Handmade Loki Devotional Give-Away!

I have some great news to share! Thanks to the generosity of donors, the fund fed by sales of the Loki devotional has reached capacity. It’s time for a giveaway!

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This giveaway is for one copy of the handmade Loki devotionals that I have for sale on Etsy. These books are hand bound, so each one of them is entirely unique. Lush red paper with black and metallic gold marbling decorates the cover; this paper is handmade and gives each volume an even greater distinctive character.

The winner will receive one copy of the book and complementary shipping. This contest is open to international entrants; any additional shipping charges will be covered by me. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are already $9 towards the next giveaway.

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To enter, all you need to do is comment on this post and say you wish to participate; please include your preferred email address, as well.

Entries will be received until 11:59 PM on Saturday, June 13. Everyone is welcome to reblog and share this post so as to spread the word as much as possible. Thank you everyone for you continued support of this devotional project.

Weekend rush – magnetic pins, prayer beads, practice

It’s already shaping up to be a busy end to a busy week. The dizzy spells I’ve been experiencing over the past few weeks finally came together with all the other symptoms of an ear infection. This makes me seriously wonder if I haven’t just been dealing with some kind of stubborn infection that’s lasted for *a year* with intermittent flare ups. I initially ruled out that possibility because I wasn’t sick – no fever, no aches, no head pain, no ear pain – but everything hit me quite suddenly on Wednesday night. No fever, but all the rest was there. I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor and see if we can figure out a solution. This dizziness has been a really serious problem that I’ve been ignoring since I had no idea how to fix it or even other symptoms that I could point to. Getting sick ironically helps. All the same, I’m not looking forward to seeking treatment. I just want it to go away so I can go back to my regular chronic illness routine.

This week has also seek a lot of prayer and chanting. A lot of time has been spent introspecting and simply feeling. This can be a challenge. I find the outward “doing” of my practice generally easier (though for several reasons the daily doings have slipped in regularity). Sitting and just being with the impact of that practice can be a lot harder. All the same, I seem to have found a nice rhythm with my prayer beads. Though japamala is a long-established part of my practice, non-mantra prayer bead use is rather newer and has a history of not being wildly successful. This time around I might have it figured out, though; that’s really nice. I’m liking this new development.

Speaking of prayer beads, I found a cache of vintage beaded jewelry yesterday that I brought home to be repurposed into prayer beads. There are some softly faceted glass beads, some foil-lined beads, loads of beautiful glass round beads, and a long string of what looks to me like some kind of unfinished coral beads but I’m not entirely positive. I’m used to coral beads being violently red or pink for having been dyed that way and they’re generally quite smooth. These have a slightly rough, variable texture and a more natural color distribution. Today I’m going to a bead shop to look for a few necessary supplies and I’ll bring a few of these mystery beads with me. Whatever they are, they’ve already made a lovely string of sea-inspired pocket prayer beads and I look forward to creating at least one additional string from the remaining beads.

This week I also finished the magnetic scarf “pins” I’ve been working on for a while. Some of you reading might remember the dust up(s) that happened when a number of pagans and polytheists spoke openly about their choice to head cover for religious and/or personal reasons. The negative reactions that resulted were painful to watch; on the one hand I want to believe that we as pagans have more respect for the personal lives of others but on the other we have as much baggage regarding the policing of (primarily) women’s bodies and choices as anyone else in our culture. Maybe it’s because I was raised in a religion that both produces clothing items specifically for members’ own use and re-deploys mass produced items in a way that reflects their values and identity; the idea of religiously motivated clothing choices is simply nothing new or even all that noteworthy to me. In fact, when it comes to expressing personal values, spiritual aspirations, religious affiliation, and so forth, clothing is one of the most frequently-used tools of all.

Saying I supported those who chose to veil for religious reasons seemed rather pointless, like I was providing only the bare minimum standard of human decency and then being asked for congratulations. I wanted to do something else but wasn’t sure what or how. Then a friend clued me into magnetic “pins”, little decorative veil accessories that fasten cloth without poking holes in the fabric. I looked at lots of pictures and thought, “I could do that!”. So I did.

These are strong 1cm magnets topped with shiny glass drops. I chose them with the idea that they could be discrete or decorative as the wearer wished. I found a supplier that has many more eye-catching elements that I’d love to buy but first these have to sell. I’m selling them in groups of three pair (six magnets all together), two matching and one contrasting. Since these magnets stick to metal hair clips and other hair accessories, I’ve included a snapping clip to let wearers instantly experiment with different looks. And since I know that a number of pagans-who-veil appreciate the dampening of psychic energies that veils help achieve, I decided to use glass drops since glass tends to deflect and fragment unwanted energies.

I have eight sets listed in the shop; click the link at the top of the page or click the picture above to see the listings. Let me know too if there’s a particular style of magnetic pin you’d like me to help you create; I’m always happy to discuss custom orders.

OK, now for weekend errands. Guess I better get moving; those groceries aren’t going to buy themselves and chronic illness cat needs her morning medicine (tuna flavored!).

Busy Making Art and Other Things

I’ve been quite busy for several days now trying to get many different tasks taken care of. Things are busy at both my jobs so I’m not giving this blog much thought. I’ve also been busy making new blank books and trying to inject a little new life into my Etsy shop, Coffee At Midnight. If you’re interested in my handmade blank books and other items, I’d suggest checking out my other blog that’s specifically for arts and crafts related things.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis hand bound book has approximately 50 blank unlined pages. It has open-flat binding so it is comfortable to use whether you write with your right or left hand. These make great books for writing poetry, sketching, jotting down story ideas, or recording personal thoughts. I keep one on my altar and gradually add inspirational thoughts and ideas as they come to me. Another little blank book has become a sort of love journal where emotional notes are written down.

I’m quite excited to be working on a special art project involving some of these books. I’ll talk more about them as they develop.

In the meantime, thanks for sticking with me.

Book People

I love books. I love books as an item, a medium, and as an icon. I bet many of you do, too.

I began thinking about books as magical items a few years ago. Not magical items in a metaphoric sense or with regards to their ability to transport the reader. Actual magic items, the same as one’s wand or staff or ritual robe or whatever. Items that could impact subtle psychic codes or induce a state that was highly receptive to the author’s message. People who know me personally know I have an appetite for fine press occult books (and now that I think about it, I made a Youtube video about this very subject so now everyone knows about my little hobby). I like these books for many reasons, including because these high-ticket items are not shy about being magical. Many of these volumes are designed to be magical. They are supposed to teach you something besides what the words are telling you. There’s something else that can happen – but only so long as the reader brings the key. It’s a true collaboration of energies

But see, lots of books have very similar principles, even if they have not been designed with esoteric principles in mind. The reader has to bring something to the book and together, something new is generated. Book people understand this. That said, appreciating a book on an esoteric or magical level is pretty exciting.

I started making books because I didn’t have the money to buy fabric for a new sewing project. The whole process was enjoyable and engaging and I got some positive feedback. I kept going and gradually got a little better. I set a pile of little blank books on a table when I vended at a fandom convention and almost all of them sold. I didn’t expect people to respond to them. So I kept making them, still getting better but not really doing much with them.

Then financial peril struck in late December. Some heavy bills hit my checking account at the same time and tore through my living funds and a portion of rent. I had to come up with some money quickly. I finally had the motivation to put the little blank books up for sale online on Etsy after waffling about it for months. And they sold. Not all of them and not right away, but they sold. A going-out-of-business sale at an art store got me a few of the expensive supplies I’d put off buying. I made more and posted more and I’m working on five custom orders. Books are magical for lots of reasons.

I’m still facing some very tight weeks and traveling to PantheaCon is going to be a real challenge (I already bought the plane ticket so I’m kinda locked in) but something new has opened up. I don’t know where I’m going with this particular creative avenue. I know I want to make books as magical items for people and I know I want to continue to refine my skills. Mostly though I just want to make people happy. That’s what gives me the most pleasure.

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Final batch of little blank books

I just finished posting the last two little blank books on my Etsy shop. I began making these very suddenly earlier this year. I’ve been curious about bookmaking for a while but then boom, it just happened. I’ve learned a lot – both about bookmaking and about myself. I very much want to continue exploring this particular art form but first the old things need to leave home so new items can grow in their place.

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The last few weeks have been a bit rough on all fronts but medically things are a little brighter (or perhaps the sun is just reflecting off all the snow that’s dropped on the valley in the last few days). Soon I’ll talk about some of my big ambitions for 2015 and we’ll see exactly what happens next. Thanks as always for all the support. You’ve all helped me get to this place.

Handmade books, old medical books, and more!

The book sale continues! I’ve added an old medical book on dermatology and venereal diseases, a book on traditional Japanese visual art, a nice paperback on rites of passage rituals, and more. I’ve also finally added a few of the handmade books I’ve been working on for several months. These are lightweight blank journals with art paper covers. Approximately 50 pages; $12/each. Everything can be found on my Etsy shop.

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Quite soon I’ll get back to regular blogging. I’ve finished nearly 2000 new words for the new book! I’ll share a sneaky-peak as soon as I clean up the draft a bit. Look forward to it!