A Different Sort of Holiday Season

Things have been rough; my employment insurance still hasn’t come because of a mistake my former employer made on a form. Our car gave out while we were driving and is only half-fixed now. Then I got word that one of my cats, whom I had to send four hours away to stay with friends temporarily due to our emergency move, needs to be put down. I’m devastated that I can’t even go visit, to see her one last time, and am afraid what effect this will have on my other beloved kitty.

Through all this I’m trying to remain positive, and focus on ways to get by. We have the food bank and temporary shelter, so I’m not in actual danger. But this holiday season, which we call Moosemas, will be a different one for many reasons. Firstly, because this is the first holiday after I have cut off my whole family (due to their abuse and toxic hostility). The idea of “Christmas” holds nothing but emptiness and troubling memories for me. So I am trying to celebrate Moosemas with Willow in a new and spiritual way, through pagan-themed crafts.

If anyone has ideas for celebrating nature and winter, please share them. Kid crafts or adult projects are both appreciated!

One thing I would like to share is this: a recipe for cold porcelain clay. It is insanely cheap and easy and lovely to work with, and is air-drying. I can’t bake clay where I am now, so I tried this alternative and I love it.

Cold Porcelain Recipe:

one cup white glue

one cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice (for a “preservative”….I happened to have a real preservative on hand so I used that, but lemon juice should be okay if the dough is properly stored.)

Preparation:

Add all the ingredients together and stir into a paste. Then microwave for about 20 seconds, take it out, stir, and microwave for another 20 seconds, take it out and stir…and repeat until you notice the paste forming up into more dough-like lumps. Don’t overcook, though! Best to stop when you get the lumps. Now lotion up your hands so the dough won’t stick and knead the paste until it cools all the way down. This could take 15 minutes, but if it’s forming a ball you’re on the right track. You might need to add more cornstarch to get it to form up, but be careful not to add too much.

When it is cool and formed, wrap it up in cling-wrap and stick it in the fridge. Best to let it “rest” for about 24 hours. Then it’s ready for sculpting! If left uncovered for 24 hours it will harden up, but complete drying will likely take another day or two. This clay dries rock-hard and somewhat translucent, and has a very smooth finish. You can store unused dough in an air-tight container or even freeze it.

Here is a picture of the dough, and an unfinished owl skull project:

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8 thoughts on “A Different Sort of Holiday Season

  1. Hello dear,

    I’m sorry that the money has not come through yet. I am hoping that it will be fixed soon.

    I’m so sorry about your kitty. Tonight I will send Reiki to all of yous, before I go to bed.

    My all-time favorite website is a The Crafty Crow, which is a kid’s craft site that links to tons of other craft tutorials, kind of a place to find everything.

    http://www.thecraftycrow.net/

    On the left side of the screen on the site is category links to types of crafts and for various holidays. We love some of the advent calender ideas. There is a winter solstice link as well as Hanukkah and Christmas, as well as tons of other stuff.

    One of my favorite blogs that has tutorials is twig and toadstool, which I think is written by a woman who is pagan. Here is the link and a link to a great tutorial on creating a garden goddess for May Day:

    http://twigandtoadstool.blogspot.com/

    http://twigandtoadstool.blogspot.com/2010/04/create-garden-goddess-for-may-day.html

    We love crafts a lot and have a lot of links on our blog on crafts, if you go to my blog, click onto My Lists at the top of the screen and scroll down almost to the bottom and there are crafts and art therapy posts with lots of links to crafts and art therapy projects, tutorials and ideas. Here is the link to it:

    http://kate1975.wordpress.com/my-lists/

    Also if you scroll down on my blog page you will see lots of links to Healing Resources and Healing with Art Therapy, which have some stuff that I don’t think is on one of my other lists.

    As well here is a link to my Pinterest account, I have lots of boards on crafts, craft tutorials, creative healing projects, and creative healing ideas:

    Good and healing thoughts to all of yous.

    Kate

    1. Thank you so much for all the ideas and links! I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to respond. Things have improved and all is well here…the employment insurance finally came, I got a few editing jobs, and we’re keeping busy making a special Moosemas card for Willow from the kids πŸ™‚

  2. I’m very sorry to learn you’ve had such a rough time; and I am especially saddened regarding the situation with your cat. If it makes any difference to you, I am fairly certain that both of your cats will understand the situation and your limitations. It was the spirit of a childhood cat, who died two states away from where I lived at the time, who first nudged me along a Pagan path. Just the same, I wish you and yours much strength and peace.

    Regarding winter-time activities and ideas, I tend to be a little different in my approach. For starters, a freshly-cut tree to display in my home is a no-go. We have a plastic one here, that gets used again each year: I won’t decorate my home for the season with dead / slowly dying trees. Instead, I like to decorate living trees outdoors. I’m cautious with what I use: the idea is to promote life and generosity of spirit, not find squirrels dead from colored tinsel. I know that the following suggestion is still hotly debated in some circles, with ‘scientific evidence’ making its profound case in both directions. Pine cones are still my favorite: I make a nice mix with seeds, whole oats, raisins and peanut butter (using just enough peanut butter to bind the other ingredients); smear the mix into pine cones, and hang the pine cones with some hemp or even raffia. With the peanut butter, I’m also careful to go with name brand, because the higher degree of processing tends to take out more of the bacteria so that it’s safer for birds … just look for stuff that doesn’t have ‘as’ much sugar or salt if possible.

    To further decorate trees, I like to make ‘bulbs’ out of straw. Just take some dried straw, soak it a while to soften it, form it into balls, figures or even snowflake patterns, bind it with raffia or some other natural material, let it dry out and hang it on the trees. Sometimes a bird or two might need some extra straw to warm the nest with. Here, the idea is that the aesthetics appeal more to bird senses than to human senses πŸ˜‰ Try to hang things with a mind that the birds and squirrels might prefer to enjoy out of reach of predators. As with the pine cones, just be careful if you use a ladder to reach the branches, that you don’t fall … a busted hip is no way to spend the holidays!

    Away from the tree (the farther away, the better), leaving some cat or dog food out as an offering for any meat-eating critter who happens to need it is also a nice gesture.

    For the land spirits / faery folk, tobacco offerings are almost always appreciated, in any land I’ve ever been in. The smell is pleasing to them, and the burning of it not only provides them with a little extra warmth and cheer, the very human smell of burning tobacco provides some privacy and freedom from intrusion. For the spirits of the home, an offering of milk (out of kitty’s reach) is a good way to include them in your holiday celebration. Just not too much or too often, or they might take offence at the thought that you are trying to pay them for service … thanks good, payment bad.

    Otherwise, music is good, snuggling under a blanket with someone (either outside, or inside with a nice view to the outside) … basically, any way you can think of to display your generous spirit and tank up on vital soul energy is a great way to engage the season.

    Things will get better: this season should be a reminder of that within itself, as the winter must always precede the spring, and it is always darkest (and coldest) before the dawn.

    1. Thank you so, so much for this very thoughtful comment. I’m sorry for not responding sooner. What you’ve suggested is exactly what we want to do πŸ™‚ We’re planning to make “squirrel balls” and distribute them out in the country on Christmas Eve. Although things have been difficult, the universe has indeed taken care of us. We wanted to have something small for my inner kids to open on Christmas, and we were able to splurge a little πŸ™‚ Things are looking up.

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