lined the hallway. Picture frames lined the walls but it was too dim to see what they showed clearly. When they got about halfway down  they came to the door they had thought the woman had gone in. There was a very faint glow around the door frame. Linda stopped Samantha as she reached for the door handle.
     "This is really creepy. Maybe we should just go back and try the other house."
      "Oh quit being a sissy, it's just a little old lady who isn't used to visitors trying to make us comfortable in the rain." Samantha pulled the door open and stepped into the parlor.
      Linda gulped and followed her.
      The room was softly lit by a flickering fire in the large hearth. Classic scrolled sofa's and old fashioned arm chairs were placed around the central rug close enough to the fire to share it's warmth as well as it's light. The woman was sitting in an arm chair facing the door. The firelight deepened the shadows in her wrinkles making her face seem almost a mask, and her glasses reflected as if they were two round mirrors where her eyes should be.
       "Sit and I'll pour the tea." She gestured to the sofa across from her and lifted the teapot from the side table next to her. "Not often we get visitors anymore in our little town. Used to have people dropping in on us all the time, but lately it's been almost downright lonely"
       As the girls sat she handed them both delicate cups and saucers filled with a hot liquid that smelled wonderful. They sat and sipped their tea politely while glancing around the room. It seemed to have dropped right out of another century. The slightly worn feel of the furniture gave the feeling that the furnishing were original. Samantha cleared her throat.
      "Thank you so much for your hospitality. We were actually on our way to a Bed and Breakfast that is supposed to be not far from here but we took a wrong turn I think. I'm Samantha and this is Linda. I'm sorry but we didn't catch your name?"
      "Oh I'm Miss Ashworth. Every one around here knows me. Family's been here for ages. This house was the first building in the town. Quite a nice little town we have here on Mockingbird Lane. Despite those riff-raff that built the house next door. Digging up my rose garden and howling at all hours. It simply is not done in polite society."
     The neighbors must have a dog, Linda thought.
      Now drink up that tea so you don't catch a chill from that rain. You poor girls are soaked through." As the girls dutifully sipped the tea on command, the grin sipped it's way up her face again.
      "This is really very good, what kind of tea is this?" Linda asked.
      "Why it's elderberry, deary. I make it myself. A very old family recipe." The little woman began to giggle softly to herself and rock in her chair. The giggle quickly grew in volume and the rocking increased in intesity.
      The last thing Linda saw before the world went black was Miss Ashworth laughing and rocking in her chair, the round lenses of her glasses reflecting the fire light like her eyes were windows into the flames of hades.

      Linda opened up her eyes and stared at the darkness. Wait, it had just been dark. She closed her eyes again and took stock.
      We were going to that Bed and Breakfast Samantha found out in the country. We took a wrong turn or something and we stopped to ask for directions. There was all those roses, and that lady. What was her name? Miss Ashworth, yeah. We had some tea, then what happened? And where is Samantha? 
      She opened her eyes and sat up on the bed. The musty smell of little used rooms filled her nose. As the soft coverlet that had been wrapped around her fell away she noticed something important. Her clothes were gone. She looked around the room for some clue as to where they had gone and noticed an old fashioned dress, in blue, similar to what Miss Ashworth had been wearing, laid out on a chair near the bed. The small lamp on the table next to the chair was the only source of light in the room and it seemed to indicate that the dress was intended for her. After a slightly more thorough search of the room failed to turn up her clothes, Linda quickly slid the dress on and buttoned it up.
      Once she was dressed the other questions reared their heads once again. What had happened to her, and where was Samantha?

Time for you to choose again! Leave a comment letting me know which choice you want-

Will Linda stay in her room and wait to see what happens?
Will Linda venture out of the room to find Samantha?

  You have till wed to tell me what is going to happen next!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Travel Log 10-4: The First Installment

This year I've decided to  throw an idea I've had for a while out there. I had such fun writing the serial I posted up here last Halloween that I wanted to do another story, but make it a little more interactive.
     When I was growing up I really loved the "choose your own adventure" books. I really enjoyed the idea of a story that would change every time I read it. It was like having 10 books in one, and I was all about that. So I thought I would bring that same idea to my Halloween story this year. So we will be trying out my first "choose your own haunting" Halloween tale together!
     So here we go, the first installment of-

                                                              "MOCKINGBIRD LANE"

     "What was that?"
     Linda glanced around the car uneasily as the thunder died away. Samantha was reclined in the passenger seat snoring softly. The swish swish of the wiper blades on the windshield created a soothing rhythm and Linda began to relax a little bit. The headlights of her compact blue sedan bounced off of tree trunks and bushes as she navigated their way along the deserted road, keeping a sharp eye out for woodland creatures making kamikaze dashes across the road.
      What had started as a light rain earlier in that day had become a down pour after the sun had set. Under regular circumstances she loved a nice rainy afternoon curled up with a book and a cup of tea on her comfortable couch at home. Driving down a deserted road, in the middle of nowhere, at night, with the only person for miles asleep next to her was not her idea of a fun evening.
     The thunder boomed.
      Oh yeah, and now there's thunder and lightning she thought. I am so not doing this alone. It was her idea anyway.
     She reached out and shook Samantha's leg until the red head opened her eyes and sat up.
     "We're there already?" She said as she stretched in the passenger seat.
      How did I let myself get talked into this? Linda thought.

Three days earlier.....
     "C'mon it will be fun, and you need to have some fun. Get out of this apartment." Samantha's blue eyes pleaded with Linda to give in to her oldest friend one more time. Ever since they were kids Samantha had been dreaming up adventures and somehow finding a way to get Linda to join in. Ever since Linda's husband had died the year before she had been trying to get Linda to go on a trip. Her newest installment of the let's get out of town argument was a trip to a country bed and breakfast that she had found an advertisement about. The pamphlet she had brought promised a weekend to remember.
     Linda shook her head, making her light brown bob swing. She didn't want a weekend to remember, she just wanted to stay in her comfortable little apartment. It was safer there, and comfortable. Why couldn't Samantha get that?
     " Uh-uh. It's too late in the year to make a trip out that way, and besides I have too much to do here." She fussed around the coffee table that Samantha was resting her feet on.
     "Look you've locked yourself up here ever since Allen died. It's time to get out, see the sunshine, hear the birds, smell some freakin' roses already. We're not victorian ladies. There is no forced mourning period. It's not like he was really worth all this devotion anyway. And you know I'll just keep bugging you until you go with me."
     Linda scowled at her. "That was a low blow. " She sighed. "Fine, if I agree to go on this ridiculous trip of yours will you quit hounding me?"
     Samantha jumped up with a cheer and hugged her.....

     And that's how she gets me every time. She just couldn't hold out against Samantha's sheer determination to help her 'get a life'.
    What is wrong with my life as it is. I like it.
     The subject of Linda's mental ire finished stretching and shook out her long hair.
     "That didn't take long. I told you it would be an easy trip"
      Thunder crashed louder than ever and the lightening threw the trees into stark relief.
      "No we're not there, but I can barely see two feet in front of the car. And that thunder is creeping me right out. This was your brain storm so now you can keep me company while I try to find that 'quant and picturesque lane' that's supposed to lead to this fantastic hideaway you found. Why you needed to do this during storm season I have no idea. I should be comfy at home right now." Patience had flown away with that last thunderclap.
      Samantha grabbed the map off of the dash and flicked on the overhead light.
     "The map says that we should be coming up to Bluebird Drive on the left in about 2 miles. So just make the next left and then it's a short two miles to the front door of the Valley View Inn. Simple." She tossed the map in the back seat and started to fiddle with the radio, looking for a station that would play in the storm.
     Linda made her turn at the next road she came to and began creeping down the narrow gravel road crowded by the trunks of trees, standing like dark sentinels in the storm. A flash of lightning illuminated the streetsign the girls had driven by without noticing. It read Mockingbird Lane.
     "See? Nothing to get worked up about. We'll be there in two more easy miles." Samantha grinned and poked Linda in the arm. "Scared of a little rain, huh? Think about how great you'll feel in that comfortable room you booked. A long, steaming bath will make you feel like a million bucks."
     Linda stewed a little bit in her annoyance as they bumped along. Her mood began to lift when she saw the glimmer of lights ahead as they rounded a bend. The gravel road abruptly turned into a smoother paved road as they left the trees.
     "How big was that bed and breakfast supposed to be?" Linda asked, a sudden sense of unease beginning in her stomach and she shot furtive glances at the buildings and houses lining the lane. They passed several quaint, multi-storied farmhouses, a general store, and what looked like an old livery stable.
    "Not this big. I think we may have taken a wrong turn."
     The road was lined with dark houses.  The girls looked around them and saw no house numbers or markers to show what road they were on. Linda pulled to a stop at the end of the road, in front of the only two houses that had any lights on at all. They sat on the crest of a slight hill, giving the impression that they floated above the other buildings.
      "This just about caps the night. It's raining, and we're lost in a strange little town, in the middle of nowhere, and there doesn't appear to be  anywhere still open to ask for directions. What are we going to do now?"
      "Oh lighten up a little. These two houses have their lights on, so lets go knock on a door and ask someone for directions." Samantha unbuckled her safety belt and jumped out of the car into the rain.
     "Hell." Linda unbuckled herself and followed Samantha. "Well ok miss adventure-which house is it going to be?"

  Do Samantha and Linda go to the three story Victorian house with the wrap around porch and antique rose garden and porch light glowing on the left?


   Do Samantha and Linda go to the two story colonial house with the trimmed hedge walkway and lit front window on the right?

    Just leave a comment with which one you vote for!
(you can find the second part of the story here)

Friday, October 1, 2010


As you can tell I'm excited that it's the first day of October, lol. SO many things  this month and I love it.It's even starting off on the right foot with thunder and lightning storms all day!
      With the merchandising frrenzies going the rest of the year, this is the one month that is really dedicated to fall. I love all the Halloween stuff that is out in the stores. I love the anticipation of Halloween and all the fun that comes in that with that. To quote the Pumpkin Song -"life's no fun without a good scare". That's what this month allows us to do. It allows us to revel in the dark. To let our dark sides free to revel, whether your dark side is a vampire or a fairy princess (hey- that much pink in one place is pretty scary). The monsters come out and broomstick rides aren't just fun they are mandatory.
     Considering how candy coated most of the year is this one month for horror and magik to reign is extra sweet to me. This is the time of year when I feel like a kid let loose in a candy emporium and no adults to supervise *insert manic grin*. When I was growing up my parents were not big on social interaction. I hardly ever got to hang out with kids my age, and pretty much lived inside my own head with my imagination. Halloween was the one time of year I got to let my imagination out of my head and play with it in real life without anyone looking at me like I was even weirder than they thought.
     So it's no wonder that this time of year imparts a sense of absolute childlike wonder in me. I feel comfortable and free and love every minute of it. So now the count down begins to the big day, but I'm going to have fun all month long and enjoy the journey that is October!
     And in that spirit I'll be starting my month long project tomorrow! Last year I did a serial writing project here on the blog and this year I'm going to do the same with a little twist! I'll be posting a choose your own adventure story for the first time this month and all of you will get to choose how the story is going to go! That will be interspersed with some how-to's on my favorite Halloween type crafts(with pics finally if everything goes right=). So it shall be a busy month for me and hopefully an entertaining one for you!