Welcome to my newest visitors, who have indirectly pestered me to post more here. *waves*
I’ve had two private messages asking about some crafty things I made recently, so I figure here’s a great place to post about them. Sadly, I do not have any pictures of such in-progress, so you’ll have to be content with words. First is a scrying mirror, second is poke-berry which makes a wonderful kid-friendly project and can be used for all sorts of magical inscriptions, or simply painting in a colouring book! 🙂
First, a scrying mirror I made for a lovely friend of mine, which can be seen on her altar here: http://bringingupsalamanders.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-moon-thoughts.html
First, I took a simple wooden picture frame and decorated it with blue wood-stain and black paint. It’s hard to see, but the bottom is ‘celtic’ knots across the bottom, which was really time-consuming. I had planned to do all the designs that way, being pressed into the wood with an ink-less ball-point pen, but it hurt my hand so I stuck to paint and ink for the other designs.
The left side is inked with vine-like designs, the top is speckled like a field of stars, or chaotic dots, your choice, and the right side contains a symmetrical series of geometric sacred shapes.
The corners of the frame are decorated with a star-like design based off a custom pendant I wear, a triskele triple-spiral, a pentacle, and (I think I recall) an acorn on the bottom left.
To colour the glass darkly, I had a small ritual fire from apple and elder branches that had fallen in our yard, and burned during a New Moon. I smudged the frame and glass with mugwort and cedar (also from our yard), and charged the whole thing with love, and somewhat open-ended intent to be a sacred tool (since it was not for my use, I did not want to get too specific with ‘charging it’).
After the little bonfire died out, I took the black coals, powdered them in my stone mortar & pestle, and mixed some more dried mugwort leaves in with a bit of salt-water to form a pasty goop. This got smeared on the back of the glass allowed to dry, before affixing the back of the picture frame “stand”. (So instead of being painted glass, you look into the soot sandwiched between the glass and the backing).
I am quite willing to make a mirror for anyone else, with this, or other methods. Simply comment with a request and I’ll coordinate things via email or facebook. Enjoy! 🙂
* * *
The second craft is a quick and easy ink, for those of you with access to Poke-berries. Any other dark berry will work, but I prefer poke, because it’s an abundant ‘weed’ in my area, and things like raspberries get eaten too fast to be saved for inks. One interesting bit of trivia is that the Unites States Constitution was apparently written using fermented pokeberry ink, as it was the “common ink” of the time. Fermenting it seems to help preserve it, but for myself and the kid, the quick and easy method works just fine as a family project.
Collect a bundle of ripe berries, maybe a cup or three, depending on how much juice you want. Remember, a little ink goes a long way! You will also need a tiny splash of vinegar and a pinch of salt.
I tend to collect berries after the first killing frost, because the plant is dying off, and most songbirds who eat these have migrated away, leaving the leftover berries to rot. I’ve also used elderberry for this recipe, when I have an abundance of those.
Simmer the berries in a small pan with just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, with a splash of vinegar (any type will do). Vinegar helps set the colour a bit more, and seems to draw out some more ‘oomph’ from the berries in terms of alkaloids and energies, I think. Your mileage may vary.
Basically add enough liquid to prevent the bottom from burning, but not enough to overly dilute the juice from the berries. While you could squeeze out the juice, I find that heat helps extract more, and is less messy on the hands. Plus, while I have no scientific proof, I think that heating the berries helps set the colour better, and thickens the juice into a better ink-like consistency. Feel free to improvise and experiment.
I tend to keep stirring the pot for a good 20 minutes every so often, until the water looks nice and richly coloured. Not too much that it turns pasty with berry-skins!
Turn off the heat and let the pot cool off a bit, then simply strain out the ink into a container. I used a coffee filter and a funnel to strain the ink into an old sea-salt bottle I had lying around. Small pickle or baby-food jars work just as well.
Grab a quill, or a fountain pen, or, as we do, a small craft paintbrush (size 1 or 0o, or whatever your preference!) and have fun scribbling, painting, and drawing.
This ink will wash off of things fairly easily, so it is not recommended for clothes and such. However, it is great to use on paper, and staining wood a vibrant magenta!
With age, the bright purple-pink colour of this ink will fade to a rusty brown after a few years, so keep that in mind. This fact, however, makes it even cooler to use in magical journal writing, as it seems to look “archaic” as it ages.