Category Archives: Crafts

soy candles and Monsanto

Just like I thought the soy for soy candles comes from Monsanto products. FYI.

When we needed to move back here to Tulsa, Grenwinae was offered a job. Very good pay. It was a contractor working for Monsanto. He turned it down – and I agreed even though it would have suited us far better financially to have accepted.

Just our contact with the company, they tried to hide who they were by having a sub contractor who did all the hiring and who “employed” you even though your insurance would be through Monsanto and Monsanto interviewed you. Dodgy to say the least, which seems to be this company’s M.O.

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Remembering Grandmother

My mothers’ mother owned a cedar blanket chest that ended up at my house. My grandmother was born in Tennessee but after marriage started moving southward, such as Arkansas and eventually settled for most of her life in Louisiana (where she raised her family).

It’s been kicking around here for about 10 years and no other relative wanted it. I think it was probably built in the 1930’s or 40’s and doesn’t hold a lot of historical or intrinsic antique value. It’s an awkward size. Not big enough to be a coffee table, not high enough to be an end table, and it doesn’t have enough historical value to keep it as a treasured family heirloom. My mother, in a fit of pique, put car wax across the lid which never really worked.

grandmotherscedarchest2

I suspect that the chest is made from the Eastern Red Cedar, a tree that grows in the areas where she lived and is a quick growing evergreen that is quite common. This tree should not be confused with the Juniper, even though they have common looking similarities both inside and out. This is where a magical reference or use of Juniper may or may not be applicable to the Cedar.

Both trees can often be found in cemeteries, probably due to it’s growing hardiness, it’s evergreen foliage, and the inner red heartwood. It’s aroma makes the wood repellant to insects so was often used for blanket and linen storage (like this chest). For use, it’s associated with cleansing, healing and purification and is often used in smudging, especially for those that have been ill.

Some time around Thanksgiving I had the idea to have Grenwinae take it apart and build boxes from it. I would give one to my daughter, and if any of my family wanted one, I could have one made for them too. My sister asked for a small box.

I think this is quite fitting as my grandfather, her husband, was a carpenter. Grenwinae worked the wood down using his grandfathers’ table saw, gifted to him by his father.

The cedar smell had become old and musty. Pretty overpowering and kinda disgusting. Luckily, using Coconut Oil removed the musty smell that was so obnoxious and made the wood glow.

I asked Grenwinae to build me a box large enough to hold my Turkey Vulture feathers (or Tarot decks) and Essential Oils.  We haven’t put on any hardware yet so I’m looking for some nice latches, hinges and carry handles for the sides as the box is quite heavy, as the wood was very thick. I am thinking I may also give the exterior a bit of a darkening stain.

Here is the project right now…

cedarbox1

cedarbox2

Making handles for smudging feathers

Grenwinae worked on our feathers and made these beautiful handles for my gifted, Vulture feathers. Since one feather was left handed, and the other right, I wanted to keep them as individuals, not made into a fan. Here they are shown with the tops facing up.

vulture_feathers_for_smudging2b

They were wrapped with dark brown deer lacing. The black and white beads are from Africa and have a large enough opening you could pull the leather through. On my Vulture feathers he put glue down the quill shaft to keep the leather in place while he wrapped it. Here you can see the difference in coloring from the top (dark brown to gray-brown) vs. the bottom (light gray) of the Vulture’s feather.

vulture_feathers_for_smudging1b

My Vulture feathers are a bit battered – they have lived real life! They come from a bird that does an unpleasant job and is sometimes little appreciated for it. Vulture is about inner qualities and not accepting outward beauty as a standard of worth. Turkey Vulture and Black Vulture, ride the thermals, high in the sky and trust in the wind to take them where they are needed and to reveal what they need.

Vulture is about the end of the journey and the final step. Vulture is about transformation, taking the physical and releasing the energy to spiritual form; preparing the body for its next journey; and serving as guide to the spirit’s final transmutation. I found a real connection to these feathers, more than I did to Turkey, during our Owl Ceremony.

Turkey is about generosity and blessings, giving and protecting; in other words a perfect feather for Grenwinaes’ personality! I’ve posted more details about these feathers in an earlier post.

My large beaded handle is a little heavy and Grenwinae wanted his own Turkey feather to be lighter in weight. Turkey feather is wrapped with white deer leather, and the beads are African, with the addition of some silver beading. On his Turkey feather, he used a drop of glue to keep the leather knot at the base of the feather’s quill from coming undone. I love how the pattern on the feather is mimicked by the striping on the beads.

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turkey_smudging_feather_tassel02

If you do an Internet search for “smudging feathers” there are some great websites giving various directions. Most stone, glass or ceramic beads will have too narrow a thread opening so check before you purchase that it will serve.

We will be making some smudging fans later.