Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain!

First of all, my thoughts, heart, and prayers are with every single person who was affected by Superstorm Sandy and her aftermath. This massive storm affected family in Virginia all the way up to here and beyond.

I apologize for not getting the BFTE eyeshadow swatches posted yesterday. I completely forgot!

Secondly, I hope that you all who celebrate have a wonderful Halloween and/or Samhain! It's another grey, chill day here, but that's not going to stop me from anything! :)

Samhain's Sirens took a break for the past couple of days, not only to batten down the hatches from Sandy, but to focus their energies on all of those affected by the storm. They're catching up today with two giveaways, both of which I'm sharing here!

The first giveaway I'm sharing is a beautiful, hand-crafted handfasting cord from Confessions of a Modern Witch.

Trevor and I have been married for nearly four years, but our wedding was a very simple, intimate civil event where only a few of our friends and some of Trevor's family could attend as it was a weekday morning. We had intended upon having a bigger, more festive outdoor event in the spring, but that never happened. I had to leave Canada then. I didn't get back here until December 2010, we didn't have much money through 2011, and we'd planned for this past spring but then Trevor was fired from his job!! By the time he secured a new job in July, we had debt to pay off, and none of my family in Virginia could come. And my mother has been back and forth from the hospital to the rehab centre after various complications since having triple-bypass surgery.

So we're shooting for spring 2013 as our celebration date. We were going to do something like have a unity candle, but I think a handfasting would further cement our relationship and vows toward one another. I love the bright, rich colours in this cord. Our celebration will also be full of vivid colours :)

You can check out more of Sosanna's gorgeous products over at her Facebook page, Sosanna's Closet.

The second giveaway is a $35 gift certificate to East Coast Craft & Curio, owned by a fabulous Canadian lady by the name of Tess. I think that if I won this, I would snag this: Celestial Bangle Bracelet.

Remember, each entry in these giveaways is good for an entry into the Grand Prize Giveaway, worth over $400!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dios de los Muertos and Another Samhain's Sirens Giveaway!

Today is the day that Hurricane Sandy is going to hit us. Tonight, actually. The past few days have been very grey and rainy, and they will continue to be through Thursday. I was hoping for a clear night tonight so I could charge my crystals under a full moon, but no such luck. Instead, we will have 60-100km/h winds that will tear all the remaining leaves off the trees and knock things around. I hope that everyone in the path of this storm is staying safe.

It's hard to believe that Halloween/Samhain is in just two days. And then Dios de los Muertos. This is my first time celebrating both Samhain and Dios de los Muertos. Both hold great importance to me, and here's what I will be doing to honour them.

On Samhain, I will be making a small altar on our antique sideboard. It will include a picture of my father, incense to guide him home, flowers to remind us how fragile life is, and a glass of water to represent purity and to satisfy his thirst. Although, as my dad owned a liquor store for many years, I wonder if a good shot of tequila would be better suited! I will also include a candle to light his way and to represent faith and hope. I will be praying there and remembering him, burning notes and even speaking to him, as I am wont to do, in the hopes that he hears me. I feel his presence nearly all the time, and while this could be my wishful imagination, I believe that his presence will be that much stronger and easier to communicate to when the veil is thinnest.

I will be using Dios de los Muertos, chiefly a Spanish holiday full of festivity and respect for the dead, as a sort of guideline for my celebration. It takes place November 1st and 2nd to coincide with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Soul’s Day.

I also love sugar skulls, which began as a sweet vividly decorated in spiderwebs, flowers, hearts or swirls, designed as altar decor. Over the years, they have evolved into something much more, and nowadays are more likely to be seen as art rather than sweets. The image of the sugar skull has really become a representation of the Day of the Dead. I love face paint and makeup looks where people's faces are beautifully decked out as festive sugar skulls. I think it's a beautiful thing to accept death, to respect it and see it full of colourful life.

Day of the Dead Catrina with Roses glicee print by Greg Colligan

Also, on Samhain, I will be doing a version of an animal-honouring rite. :)

I'm sharing another Samhain's Sirens giveaway with you guys today! It comes from Deb Garnett of Twysted Thystle, a small herbal and aromatherapy company specializing in wildcrafted and homegrown herbs. This set includes 1 Cinnamon Skin Sugar Scrub, 1 Cinnamon Skin Body Oil, and 1 Cinnamon Lip Balm.

Check out the awesome artwork, all hand-drawn by one of the Twysted Thystle ladies!

I was looking around their site, and it's DEFINITELY worth checking out. I would love to have some of their loose teas, especially Chick Weeds PMS Relief and Frostbyte!

That's all for today :) I still have those Beauty from the Earth mineral eyeshadow swatches to show you, so hopefully I will be posting that tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A New Family Addition!

Today is a very special day for my entire family. We are welcoming our newest little one, Patrick Shane Morris, into the world during one of my favourite months of the year.

And here he is with the proud mother, my biological sister:

I totally had to brag!! And he looks just like his big brother Gage :) Gage was the last one to be born in a string of nephews and nieces, and that was 2007. My niece Kaidyn Elizabeth is due on Samhain, how awesome is that?

Yep, I am one proud auntie right now.

Now I'm off to the Halloween party at our friends' place! Pictures to come tomorrow!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My altar, my tiny besom, & thoughts on my spirituality.

Look what arrived in the mail on Friday! My winning prize from Elegantly Enchanting flew in! I had such a busy weekend and week that I never found time to post about this, and I wanted my little lovely to settle into home on my altar.

It's kind of funny. I've always been a believer in good and bad energies that can be transmitted from people to things and back again, and the good vibes coming from this mini besom were just awesome! I've never felt anything like that before. It's like I could sense how much love and passion goes into Eliora's creations :)

Here it is in comparison to my hand. As stated on Elegantly Enchanting, not only are these tiny besoms decorative, but they are also real altar tools and may be consecrated for ritual use.

Check out the pattern the wrapped ribbons make! The ribbons are tied in three knots (Rule of Three). And I love the little charm. Eliora's got a mini besom for almost every Sabbat, all of them fabulously themed to their respective seasons. I NEED to get them all! :)




I showed you the awesome elemental-themed altar set before, which unfortunately doesn't ship to Canada. Sometimes I really miss living in the US! :) Eliora's got some really gorgeous athames too. I would love to have this one:

Pink and Silver Hearts Athame

Here's a look at my altar. This is where I pray, meditate, banish negativity, and more. I'm just a newborn in my spiritual journey. I'm sure this doesn't look like a classic altar, but every piece is there because I felt drawn to it esthetically or soulfully.

The fabric I bought at Value Village because the colours really drew me in and seemed joyous to me. There are candles in white, black, red, dark blue, light blue, and pink. The black candle is a taper and is on the far right, out of frame.

The little glow-in-the-dark celestial things are sitting there awaiting being stuck to the wall above :)

The soft satin bag gently carries all the crystals I have acquired here (as most of mine I forgot to pack in my suitcase when I flew back here, so they're still in Virginia!), and they have been cleansed in fresh clean soil and will be charged under the full moon on the 29th.

The branch and the little leaf tart are part of autumn and nature, the former of which I love and the latter of which I can't go a day without.

The tiny green cabinet I picked up at our cat rescue's yard sale last month. It has a shelf inside, and I'm using it to place special trinkets or crystals in. Right now there are four very wee glass vials with cork lids in there, just waiting to be filled with just about anything. Same thing with the neat brown glass bottle to the left, beside my blue celestial candle holder!

My leatherbound journal with cotton paper is for writing down inspiration, prayers, or just about anything. The little butterfly signifies freedom and positive change, and I have my box of medicine balls there as well. There's my besom, sage incense for cleansing, little affirmations that I had printed out from Kind Over Matter. There's the wee wooden drawers to the right that I painted in dark purple and black and with a full moon and lavender-leafed tree.

And yes, there is my "Hope" cross.

I'm sure that I will get a lot of flack through my spiritual journey for crossing two entirely different worlds that have despised one another for endless centuries. Christianity and Paganism are really not remotely compatible, and is a Christian-Pagan even a legit position of faith? I'm sure that many Christians will tell me I'm going to hell, and I'm sure that many folks of the old religions will tell me that I'm sullying Paganism. I'm sure that both sides will tell me that I'm a phony. And that's okay. I'm doing this because it's what feels right at this time. Not because Paganism is "cool" or "trendy" to me. In my heart and my soul, it's what I feel is right for me.

Right now, I mainly describe myself as a Christian Spiritualist who participates in the Unity and Brethren of Christ fellowships, which are very simple and are not devoted to religion, but faith and spirituality. And Unity is very special in its own right and is what inspired me to step onto this path without fear.

And now, so that this whole post isn't about a subject that makes a lot of folks uncomfortable, here are some autumn photos from the past couple of days! :)

The last two pictures were taken on Tuesday, which was a very rainy, chilly day. I was walking back from my doctor's office when I decided to go to Canadian Tire. My MIL had passed through there recently and said the Christmas stuff was starting to go up, so I thought I'd peep in.



LOL. That's all for now! I've got some Beauty from the Earth eyeshadows to swatch for you makeup lovers, and more Samhain's Sirens giveaways to share! I can't believe Hallowe'en is in less than a week!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Samhain's Sirens giveaways (and I won one!!!!)

Silly Blogger would NOT let me post yesterday, no matter what I did! Argh! So I missed blogging about the giveaway that ended last night on Samhain's Sirens, but it's okay, because I get to share another one this day :)

I wanted to share some neat haunted places across southern Ontario. I would love to visit them some day!

Haunted Places, including the Ancaster Pet Cemetery, Blue Ghost Tunnel, Dundas Elementary, and Magnetic Hill

I can't forget about a more local place that seems to be haunted. Thornhill's own Heintzman House!

Our friend Christine has managed the house for the last twenty-odd years, and she has lots of stories! I worked there to help her out last winter, and let me tell you, that big old gorgeous house is a little creepy when you're in it by yourself! I always felt as if there were eyes on me, but not necessarily unhappy ones :)

Do you have any legendary haunted places where you live? What are they? Have you ever visited them?

- - -

The latest Samhain's Sirens giveaways I'm blogging about are both courtesy of Sabrina from The Ink Witch. She is giving away these fantastic witchy prints:

October 9th Giveaway

October 10th Giveaway

Sabrina does tons of other gorgeous, Old World style drawings that are full of detail and passion. She also has coloured work that is truly fabulous. I am really inspired by her!

And HOLY COW, you guys, I won the last giveaway I blogged about!!! Remember this?

Mini Altar Besom/Broom from Elegantly Enchanting

I'm so excited! I have an altar-type spot set up for meditation, prayer, inspiration and serenity. It's covered by a beautiful piece of orange Indian fabric that I picked up from Value Village last weekend, so my little besom will match perfectly :)

What I would really love to own is this:

Complete Elemental Altar Set

But since I'm not truly Wiccan or Pagan, I feel it would be disrespectful to the old religions if I were to own and use these fantastic pieces. Maybe it's disrespectful of me to own my tiny besom or have an altar. But it's part of me, part of who I am. I'm still on this winding path of faith and spirituality, and I always will be. Right now I think it's safe to say that I consider myself a Christian Pagan, which just sounds like one big contradiction, doesn't it? :)

That's it for today, if Blogger will be so kind as to let me post. If my bruised tailbone cooperates, I may go on a little nature walk and revel in autumn's beauty this afternoon. There's nothing quite as rejuvenating and inspiring!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving in Canada

What do I have to be thankful for this year?


I want to dedicate this post to all the fabulous things that make up my sweet maple life. Some things are little, and some are big; but they're all beautiful to me and things that I am thankful for.

...The way the wind whispers in the trees.
...How leaves twist upside down to show silver undersides when a storm approaches.
...Watching lightning from a long ways off.
...Hot tea and a cozy blanket on a chilly evening.
...My continuing, emerging awareness of myself and the universe.
...Being close enough to the city to not really have to drive anywhere, but living just outside all the noise.
...The privilege of being a foster cat mama.
...Google Maps.
...The smell of rain.
...The smell of impending snow.
...My creativity that I can safely and surely let loose whenever I choose.
...The blue glow of the full winter moon.
...Being able to get out of the 'urbs sometimes and visit Ontario's fresh, green, peaceful countrysides.
...Having adventures. Some of them aren't good when they happen, but they make amazing stories afterward!
...Seeing things and places that I've never seen before.
...Continuing to look and feel like a kid full of wonder.
...My husband finding a good full-time job that he LIKES.
...Having cats who are excited and glad when I come home.
...Having a husband willing to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner!!!
...Getting my butt into gear to lose weight and live a healthier life.
...Our apartment: not only a shelter, but a cozy, inexpensive home full of heart and laughter.
...Feeling capable and more like a woman.
...Coming into my abundant self.
...The incredible beauty of Ontario. I hope to see even more and explore further next year!
...My husband, my friends, my family.
...That we're living in a perfect spot, weather-wise!
...Being able to walk out our door and decide if I want to go to the city or go to nature, and have both options at my fingertips.
...Living in Canada.

...That my mom survived open heart surgery. She's struggling badly right now, especially with her mental health, but she's such a strong woman.

And the beauty of places like this:

Cheltenham's Badlands, northwest of here. We went there on a Thanksgiving drive and to see the vibrant fall colours. :)

Then we came home to an amazing, delicious turkey dinner made by my husband!!

So Happy Thanksgiving, Canada. I had a wonderful day, and I hope you all did as well. Tomorrow I'm going to share another Samhain's Sirens giveaway and show you some of the many haunted locations in Ontario that I'd love to go to one day!

Friday, October 5, 2012

What Autumn is to Me

Today's Samhain's Sirens post features a blog by I'm Not Hannah, and I ask that all of you go over there and read it! It's so beautifully written, a true analogy of fall!

I'm inspired to make a little list of things I love about autumn, and what this season means to me.

-Everything is bursting with colour, scent, cosiness, and a general sense of impending-holiday-business. Everything feels so festive and glorious. In her last wakeful days, Nature adorns herself in riches, from amethyst and garnet jewel-like berries, to gold and crimson and copper headdresses and robes, to ripe and delicious vegetables and grains. As Nature dies into another dark, cold, barren and white winter, she puts on a grand show for everyone to enjoy and love before her passing.

-The beauty and bounty that we are presented with this season gives me an endless supply of creative energy that is poured into drawing, writing, digital scrapbooking, jewellery-making, and my own personal style. I think it's safe to say that I feel happiest at this time of year, which reflects onto every aspect of my life. My depression lifts; a black iron veil that lets me see into lovely everyday happiness.

-The days are much cooler and lack the oppressive humidity that late spring and summer are notorious for. I can take long walks without piling on excess amounts of sunscreen or suffering mild heat exhaustion. I don't sweat myself to death, unless I'm walking for cardio, and then I welcome the sweat! I can wear layers, jewel colours, and let my inner vibrancy bloom. I love these temperate days, especially for going to see the pretty foliage! And I don't know about you, but I love being able to go out without a smog advisory being in place!

-Because the nights are colder, the blankets are thicker, the pyjama pants and socks warmer, and the tea and lattes hotter. Cosiness increases, and snuggling in bed or on the couch is an even more wonderful thing than usual, especially under soft fleece blankets!

-The veil between the worlds is quickly thinning this month. I find myself thinking about my Dad more, and quietly talking to him out loud when I'm home alone or on a solitary nature walk. I tell him all the things I wished I had told him when he was still alive. I can only hope that his soul hears and sees me somehow, and it seems I can feel his warmth on the blowing breezes that carry twirling golden leaves that stick in my hair and fall at my feet. I always think back to the evening walks he and I would take in the spring and summer, in those precious years before his massive stroke. It is as though I can feel him walking beside me again.

-This is the season where many of us sit down with friends and family and give thanks for everything that we have. I believe that we should be doing this every day, not just one out of three-hundred-and-sixty-five. I do my best to find five things to be thankful for every day, even putting a positive spin on otherwise unpleasant days (I'm down with a cold? I am thankful that I am otherwise healthy enough to only experience mild colds once or twice a year). But for me, Thanksgiving is a yearly ritual of culminating the entire years's gratitudes and simple joys, and preparing for a whole new year of gratefulness. It's a feast ritual, a prayer ritual, a nature ritual. I place my bare hands on the still-warm earth and give thanks for having this awareness, this utter joy at being alive despite severe mental health issues.

-Pumpkin spice lattes, whether from Starbucks or from this recipe that I tried tonight. That is all.

-Being able to get fresh air into the house while pumpkin bread is baking? Yeah, that's the good stuff.

- - -

To close this entry: if you're a witchy gal or have a special witch in your life, don't forget to check out today's Samhain's Sirens giveaway, too! We have a festive besom/broom for your altar by Elegantly Enchanting.

Cute, huh?? Get your entries in, folks! This would make a great gift :)

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends! If you're in Canada, happy Thanksgiving weekend!! May your bellies and your hearts be full and your life full of gladness.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I love October!

October is definitely my favourite month (next to December). The fall colours are brilliant and beautiful, there's pumpkin spice lattes to warm up your hands and belly and cozy fingerless gloves and cute boots to wear. Creative inspiration flies high on tepid days and chilly nights. I have Canadian Thanksgiving to prepare for as well as Hallowe'en. I dance in fallen leaves and gentle rains, wear cozy slippers, and love nothing more than to go on nature walks. October is glorious.

So I was pretty excited when I found the Samhain's Sirens blog, which is devoted to all things Hallowe'en and magick. From the 1st to the 31st, there's a daily blog post featuring different craft ideas, recipes, giveaways, songs, and magickal things. This is, truly, a blog that speaks to me! :)

Samhain Sirens
We're on day 3 of the blog, and today Jen from Rue and Hyssop talks about herbs and shares a giveaway from her Etsy store, Three Cats and a Broom. She's giving away one of her amazing Herbal Home Cleansing sets, which includes:

~ 1 package of her Smudge Mix
~ 1 bottle of her "Florida Water"
~ 1 Sweetgrass braid
~ 1 bottle of her "Prosperity" spray created with hand-picked herbs and resins that are associated with prosperity, luck and money.

I'll do my best to share each day's Samhain giveaways here! When I post about them, I have a chance of winning them! :)

Also, it's only 27 days until Hallowe'en!!! What are you planning to do for this mystical day?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twenty Views of Niagara Falls

A random Saturday adventure turned into a trip to Niagara. I hadn't been there since November 2008, and knowing that I didn't have a risky border hop to stress about was so wonderful!