embroidery circle

Witchy Items for Your Altar

I share a very small room with my sister, and obviously don’t have much room for an altar. I use most of my space for my Hellenic shrines and altar. I keep my witchy stuff on my shared bedside table. Here is what I use, and how I store/display it. This is element based, but you can use it however you like.  

North (Earth)

  • Small Himalayan Rock Salt Lamp - This is a tool I use all the time. It detoxifies my room, and cleanses the space. I feel so much more at ease with it on, like it’s washing everything away!
  • Crystals - You might want to move these or switch them out depending on what spell you’re doing, as all energy contributes to the working, but while you’re in your room, or even while you’re away, you can leave these here to represent Earth. 
  • Salt - Little packets of salt work, or you can place a bowl with some salt in it on your altar. I use my rock salt lamp. 
  • Dirt - A literal baby jar of dirt works, or you can put a plant on your altar if it’s by a window. I have a succulent!
  • Earth Imagery - A mini globe would be pretty cool! Or even a little eraser or what not. Having an actual picture of the Earth would be amazing, especially if the clouds were visible, and maybe if it had the sun in the background. Then it could be all encompassing of the elements.
  • Herbs, Flowers, Plants, etc -  As with the crystals, you may want to change these out or put them away during spells, or switch them out. However, they would look really cool as you went with the seasons!
  •  Fossils - I think fossils are awesome Earth representations. They have been in the ground for a very long time! I used to have some really cool fossils I used to represent Earth on my altar.
  • Tree Slice - Have you ever seen those little wooden slices that come from a tree stump? The ones that definitely had huge roots? Those would be perfect to represent Earth! 

South (Fire)

  • Birthday Candles/Tea Lights - You can colour code! These are great for short workings, or even to call the elements. To make these stand up, place them in a bit of clay and let it harden. 
  • Matches -  Double whammy here-  light your candles and have a representation!
  • Ash - I used to have volcanic ash, which was perfect. It got spilled, but for the while that I had it, it was awesome. Collect ash from incense, a fire, etc, and use it (just wait for it to cool!!!)
  • Charcoal - I always thought charcoal looked kinda witchy. I think a dish of it would make a good rep.
  •  Charred Wood - If you have a bonfire, or just so happen to light a piece of wood on fire, you could let it cool and use it for your altar. 
  • Lamp - If you have a secret altar, a little lamp could be an inconspicuous representation for fire, as it does produce light and heat. 
  • Lantern - You can buy super cute mini lanterns at the Dollar Store. I love them, but haven’t gotten one yet. I think they would be fun to use for Fire.  

West (Water) 

  • Glass of Water - You can use whatever type of water you’d like; moon water, rose water, purified water, gem elixir; take your pick!  Just make sure it doesn’t get moldy and stay moldy. Change it out each day/week. 
  • Sea Shells - You can get these in super small sizes! Or, you can get them big and bulky. 
  • Sea Glass - These little stone-like fragments are so pretty! They look just like crystals, and can be found on the beach or in the store!
  • Sea Salt -  Sea Salt could work to represent Water, especially if you pour it into a seashell or add in sea glass to it. It could be like a little potpourri of water related objects!
  • Rain Cloud - You can create clouds out of things like stuffing for toys, cotton balls, and sometimes led lights. It could be a fun project, or you can buy one of them off of etsy.  
  • Mermaid Image - I have a mermaid book mark made of metal, and it sits with my other water-related objects. I feel like it adds that feel of majesty to my water representation. 
  • Drift Wood - This is so pretty! The pieces are smooth, have a fun shape, and definitely capture the essence of water!
  • Sand - If you go to a beach, collect some sand, and place it somewhere on your altar! Be sure to put it in a bowl, though, because it is hard to clean up. 
  • Sea Weed - You can hang this somewhere, or put it directly on your altar. Either way, it looks great.
  • Coral - If you find some coral, you can place it on your altar. It looks so neat!
  • Starfishes/Sand Dollars/etc. - These are a little harder to find on the beach, but if you do, place them on your altar. 

East (Air)

  • Wind Chimes - These add a little decoration to your altar, as well as give you an air representaiton. You can even listen for the tinkling of bells to see if any fae are around!
  • Bells - If you ring a bell, it disperses stagnant energy, and helps to cleanse a space. Having one on your altar is a great way to keep it fresh!
  • Feathers - This is a pretty obvious one, an oldie but a goodie. If you have some feathers, you can use them, but make sure there are no laws against collecting them in your area. Alternatively, you can use fake ones from a craft store. 
  • Empty Glass or Bottle - Air is all around us. Use that to your advantage! 
  • Dandelion Puff - This is what I immediately think of when I picture the wind. You can collect some puffs and put them in a glass. 
  • Bird’s Nest (fake) - You can buy or make a fake bird’s nest. They look pretty real, and have this awesome rustic naturey vibe to them!
  • Leaves - They were once high in the sky! Collect them during the fal season or after a storm. 
  • Incense - Another well-known one. You can burn this and use the smoke. 
  • Tornado Making Jar - You know those little jars that you can shake up, and they make a tornado? Those would be a fun water-air duo!

Other: 

  • Small Jewelry Box - This can store crystals, herbs, essential oils, etc. I use to use mine to cleanse my crystals becuase it played music!
  • Multi Colour Light-Up Candle - I found mine at Five Below! It lights up in tons of different colours, but is pretty large. However, it takes up a lot less room than a bunch of different coloured candles.
  • Your Wand - Having your wand on your altar makes it a sacred, special tool. It will be charged by the witchy items you have there, and will feel natural inn the environment. 
  • A Mini Besom or Real Besom (Broom) - I use a paintbrush as a mini besom, as I can’t have real one. However, it would be nice if I did, and I’d keep it near my altar!
  • Your Grimoire/Spellbook/BOS/etc - If you aren’t hiding it, you could keep it on your altar! 
  • A  Fire-Safe Dish or Cauldron - If you water scry, burn things, or just like to include your cauldron in your spells, you can keep it on your altar. 
  • Incense Tray - Incense can’t be burned without somewhere to place it. Keep your incense holder handy!
  • Altar Cloth - This ties everything together! It can be switched out for sabbats/festivals/seasons/spells. 
  • Chalice - I’m not Wiccan, but I use the chalice in my workings every once in a while, usually for water-related magic. You can get these beautiful metal ones at antique stores, or regular old wine glasses at the dollar store!
  • Mortar and Pestle - For practical use and an awesome vibe! You can keep this near your herbs.
  • Coloured/Enchanted Salts - They display beautifully,and are really good to have on hand.  
  • Spirit Vessels - These can go in their own little corner if you like. They could also be the center of your altar, especially if you work mainly with spirits.  
  • Tarot/Other Cartomancy Cards - Find a nook for your cards to be kept safe and clean. They will be charged by the other objects all around it, which makes it an awesome idea to have on your altar. 
  • Scrying Mirror - Make this the main attraction, or perhaps just a piece of the puzzle. If you have an ornate mirror, it could be a very drawing part of your altar! 
  • Crystal Ball - Like the scrying mirror, it could be a background piece or the focal point. 
  • Runes - If you cast runes, you can keep your bag or box of them on or near your altar. 
  • Other Divination Tools - You cans store these, or just la them throughout your altar. Whatever you choose, having your tools close by will be awesome! 
  • Twig Shapes - You can make sigils out of twigs and hot glue! Add a ribbon or piece of twin in the shape of a loop, and you can hang them above your altar as decoration and as a little energy booster!
  • Circle (Embroidery Hoop) - I know most people use salt to cast circles, but I actually use an embroidery hoop. I cast one around myself, and one around the items I am working with (ex: what’s in the hoop).
  • Knife - If you use a ritual or practical knife in your workings, it’s good to have on hand. I can’t have one, but I like my wand better anyway, personally. 
  • Fae Garden - You’ll have to have plenty of sunlight near your altar for this one, but it will definitely be fun to have some Fae living on your altar!
  • Spell Supplies - Random bits and bobs, like egshells and ribbons, can be kept on your altar as well. 

So I think I have the interlace worked out to make this nearly connect up right? It takes 5 circles for the core, 7 for the structure of a repeat to show, and they’re laced as a four-ring around the center and a three-ring (past, present, future) along what’s going to be the repeat axis. (About half gets chopped off the non repeat axis to make the fill but I had to have the whole circle in place to work out the lacing.) Got started on the void patterning, looked at the clock, said oh bugger there is work to be done tomorrow…. anyway, progress towards a literal linear circle embroidery pattern for @deadcatwithaflamethrower and @jabberwockypie? More in a couple days? :)

Planes and Proposals

((A collaboration with @ask-aph-fruk I hope you like it! She’ll basically be illustrating this fic!))

A soft, gentle light gently cascaded into the living room with a sort of grace that only someone who was honestly cruel could hate. And even through his rather bitter and tough skin, Arthur wasn’t quite as cruel as that.

A sheet of silk was weaved tightly into a wooden embroidery circle as Arthur poked and pulled his needle with such precision as the Englishman was. The scene being stitched into the sheet of delicate fabric was a quaint, homey one that brought the thought of camping to his mind, with a large mountain bottomed by a bright blue lake with a shore of trees.

Arthur’s eyes did not faulter, even when he heard rushed footsteps racing down the stairs of his home.

“A-Angleterre,” Francis panted, and his chest heaved with the distress of trying to catch his breath. “I a-am sorry that I have to leave so soon from our visit here, but my boss has called me back to France on an emergency..”

Only now did Arthur’s eyes lift from his project. He would never really admit it, but he was slightly saddened by France’s words. However, with his pride, he shrugged off the rather silly emotion with a scoff. “Hmph. Very well then, it’s not like I expected anything more from you.”

The Frenchman straightened up his build, and looked at England. “It is not like I chose to do this, you know? I’m sorry, lapin, and I promise to make it to you somehow.”

“You can make it up to me by leaving.” Arthur rolled his eyes, and continued his work. Francis had to force down the grin that was rising in his throat, and he spoke.

“…I’m afraid you’ve forgotten that you’re my means of transportation when I’m here in London.”

Arthur paused, and let out a rather annoyed sigh as he stuck his needle twice through the tight fabric to keep it secure, and slipped the piece back into his threadbox. “Very well, then.” Arthur straightened out the few wrinkles in the pistachio-colored sweater he wore, standing up.

The car ride to the airport was rather silent, and Francis did his best to speak without smiling. Arthur simply drove, ignoring most of France’s comments, before arriving at the airport with him. “Have a nice trip.”

France’s face turned into a look of falsified sadness, and offence. “Aren’t you going to watch my plane take off, lapin?”

Arthur sighed, and let his head fall forward onto the steering wheel, before once again repeating his earlier statement; “Very well, then.”

The lobby of the airport was busy, as most airports were. Arthur sat on one of the couches after buying himself a bottle of water, and he watched France at the reception desk to recieve his tickets and be passed onto safety checks.

England sighed, now sitting in silence. He didn’t know why he was still sitting there, frankly. France wouldn’t notice if he left. But there was a feeling somewhere within his gut, that just told him to sit.

He soon found himself chatting with people. Some were annoyed, and some were emotional. He remembers one particular woman who simply sat and cried on his shoulder, despite his protest, because her son had departed to his new home in France.

After his short, yet somewhat dandy conversations with these strangely nosy strangers had ended, England was bored enough to watch the small security screen that showed the small tunnel in which people boarded the plane.

Though, something was different. Francis was walking backwards, and several people around him were carrying signs by their sides. On the outside of the tunnel, another camera followed France onto the asphalt of the landing strip, along with the sign holders.

Arthur watched curiously, as Francis stood in front of these people, as they lined up side by side behind him. The first lifted the sign. And then the second. And then the third. And finally, the last.

And the message was clear.

“Will you marry me?”

Every inch of England’s body was immediately thrown into paralysis, and he found his eyes tearing up a bit as he stared in awe at the screen. When he felt hands on his shoulders, he wiped the building tears furiously away, forcing his vision away from the screen.

He paced the lobby furiously as people congratulated him. But there was one question on Arthur’s mind; How would he give the other his answer?

The resolution came when he heard a familiar voice, and all at once, emotions flooded him one by one. He was angry, he was sad, he was shocked. But soon those emotions were bubbled over by elation, (with a sassy side of salty pride), and he simply nodded quickly in Francis’ direction.

Francis had accepted the small “Congrats!” or “Have a nice marriage!“s, from the strangers and staff in the lobby, on his way back out to Arthur’s car. And, boy, as soon as they were in the car, it was the waterworks.

Arthur leaned against Francis, sniffling and glaring up at him. "H-How dare you diminish me t-to tears in public..! You c-cheeky bastard..!”

France only laughed in response, and his fingers graced England’s hair. “You know, lapin, even if you had said no..”

Arthur looked up in curiousity, sniffling. “Mm..?”

Francis slowly grinned, looking down at him. “Your reaction was perfect~”

“Oh shut it! You’re a right pillock!” Arthur huffed, which lead to more laughter, and tickling, and kisses, and, thankfully, a happy marriage.

A happy marriage that blossomed from war and decay, into an airport induced proposal.

3

CIRCULAR DIAGRAMS / pencil and oil on paper, 44 x 50 cm, 2015.

In my youth at the school, certain lessons were inevitably boring. When the distraction peered, inadvertently I began to scribble the pages of the books, filling with drawings their blank borders. The hour of history, or philosophy, gave easy ideas: I copied the portraits of philosophers illustrating the beginning of each chapter in the textbook. The math class gave beautiful diagrams: their geometries structured the space, providing backgrounds to fill with decorations, figures, pictures. Maybe it was the insight that those same geometry hid himself a sort of aesthetics, an inexplicable and axiomatic beauty, like when we are aware of it in front of nature, without being able to give it an explanation. This sort of drawings make me think of a kind of prayer, a repetitive but pleasant action, like the work of an embroiderer, like a spider weaving its web.

So, I’ve been working on this embroidery, and even though it’s from a Game of Thrones cosplay, I keep having Sandry, from Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books, feels. It’s my first time doing embroidery, so perhaps that’s why. I dunno.

I’ve always empathized more with Tris than with any of the rest of the four (I’m bookish, socially awkard, wear glasses, and have a temper that’s prone to lashing out even at people I like), so the sense of Sandry that has pervaded this current costuming project is new. But, anyway, the dragon scale smocking, and the embroidery like pebbled dragon skin, it gave me the idea that maybe Sandry would work such things into clothing for her foster siblings, to enact magical protections and the like. A sort of cloth armor, resistant to fires and the slash of a blade, even as dragon hide must surely be. I know she does similar stuff (protective spells woven into the cloth, etc), but how much cooler would they all look, decked out in scale-work like this?

I dunno, just a thought I had. ^____^

Cool ways to display your photos!

We all know how to hang our photos in frames but what about getting inventive and making your photos a work of art! Here’s a few ways to show off your collection creatively!

Pin your photos on a piece of recycled timber resting up against a blank wall.

Layer your photos and create a cute circle. 

Embroidery hoops are the perfect frame for your photos 

Place your photos inside glass jars and create a cluster on your table.

Attach your photos to wooden coat hangers and display on a blank wall.

Attach wire to three pieces of wood and hang your photos from pegs for a cute clothes line effect.

Attach your photos to rocks using wire display in a cluster at different heights.

Old bottles are perfect for displaying your vintage photos display in a row on your mantle.

Create a photo Eiffel tower, Cute idea for teenagers, and uni students.

So there you have it a few inventive ways to display your photos around your home.

Happy Creating!

Photo Credit: www.pinterest.com

It may not have turned out quite as I hoped, but I’m super pleased with it anyway. (Also I’m just glad that, after starting this project just over four years ago, it’s finally finished. Shh, I have motivation issues.)

Anyway, this was done entirely by hand: the embroidery, sewing the back and front together, and even the pattern. I’m not sure I’ll ever try to make another one. So much work lol. But if I were to make another one, at least I’ve learned a few things from this one.