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Making Runes

My interest in runes began when my sister lent me The Book of English Magic. One of the topics it covers is the runes. It briefly describes their history, meanings, how to use them and how to make a set. My sister had access to wood and tools through her work, so she made me a set.

I was interested in learning more about runes and how to use them, so I installed an app on my phone that popped up a notification each day describing the meaning and associations of a random rune. After a few weeks I had learnt the names, symbols and meanings of most of the runes, and I was ready to start using them.

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Harris Tweed Handbag

My handbag finally gave up on me after three years of daily use. The handles had been fraying for months, the lining had torn, the out fabric was wearing thin, but I still carried it with me every day. When the handle broke away from the bag, there was no way I could keep using it. I had to accept that it had come to the end of its life.

The good thing about losing a handbag is getting a new one, and I had been looking forward to owning a handbag that wasn’t falling to pieces. As my old bag died at the end of January, there were still sales in the stores, so we went to have a look. I didn’t like any of the bags I saw at the shopping centre, they were mostly made from plastic and covered in gold fixings, not to my taste at all. I knew I could make something for myself that I would like a lot better, and it would also be much cheaper.

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Moroccan Chickpea Stew

We were a bit short on cash this weekend, but our cupboards were well stocked with essentials, ridiculous amounts of flour and an immense amount of spices, I took the opportunity to challenge myself to feed the family for the weekend using mostly what we already had at home.

I usually plan recipes and shop for them, leaving the kitchen full of left over bits and pieces of store cupboard stuff, oddments of vegetables and a small collection of living herbs on the windowsill, but we never keep things that are used once in their entirity such as jars of sauce, cans of beans or most vegetables that are usually purchased in the amount required for a dish.

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Defining Magic

Recently, I attended a fascinating discussion about the definition of magic and how it fits in with scientific investigation. I found it really interesting and I’d like to share some of the points here.

When we talk about magic, most people have some idea what we mean by this word. Images of wizards, witches or stage magicians come to mind, and we understand magic to be some form of manipulation of the physical world by means that cannot be explained by the usual laws of physics. Whether we’re talking about magic tricks or magic spells, we’re generally looking causing some effect that seems to be physically impossible. We also tend to expect that if we perform the same trick or spell, we’ll see the same physical result.

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Observations and New Perspectives

Since my life has been turned upside down I’ve started to look at a lot of things in a different light. It’s been enlightening, unsettling and really quite great.

I’ve spent most of my life thinking that good things happen to other people, and that I’ll always be stuck or trapped or held back in some way. I’m not sure why I felt this way, sometimes it seemed like I didn’t deserve any better, other times it seemed like I just didn’t have the resources to get any further. Either way, it wasn’t a very useful or fulfilling mindset to live with.

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A New Direction

Until recently, I was a stay at home mum. I spent most of my time taking care of the house, picking the kids up from school, cooking, and doing the odd bits of knitting and sewing. I was getting a bit restless and was bored with being in the house all day. I don’t drive, and there’s nowhere very exciting to go near to my house by yourself, so I felt a bit stuck in the same old pattern. This year, that all changed.

My other half, also known as his lordship, decided to leave his job and become self employed. He is a talented web developer and has always wanted to work for himself. He was also feeling stuck in a pattern in his job. A window of opportunity opened to him and we thought it was worth taking.

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Getting Back Out in the Garden

The weather in the UK has finally cleared up and warmed up enough for us to get back out into the garden. Hurray!

Today, we have got most of the clearing out and setting up jobs done. Here’s what we achieved:

  • Broke up old rabbit hutch, broken grow houses and storage thingies that were of no use to us.
  • Took these and some other things to the tip.
  • Swept and cleared the paved areas.
  • Rearranged plant pots and tubs that had been randomly plonked down when we moved in 18 months ago.
  • Repotted two trees (eucalyptus and twisted hazel) that were in large tubs that didn’t drain, adding drainage holes and fresh compost.
  • Built the new wooden grow house and cleared a pile of dirt out of the place it now lives.
  • Raked over and removed remaining weeds from the area we did manage to rotavate.
  • Rebuilt the kids’ bike storage tent.
  • Packed everything that was left outside into the shed finally.
  • Emptied waterlogged compost bags onto the veg patch to be rotavated in.

What’s left to do:

  • Rotavate the rest of the veg patch.
  • Weed the herb patch and the pots and tubs.
  • Plant some things out that have been waiting in pots all winter.
  • Rotavate the end of the garden where brambles and weeds have taken over.
  • Plant fruit trees at the end of the garden and surround with grass seed.
  • Sow seeds.
  • Chop up leftover wood from the apple trees we cut down last year.
  • Build a circular seating area with chopped up wood and the mound of earth that remains from the lawn we dug up last year.
  • Sow grass seed on the seating area.
  • Remove horrible plants from the side of the path.
  • Transplant rose bushes from the front garden.
  • Grow vegetables.

I’m pleased with our progress, but there’s still a lot to do. I am excited to get this all done, and I can’t wait to share the pictures of our lovely garden when it’s done. I’m really looking forward to gardening this year, and hopefully we’ll have better weather and a much better harvest than last year.

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March Madness

I had hoped to spend at least some of March out in the garden sowing seeds and tending to herbs. Unfortunately Mother Nature knew better. We’ve had freezing weather and several snowfalls. There are still snowy patches out there covering large areas of my garden and it’s been trying very hard to snow all day.

Last year’s gardening weather was terrible. Every time I planted seeds or seedlings, we had torrential rain and almost nothing grew. For parts of the summer my garden looked more like a pond than a veggie patch.

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Tie Knot

Moss Stitch Tie – Free Pattern


My brother asked me to knit him a tie. He chose the yarn (a cheap acrylic) and described how he hoped it would turn out. I had previously knit him a wool tie in stockinette stitch that curled terribly, and he wanted one that wouldn’t curl. I assured him that moss stitch was the way to go and started knitting. A few inches in, he told me he wanted a “flat bit” at the end. He wanted a few rows of stockinette to make a neater edge. He could have told me that at the beginning.

I stuffed the unfinished tie into my yarn storage box and forgot about it. Then his birthday came around and I thought I would be nice to him. I ripped out the original tie and started again with the “flat bit” he had asked for. Here’s the result, along with a free pattern in case you also have a fussy brother who wants a hand knit tie

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