A Witch’s Book of Potions : House and Home

And…at long last, here is part three of my witch’s book of potions (Part 1 was on beauty, Part 2 was on health). This time, I present you with some of my favourite articles from around the web on how to clean your home and ensure the comfort of yourself and your guests.

Homemade Cleaning Products

Using Cola as a Cleaner

Homemade Cleaners to Green your Cleaning Routine

White Vinegar (Cleaning, Laundry, and So Much More)

DIY Natural Cleaner made with Citrus Peels and Vinegar

Non-toxic Cleaners You Can Make at Home

Air Fresheners

Baking Soda Closet “Poppers”

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Room Spray

Easy Baking Soda Air Freshener

PS_20160215131543

Laundry

How to Make Natural Dryer Sheets

Homemade Fabric Softener Crystals

Other

5 Natural Pest Control Options that Work

Reusable Hand warmers from Baby socks

 

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

A Witch’s Journal : Part Two

(Read Part One over here.)

The old woman pushed passed me and marched to the table, dropping a large parcel onto it with a sigh of relief and then lowering herself onto the bench with a groan. I stayed at the door, frozen to the spot. We stared at each other in silence for a moment.

“Well?” she said impatiently. “Are you going to give me a crick in my neck from staring up at you, or are you going to sit down?”

I closed the door and half-stumbled to the table.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “There must be some mistake. I’m not a witch. I thought this house was abandoned, I just came in for the night to shelter from the rain. I’ll leave, immediately -”

“Nonsense.” The old woman cut me off. “You found this house because it let you find it, and it would not have let you find it unless you were its witch.”

There was a moment’s silence as I tried to make sense of this statement. I couldn’t.

“What do you mean ‘it let me find it’? And what do you mean ‘its witch’?”

She sighed. “You’re not from this kingdom, are you?”

“Of course I am.” I said, a bit offended. “I’ve lived in Erendiel all my life.”

“We’re not in Erendiel. We’re in Valrick.”

I began to feel that this conversation was spiralling far out of my control.

“I think I know what country I’m in.” I said with as much firmness as I could manage – which wasn’t much, unfortunately.

“One forest looks much like another in the dark and the rain,” the old woman said. “Take a look outside and see if you’re still so sure.”

I walked to the door, opened it, and looked outside. She was right. The trees, the grass, the birdsong, all were slightly different than what I was used to. This was not the same forest I had started out in. I walked back to the table and collapsed onto the bench.

 

PS_20160103181736

 

“I don’t understand.” I said. “How could I travel across two kingdoms in a single night without even knowing it?”

The old woman sighed. “Listen, girl – what’s your name?’

I hesitated.

“You don’t have to tell me your real name if you don’t want to, but I have to call you something.” She said, rather impatiently.

I thought for a moment. “Triniel. You can call me Triniel.”

“Triniel.” She repeated. “Townsfolk call me Grandmother Witch, but as you are a fellow witch, you may call me by name, which is Lineris.  This area has been without a witch for over six years, Triniel.  I imagine it was getting tired of waiting for a suitable candidate to just wander in, so it decided to go and find someone. It found you in Erendiel and brought you here to the Deepwood of Valrick, to be its witch and serve its people.”

“I’ve been taken captive…by a forest?” I said.

“By a piece of a forest, yes. There are twelve witches in the Deepwood, each serving their own witchdom. And you’re not a captive. You can leave whenever you like, although the witchdom wouldn’t have taken you if it hadn’t sensed that you wanted to leave.”

Well, I couldn’t deny that. I had wanted to get out of Erendiel. I had wanted a new life…but a life as a witch?

“Why would it choose me? I don’t know how to be a witch. I don’t know anything about…about any of it. I’m not…I’m nobody.”

“Good,” Lineris said curtly. “If you’re nobody, there’s nothing to prevent you from being a witch. Here’s your chance to be somebody.” She pushed the package she had been carrying toward me. “The other witches of the Deepwood will be visiting you in the next month or so to introduce themselves and present you with your welcome gifts. Here’s mine.” I carefully unwrapped the brown cloth to reveal a small, plain but sturdy cauldron. “You’ll want to get yourself another one in town of course,” Lineris continued. “You should always have at least two pots: one for potions and one for food. Never confuse the two! You do not want magical residue in your soup, believe me.” Having dispensed her no-doubt excellent advice, she stood up and started for the door.

 

PS_20160103175800

 

“Wait!” I said. “You’re leaving already! I don’t…what do I do now?”

“Well, the townsfolk will have seen the smoke from your chimney by now and will know there’s a new witch in residence. You may be getting your first customers soon, so I suggest you start studying!” Lineris replied shortly, nodding towards the books on the shelf. “The handwritten ones are the notebooks of the previous witch. There’s also a blank one that’s for you. You’ll be expected to keep detailed accounts of your experiments and of any spells or potions you invent, as well as a journal of your day-to-day affairs.”

“There’s no blank book.” I said. “I was just looking at them before you came in, and they’re all filled in.”

“Look again.”

I looked on the shelf, and sure enough there was now a seventh book, its pages blank and the inside cover inscribed with the words “Here are Recorded the Works and Days of the Witch Triniel.”

 

PS_20160103175633

 

“But…” I said. “I just made up that name. How could it possibly…”

I turned around, but the old witch had vanished. I sighed and carried the book to the table. I sat down and looked around for something to write with, and was startled to see a sharpened quill and inkpot on the table in front of me. They had definitely not been there a moment ago. I sighed again, took up the quill, dipped it in ink, and began to write.

 

(I won’t be continuing this story on my blog because I will – at last – be moving on from my witch theme soon. If, however, you are interested in following Triniel’s journey, I will be continuing her story on my fictionpress account.

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

A Witch’s Book of Potions : Health and Wellness

Part 2 of my Witch’s Book of Potions (Part 1 was on beauty) features some of my favourite articles from around the web (mostly from the same blogs I featured last time), this time on how to stay healthy, cure yourself from common ailments, and protect yourself from such common curses as irritating insects and excess sunshine.

 

Thyme and Again

Not you Mother’s Neosporin: Healing Salve for Minor Scrapes and Burns

Make your Brain Quick and Clever with these 5 Essential Oils

Elderberry-Echinacea Syrup Recipe

Quick Homemade Vapor Rub

Vinegar of the Four Thieves Health Tonic

PS_20160215131820

How to Make a Herbal Liniment

How to Make Homemade Sunscreen

Homemade Bug Spray Recipes that Work

How to Make Solar-Infused Herbal Oils

7 Simple Natural Remedies you Probably Have at Home

12 Natural Toothpaste Alternatives that will Surprise you

21 Homemade Remedies for Migraines and Headaches.

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

My Favourite Witches : Maidens, Mothers and Crones

The witches of my childhood were my Disney princesses. They were the people I admired and wanted to be like.  I had many favourites, mostly from books (I read a lot as a child), and these are only some of them.  As the Maiden, Mother, Crone triad is one of the cornerstones of witch stories, I’ve divided my favourite witches into these three categories.

Maidens

Hermione Granger

Slide1

Obviously. I was a nerdy, clever bookworm who cared deeply about her grades and derived great satisfaction from always knowing the answer. Hermione felt like my soulmate. By the time I reached high school, my obsession with being the smartest and my enthusiasm for learning had faded somewhat, with both positive and negative results. On the one hand I was much less stressed about my grades and was less of an annoying know-it-all, but on the other hand…I lost something that once meant a great deal to me. I had learnt from my classmates and from society that enthusiasm was not cool, that school was something to be tolerated, not enjoyed. I rarely spoke out in class, even though I usually knew the answer. I hid my cleverness, because I didn’t want to stand out.  Hermione never hides. She’s proud of her intelligence, and she doesn’t let other people bring her down about it. For this, she has always inspired me.

Morwen

Slide2

If Hermione was the witch I was most like as a child, Morwen of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede was the witch I most wanted to be like. She was sensible, down-to-earth, capable and extremely independent. She lived alone in a little cottage in a magical forest with a lot of cats, which sounded like paradise to me. She was petite and red-haired, which I desperately wanted to be, rather than tall, chubby, and dark-haired, as I was. No one ever questioned that she could take care of herself, and I absolutely loved her.

Mildred Hubble

Slide1

Mildred Hubble, the main character of The Worst Witch TV series based on the books by Jill Murphy, was not someone I particularly wanted to be like. I did, however, want to be her friend. I wanted to go to Miss Cackles Academy for Witches and cast spells, brew potions, and get into trouble with Mildred and the other young witches. It was a good, silly, fun show that I adored, and hearing the school theme of “Onward, ever striving onward, proudly on our brooms we fly…” instantly takes me back to my childhood.

Mothers

Nanny Ogg

Slide3

Nanny Ogg, the Mother in the Maiden, Mother, Crone triad of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, is hilarious. Always cheerful, always comfortable, Nanny Ogg can make herself at home anywhere and get along with anyone. She doesn’t seem to understand even the concept of being embarrassed. While I may not want to be exactly like her, I sure enjoy reading about her.

Sophie Hatter

Slide4

Sophie Hatter, from Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, and House of Many Ways, could really fit into any of the three categories : She is a maiden at the beginning of the first book, who is then turned into a crone by another witch, and in the second and third books she is a mother.  I’ve chosen to place her in the mother category because in all her incarnations she’s always taking care of people – mainly her husband, the wizard Howl. Ever practical, Sophie is always ready to make the best of a bad situation.  She’s clever. kind, and determined. Plus, she’s another red-head.

Crones

Granny Weatherwax

Slide5

If Morwen was the witch I most admired as a child, Granny Weatherwax is probably the one I most admire as an adult, even though she can be a little scary. The crone from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, Granny Weatherwax is one of my favourite characters in all of fiction. She is not to be trifled with. She is always in control of the situation and has unshakable faith in her abilities. She knows she could be evil – and that she’d be very good at it – but she chooses to be good.  And I’m pretty sure it’s mentioned at some point that she had red hair in her youth.

Professor Minerva McGonagall

Slide7

I feel quite guilty calling Professor McGonagall a crone. I don’t think she’d be amused. In fact, I think she’d definitely give me detention. I notice I’ve been describing a lot of my favourite witches as “sensible”, “down-to-earth” and “capable”. These are obviously qualities I admire, perhaps because I tend to be more of a wishy-washy, daydreamer type myself. Professor McGonagall certainly has all these qualities, and she can turn into a cat.

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

A Witch’s Book of Potions : Beauty

I’ve always enjoyed making my own natural beauty products.  Commercial cosmetics are often full of harmful chemicals, so this way I know exactly what I’m putting on my skin and I know it wasn’t tested on animals. Plus, there is something witchy about mixing together different ingredients and ending up with something that makes you prettier!

PS_20150919214011

These are some of my favourite blogs about natural beauty, along with some of their best recipes and tips.

Crunchy Betty

Sadly, this blog is no longer active, but the recipes are simple and brilliant, and the text is frequently hilarious.

 

Smooth and Silky Banana Milkshake Hair Mask

Farmer’s Market Facials – Carrots!

Boost Your Shampoo with an Herbal Infusion!

5 Fresh ways to Use Ginger in Homemade Beauty

Crunchy Betty’s Top 10 Favorite Tried-and-True Remedies for Everything!

5 Relaxing, Rejuvenating Bath Recipes

Wellness Mama

More of a health blog than a beauty blog, this one also has a lot of great food recipes.

 

Natural Eyelash Growth Serum Recipe

Soothing Pumpkin Spice Face Mask Recipe

Sweet Salt Texturizing Spray for Hair

Vanilla Latte Sugar Scrub Recipe

Magnesium and Sea Salt Spray for Skin

PS_20150919215125

 

The Nourished Life

Another health-focused blog with lots of good natural health recipes and tips.

 

Insanely Easy Whipped Body Butter Recipe

21 Homemade Sugar Scrub Recipes

One Simple Trick to Relieve Dry Eyes Naturally Without Eye Drops

Try This Black Oil for Natural Teeth Whitening

Homemade Hand Scrub

The Beauty Gypsy

The Beauty Gypsy travels the world collecting traditional beauty recipes and tips from different cultures. She’s a former beauty editor, so the tone can be a bit magazine-y for my taste, but the content is generally excellent.

14 Beauty Recipes from Around the World

The (Surprising!) Beauty Benefits of Green Tea

The Italian Secret to Glow-y, Flawless Skin

Beauty Recipes From My Indian Wedding

These Beauty Treats are Made with Real Chocolate

Kick Off Fall with these Pumpkin-Spiced Beauty Recipes

PS_20150919215334

 

Happy Dreaming (and potion-brewing!)

Signature

A Witch’s Journal : Part One

It seems I am to be a witch. Or rather, it seems I am one already. I certainly could not have predicted this. I’m told I have a choice, that I can refuse if I wish to, that I can simply walk out the door and never look back…

Where would I go? I have nowhere else to be. Perhaps this is what I’ve been looking for.  Perhaps I’ve finally found a place where I can truly belong.  It seems so unlikely, so strange, and yet…perhaps if I force myself to believe it,  I can will it into truth. Perhaps I have at last found a home.

I’m told  I should record my life and work in these pages, that this is what witches do. I’m not sure how to begin. I suppose I might start by telling how I came to this place. It is a simple story: I was in the forest; it was dark; it was raining; I was lost.  Perhaps it is wrong to say I was lost, as that implies that I had some destination in mind, when in reality my only goal was to find somewhere reasonably warm and dry where I could shelter for the night, or at least until the rain had stopped.

 

PS_20150914230158

 

I was cold, wet, and miserable and growing more so as the night went on.  The full moon was bright enough that some of its light reached me through the clouds and the leaves, but it was still dark enough that I kept tripping on roots and walking into trees.  When I found myself lying in the mud for what felt like the hundredth time, I couldn’t quite find the strength to get back up again.  I managed to sit up, but standing seemed to require more effort than I was capable of.  I was so exhausted that it took me a moment to realize that the surface I was leaning against was too smooth and flat to be a tree. I ran my hands along it, hardly daring to believe…it was a wall.  I stumbled to my feet.  Surely a wall must be part of a house, surely a house must have…a door! Had I been less desperate, less miserable, I would have knocked, of course.  As it was, I simply grabbed the handle, wrenched open the door, and threw myself inside.  I suppose it was lucky, then, that the house was empty. It was just a hut really, only one room with just a few pieces of furniture, everything covered in a thick layer of dust.  There was, however, a fireplace and – miraculously – a stack of dry firewood.  I started a fire easily, though I had never been good at it and though my fingers were stiff from the cold. Had I been less tired, I might have found it strange.  I might have wondered at the dim light in the cabin, which seemed to have no source. I might have been unnerved and forced myself back into the rain.  As it was, I simply curled up on the floor in front of the fire and fell asleep.

 

PS_20150914230255

 

The fire was long dead by the time I awoke, but I was no longer cold. I was even almost dry. I pried open the shudders and the room was filled with mid-morning light. I looked around the place where I had spent the night.  It was clearly abandoned. As I had nowhere else to be, I decided to explore, though, frankly, there didn’t seem to be much to see. One side of the room was taken up by a simple but solid wooden table with a bench on either side, while the other side contained only a bed and a large trunk.  The wood of the bed frame had rotted until it had snapped in the middle, and the mattress stunk of mould.  The trunk was locked.  The wall opposite the door had no windows and no furniture leaning against it.  It was entirely lined with shelves, and these shelves were filled with all sorts of curious things: jars and bottles filled with various substances – powders, liquids, dried herbs, jellies, pickled…things – some labelled, some familiar, some completely unidentifiable; bunches of dried herbs and flowers; small, finely carved wooden boxes filled with exotic spices; various animal horns and bones; goblets, bowls and other dishes, most of clay, but some of glass or metal or materials I did not recognize; and six large leather bound books.  I was drawn to the books, as I always am. Three of them were handwritten, filled with notes and sketches and diagrams, all rather difficult to read. The other three were printed, and therefore much more legible. The titles sent shivers down my spine: Identification and Properties of Common Plants, Stones and Animal Parts; Simple Spells and Potions; and Methods of Scrying and Divining.

 

PS_20150914230528

 

These were a witch’s books. This was a witch’s home. Dread rose in my throat until I thought I might be sick. Magic had caused me enough trouble already; I wanted nothing more to do with it. I rushed to the door and was about to swing it open and flee when I was pulled up short by a knock on the door. I froze. I held my breath, staring at the door, hoping that I had imagined the sound. There was another knock. What should I do?

“I know you’re in there,” a voice said. “You’d better open the door.”

I sighed. What could I do? I opened the door.

An old woman stood there, her bright blue eyes boring into me as though she could see into my soul and was not terribly impressed. She looked me up and down.

“So you’re the new witch?” She said. “Well, you don’t look like much, but who am I to judge? Let’s get you settled in, shall we?”

To be continued

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

Witch Parties and No-Homework Potion

Oops! Well, my initial blog attempts have obviously failed miserably, as it has been…several months since my first – and last – post. In my defense, it has been a fairly busy few months. Still, no excuse. I shall endeavour to do better. So, to begin where I left off – witches! As a child, I adored witches. Other little girls may have wanted to be princesses and wear pretty dresses and dance with handsome princes, but I wanted to wear a pointed black hat and fly a broomstick and brew potions. Luckily, I had friends who felt the same way. (I should point out that none of us had anything against princesses, and I certainly did own a few pretty dresses.) One of our favourite games of make-believe was pretending to be students and teachers at a school for witches (and this was before Harry Potter came out, I might add).  We would take turns teaching classes and assigning homework. And we actually did the homework! (…Sometimes.) I still have one of the assignments I did, horrible spelling and all.  Ironically, it was for a No-Homework Potion, an ingenious invention by my 7-year-old self that could be slipped into a teacher’s coffee, causing said teacher to forget to assign homework.  (Don’t try this at home, kids.)

PS_20150913222626

 

I often had theme birthday parties as a child, and for my 9th birthday, I had a witch party.  All my friends showed up in black robes and pointed hats, and we read witch poems to each other and did broomstick dances and played a game of Pin the Tail on the Black Cat. My mother made a chocolate cake shaped like a broomstick and we decorated the table with plastic bugs and bats. The green punch had ice cubes with little plastic flies frozen in them. It was one of the best days of my life.

PS_20150913222716

 

 

I’m not entirely sure what it was about witches that appealed so much to me as a child. Perhaps it was their independence. Unlike princesses, witches never needed to be rescued. They didn’t need princes; they were just fine on their own. (I never owned a Ken doll, because my Barbies were strong, independent women who didn’t need Ken in their lives.) Witches were capable and confident, as I desperately wanted to be. Witches were clever, and I was bookish and clever myself. I often felt like a bit of an outsider, and witches were the outsiders of the fairy tale world, though they never seemed to mind (except in Sleeping Beauty. But then, she was a faery, not a witch, so it doesn’t count.) So perhaps I identified with witches.  Or perhaps I’m projecting my grown-up views on to my childhood self.  If you’d asked me then why I wanted to be a witch, I’d probably have said it was so I could have magic powers. And drug my teachers into forgetting about homework.

Happy Dreaming,

Signature

 

Hello world!

Hello!

PS_20150823142907

I was planning to title my first post “Hello World”, and then WordPress did it for me. WordPress is psychic! Or I’m just predictable. Whatever. So this is it! My first post. This blog will be a chronicle of my attempts to live out my childhood fantasies, one dream per month. For a more detailed explanation, please read my about page. For this first month, I shall immerse myself in what was probably my greatest wish as a child: I shall be a witch!

 

PS_20150914231322

I will eat a lot of soup (soups are like potions!), wear a lot of black, read witchy books, watch witchy movies, and do witchy things. Truth be told, I’ve sort considered myself a witch since I was a child, and will likely continue to  do so long after this month is over, but this is a chance to get a little bit further into it and be more of the pointy-hat-wearing, broomstick-riding witch of my childhood dreams (though it seems I got rid of my pointy hat at some point😦 Still have the broomstick though!).

Happy Dreaming!

Signature

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.