Pagan Wings

Hey, Guess What?

You’ll never guess, so i’ll just tell you.  =)

I’ve moved! Come see my new blog at PaganWings.Wordpress.com.

Many Thanks,

~Rose

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SOCKS!

Because I gave my word I’d post about this project, here it is.

I decided earlier on to make a lot of my presents this year as they have a deeper meaning for me [plus I’m on a student budget]. I saw this little critter on A More Green & Simple Life and knew I just HAD to have one. So, I found some old socks, got out the two sewing kits we have and got to work:

It took four attempts to get the ears right, but I’ve finally conquered that.

Changed the eyes too…

My two little ‘uns – Roger and Boris (who shall be given to Yana in Spring).

I’ve two more to make and then I just have to finish making my mum’s bookmark, then I am done!

~Rose

Closing

So, it’s the final day; the end of my first autumn term of Second-Year University Courses. I thought now was a good time to update on my University experience.

Challenges Undertaken:

  • 5-a-day-for-14-days

And for a week after I did this without thinking twice about it! 5/5

  • Daily Meditation

Find weekly meditation easier to feel effects of now I do it each evening too (four weeks of daily practise and counting). 4/5

  • Daily Physiotherapy

Mixed results here; but I agree doing any form of exercise daily is good. 4/5

  • No chocolate [3 days]

No real difference noticed except by day 3 it was actually EASY to do [but hard as HELL on day 2]… Only ate it day 4 to celebrate anniversary with husband and forgot to get back into it. 3/5

General Health Lessons Learnt:

  • Use a MUG for ALL drinks – instead of PLASTIC cups [water actually DOES taste different]
  • Rice isn’t THAT hard to cook; not worth microwaving
  • Pasta Bake, Frozen vegetables and Potatoes CAN be re-heated in a microwave
  • Some days soup and toast really is the healthiest/best option
  • Fresh fruit is surprisingly easy to consume
  • Missing my daily iron tablet DOES have an effect
  • Five-a-day is EASIER with Fresh vegetables than frozen
    • Because I bother to cook; I get a variety: That bag of beans/peas/sweetcorn/carrots are getting on my nerves now.
  • Sometimes cucumber tastes bad no matter what price you pay [time of year maybe?]
  • I do CHOOSE healthy food sometimes
    • When I’m aware that the junk will still be there after a healthy meal; I feel no pressure to eat it now and often don’t have it after the healthy option in the end. Knowing I can eat junk whenever I want means I eat less of it.
  • Even healthy habits are hard to break; so make them.
    • Kept getting at least 4-a-day from habit.
  • There’s no such thing as “too many leftovers”
  • I never get sick of tea, so need to learn to limit it
    • Been having up to 26 cups on some days! This brings our energy/water bill up due to toilet trips thus MUST cut down.
  • Eating apple cores/the dry end of a cucumber won’t kill you
    • I was brought up with crusts cut off my bread, apples already cored and only the smoothest breast of chicken… I now find it VERY difficult to eat certain foods and am deliberately pushing myself to eat a bit more of the apple/the exposed to air end of a cucumber that’s been freshly cut/food I drop on the counter (if raw – just a rinse and cooking it will kill the germs)
  • Being too clean harms my skin
    • Found this with my ears and now with my hands too.
  • How to measure dry foods
    • Place raw portions of rice/pasta/vegetables to ½ fill your plate/bowl (water will increase it’s size)
  • Canned sweetcorn beats frozen
  • Breaded Chicken Breast tastes nicer than chicken nuggets; but turkey dinosaurs still beat turkey mince
  • Trying to be simple/healthy/clean/environmentally-friendly in a house with students is difficult!

Speaking of the environment,  I need to update you on my Green Goals for 2009: and plan some goals for 2010.

So, let’s begin.

Halloween Intentions:

Daily Spiritual Practise [or at least weekly] –ticks-
* 30,000 words by 30 November –ticks-
* Blog Weekly –ticks-
* Ritual for each festival  –In Progress-
* Cut down on junk food
* Keep taking 5-a-day -In Progress-
* Some for of weekly movement [dance, free-weights ]  -Bellydance, Hillwalking & Nia tried-

GREEN GOALS:

The enboldened are completed, the italic in process.

In 2009:

* Cook more from scratch
* Eat more fruit and vegetables
* Increase my hand washing load as it dries on my radiator.
* Continue to recycle [re-use spare cardboard box to house it all between emptying].
* Use my re-useable bags more often.
* In the summer I want to grow some herbs

* Keep my radiator off at certain times/wear more clothes.

* Knit myself a scarf.
* Find a fitness routine and STICK TO IT.
* Use the Lemon Bus – this is an amazing phenomena. It’s CHEAPER if you want more than a one-way bus trip and runs on chip fat.
* Donate bric-a-brac and clothes to charities twice.
* Be diligent about electric and water usage – bottle/use cooked water in tea.
* MAKE SOME SMOOTHIES (or ANY food) with my whizzer.
* Keep room organised/clean/tidy. (never going to happen but I still aim for it)
* Re-use glass jars. (Good idea from TopHat; so Thanks to You)
* Get re-usable cloth Sanitary pads.

So I get 8/16 which is exactly 50% which was my aim.

Shall work on some 2010 goals and let you know; thanks for being so supportive and I’d love some new ideas for simple but effective green goals/changes.

~Rose

Self Sufficiency

Wow. What a tremendous day. Walked to the Bridge Centre and chatted with two ladies about making nettle tea before the class began, where I saw Anna again. We’ve met a few times at the druid group I go to and she helped us to learn a song at the White Night Festival of Learning at Hollingbury Hillfort in October: She’s a stunning woman.

First we had a cup of tea (a common thing for these all-women retreats/courses I notice… I tried elderflower tea. Quite mild and not really my cup of tea (pardon the pun).  We then went for a walk. Plants found and discussed included:

Pine, elderflower, daisy, yarrow, plantain, goosegrass, pignut, selfheal (prunella), rosehip, ground ivy, wood violet, hypericum (st johns wort), marjoram, and comfrey wild parsnip. That’s not a complete list but it gives you an idea. All plants were found on one hill of the Sussex downs. Not all were edible but those that were we tasted; smelt, touched and took pictures of. I’m planning to compile a little Plant Idenification document with photographs and notes about taste/texture. I might even make it available for download/send it to people. My email address is under the Contact Me tab, if you’re interested.

Note: Some of these plants are poisonous, some can be ingested while others are for external use only. Some have berries which are edible but the seeds inside the berries are DEADLY. Please do not use this list as a safe-list, because it is NOT. Thanks. =)

We gathered these plants, including digging up three wild parsnips. Just the SMELL of them is AMAZING. To hold that tiny itty parsnip root in my hand and be able to smell the parsnip smell from a foot away.. I think the smell is even more pungent that the taste of our common parsnip we get in shops.

While they were being dug up, some of us tasted two types of tea that had literally left the centre as flasks of boiling water and the plants added as we walked along/found them.  The first, nettle and elderflower tea, I liked the first, despite my dislike of elderflower tea alone. The pine smell is so.. it was really familiar. Smelt like an English winter’s day to me.  As to the liquorice tea we had after; I’ve made my own tea from the root before and I drink fennel tea, which smells a lot like liquorice; however, this tea was a little strong for me personally.

We returned to make lunch. The stew included carrot, butternut squash, onion, potato, marjoram, fresh acorn flour, sweet chestnut, wood violet and plantain; among other things. All was served with locally baked bread.

As we finished our lunches, we were invited to pull a card from A Druid’s Oracle. My plant for the day was Chamomile; a plant relating to rest. I’ve not been sleeping terribly well (and I mean less well than usual) so I felt this was apt.

Then came the creation of ointment/balm/salve. We were shown how to make this with some of our herbs.  Basically the one we made contains plants know for:

anti-inflammatory, stops bleeding, antiseptic, antistringent, heals nerve pains and bruises, gum abscesses, insect bites, puss-oozing wounds and helps knit skin cells together. Damn, I want me some more of this. I’m paranoid I’ll run out and I think when that happens I may just cry.

One of the most diverse plants we looked at is Yarrow. Blimey! Just looking at this Wikipedia article makes me want to go out and grab every yarrow plant I see! (Don’t do that by the way; we don’t want you picking the wrong stuff and dying, nor taking so much it can’t reproduce and grow successfully). And it’s in my ointment. Score. ❤

Just skim reading this makes me dizzy.  And it’s in our ointment. Hurrah! If I suddenly get uber healthy; I can point you in the direction of the lady who made it with us so she can make a living.

Just look at this!!!  (from Wikipedia)

“Amenorrhea, anti-inflammatory, bowels, bleeding, blood clots, blood pressure, blood purifier, blood vessels, catarrh, colds, chicken pox, circulation, contraceptive (unproven), cystitis, diabetes treatment, digestion, dyspepsia, eczema, fevers, flu’s, gastritis, glandular system, gum ailments, heartbeat, influenza, insect repellent, internal bleeding, liver, lungs, measles, menses, menorrhagia, menstruation, nipples, nosebleeds, piles, smallpox, stomach sickness, toothache, thrombosis, ulcers, urinary antiseptic, uterus, varicose veins, vision.”

Contraception made me laugh. But I mean LOOK AT THAT! It’s amazing!

Okay.. awe over. For now. 😛

To end our four hours together, one of the ladies who helped organise the day read us a story about a mouse.

I’ve found a copy of the story; it made us all smile.

Today was a taster session. If Anna and the organisers receive funding from the centre; there will be a course or two running for a longer period on various outdoor crafts including ointments, food, making fire, making string, voice and medicine workshops.

When I got home, I made a smoothie out of grapes, banana, berries and apple. Yum!

What new skills could you try out? What would you love to learn?

~Rose.

Gifting

My present list this year comes in the form of handmade:

  • Bookmarks (two styles)
  • Pictures (drawn/coloured/painted)
  • Photographs (calendar/framed)
  • Framed Poem (hand-written or typed over a picture of us)
  • Vouchers – IOU Experiences (offering Time/Money/Skills)
    • Made using Publisher’s Gift Certificate Publication
  • Sock creatures (Maybe.. depending how shit they come out)

For my best friend who lives in the USA, I hand-wrote a letter with his good points, why he’s amazing, gratitude for being my friend and enclosed with it a hand-drawn picture, hand-made bookmark and some little notes for him to stick around his room/PC monitor with some quotes based on our private jokes (Zombie queens, wolf cubs and “fuck raptors” come to mind) and some positive thinking phrases.

Some websites to give you meaningful gift ideas:
http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/photo-calendar-template.html#next
http://www.betterbudgeting.com/frugalcrafts/pricelessgift.htm
http://zenhabits.net/2007/10/30-frugal-gift-ideas-to-show-you-appreciate-someone/

Personally, the issue for me isn’t just Low Cost; but wanting to show others that material goods aren’t useful. I almost had to force my mother to donate a necklace she never wears; because I gave it to her. I’d rather she kept the poem/cards/pictures I spent time on rather than a necklace I saw in a catalogue three years ago.

As to the Experience Vouchers, my personal plans include:
»         Pay for a cup of tea/coffee for them at a shop
»         Pay for entrance and go with them to museum/sea-life centre/pavilion
»         Offering to make dinner for them one night
»         Take them out for dinner “Just because I love you/like your company”
»         Make me do the washing up tonight
»         Learn something together -painting class, reiki workshop or join a book club together.
»         A date night “just because” – movie/gig/night in with ice cream
»         A massage from you
»         Pay for a spa day for them

The possibilities are endless! Plus, Microsoft Publisher lets you print three of the same voucher on one A4 page so you can offer small things which will add up to a higher cost/time/skill overall. E.g. The recipient can pull out the voucher at any time in the next year (set an expiry date!) for you to wash up that night; regardless of whose turn it is and so on.

Personally, I’m sticking to those which mean I spent time WITH the person, rather than do something FOR them. That way they’ve the memory of the experience with you too.  If any of you had/have “spend more time with family” on your new year resolutions; this could be a sure way of achieving it.

Any other ideas I should add to this list? I’d love your ideas, links and thoughts on any of these ideas for meaningful gifts.

Stars Above,
~Rose.

Seven & Presents

I completely forgot about the Saturday Seven yesterday; here’s my list; albeit a day late:

~ I’m so grateful for the roof over my head

~ I’m so grateful that I have food and drink available

~ I’m so grateful for this book The Mindful Woman, as it’s making me think

~ I’m so grateful for the chance to learn

~ I’m so grateful that I’ve friends to support me through anything

~ I’m so grateful that the bathroom is now free!

~ I’m so grateful that I’m still on track for completing my NaNoWriMo novel

Friday night I started to make my mother’s Christmas/Yule gift. I can say that here, because she doesn’t have a link to this blog. If she does read this then “Hiiii!!”. Not sure how she’d feel knowing I refer to my boyfriend as my “husband” on here. Ah well.  Anyway. If you’re my mum, please stop reading, else your present won’t be a surprise =P

I was reading an article and one phrase struck me.

“After all – you can’t just visit a sick child and tell them you love them.

You have to buy a piece of plastic to express your love and concern these days.”

This week I sent off a package to one of my oldest and closest friends, who used to live here, but now lives in the USA. I made him a bookmark, drew him a rose, wrote letters and some little mantra notes to put around his room/monitor/fridge etc to make him smile. It cost me £1.35 to send and he received it Friday morning (sent Monday, cheapest airmail).  And it’s most likely the most meaningful and loving gift I’ve ever given anyone. The time it took to make and put together, to actually stand in a post office line and pay some money for a little stamp; and –le gasp!- paying money for something without getting a little plastic toy.  –sharp intake of breath-

Upon reading that phrase, I was reminded of the bookmark and have now made my own mother one. Each holiday, when I return from University, she tries to take me shopping. I understand it’s to show she loves me, but I might suggest we go for a drink in a bookshop or something instead [like people do in movies and books I’ve read.. There are coffee shops in England, aren’t there?].   And having just written that spur of the moment thought, I suddenly feel much happier at the idea of time with my mum.. and oddly lighter..

Anyway, I was looking for a phrase to fit on this bookmark that would be the to point “be happy!” but not just random words.. Something meaningful and honest, but encouraging.

Mindfulness, Choose Kindness, Intention, Simplicity.. All of these speak to me; but she’s doesn’t meditate and didn’t read parenting blogs as a teen. She’s also one of the kindest people I know, so that phrase was redundant. In the end, I’ve written:

S
M
I
L
E

Now.. I can’t draw much (roses, stick people and fish, mainly) and my attempts to learn to knit and sew again failed drastically. I only have limited sources here at University, and limited time with all my assignments. However, I’m hoping to make as many presents personal and I thought my mum was the best person to start with.

So, I’d LOVE any ideas on simple, handmade or personalisable [yes I just made that word up] presents. I’m happy to spend money on her, because she’s worth it (bet she’s gutted if she doesn’t read this…) but I’m looking to convey a message that love isn’t about how many clothes she buys me.

If you’re a parent, what would you love? She’s not really a spa-going person, doesn’t have the confidence to go to a new class.. (she loves books, hence the bookmark).. Any ideas would be so much appreciated.
~Rose

Healthy Eating – i

Y2Week0 130We has internets. Yays.

So today I’ve stolen an idea from Frugal Trenches  in that I’ve just done my first proper weekly shop of term (not including the start-up shop two weeks ago with my parents) and thought I’d share it with you.

My weekly shop cost just 11.02 earning me 23 nectar points.

The fruit’s for snacking on (apples, grapes, cucumber) while the carrots can be mixed with my frozen vegetables. The bread’s for ham or ham&cucumber sandwiches (lunch at University) and  the milks for drinking, chai tea, shredded wheat with grapes, or white (pasta) sauce. The chocolate bars are also for university packed lunches and the yoghurts are because they wer eon offer/reduced and I like having a big pot of organic vanilla yoghurt handy.

And that’s my shop. SO meals include:

 

Breakfast. – porridge/shredded wheat/yoghurt

Lunch. – sandwiches, crisps, chocolate bar, apple.

 

Main Meals:

–          vegetable pasta

–          macaroni cheese

–          carbonara (ham, cheese, white sauce)

–          tuna sweetcorn pasta bake with vegetables

–          soup with added vegetables

–          vegetable mash (mashed potato, with carrot)

 

I’ve also frozen potato (happy stars!) and meat (turkey dinosaurs/breaded chicken fillets) and

I’ve been taking my vitamins, iron tablet and Echinacea regularly.

That should suit me for this week; I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have any recipes with these ingredients and staple foods, let me know! I also intend to update my lists thiw week. Keep an eye out for the changes.

~Rose.