Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Project 42: Seahawks Jester Hat and Gauntlets

One of my co-workers at my day job, Justin, is big fan of the Seattle Seahawks. They won the Superbowl last year, and may possibly play in it again this year. Even for a non-sports person like me, it's a little exciting.

Several months ago, Justin asked me if I could make him a jester's hat in the Seahawks' team colours with a logo on the front. I was a resistant to the idea initially. Millinery is it's own field of endeavor for a very good reason. He said he had one he liked that I could use as a pattern, so I agreed to look at it.

I added the widow's peak in front. It looks very fierce.

Hemming the thumb opening forced
me to resort to fabric glue. Boo.
It turned out to be very simply constructed. It consisted of a head band with ear flaps seamed at the back which was attached to a simple three lobed top which was just a front and back side stitched together. I accepted the challenge.

Justin was unable to find a source for just the logo patch, so he bought a baseball cap that had one he liked on it and I had to figure out how to deconstruct the hat to get the logo without destroying it. Once I took a pair of scissors to it, I found I could remove all the surrounding baseball hat material and peel the patch off pretty easily.

I measured the model hat and used my Dritz Styling Design Ruler to create a pattern with symmetrical, attractive curves.

My usual haunt, Pacific Fabrics, had an entire display up front in their store of all their produce in Seahawks colours, which are lime green and navy blue. I picked up some blue fleece and green velveteen and off I went.

Super fan!
Construction was dead easy; nothing too it other than tolerating the ungodly amount of fluff that the velveteen exuded from its cut edges. I was never so glad that I bought a Babylock Imagine serger! By the end of the project I was in a rush to get all the cut edges of the velveteen serged closed while I could still see my carpet! I kid, I kid.

In addition to the logo patch that I harvested from the baseball cap, Justin purchased two commemorative patches from the Seahawks' Superbowl victory that he wanted attached to the earflaps on the hat, but I just couldn't do it. They were too big for the available space and I was afraid they would ruin the look. I felt bad just saying 'no' to something he wanted, so put my thinking cap on and came up with the idea of gauntlets. I could make elbow length gauntlets and attach a championship patch to each one.

And he's single, ladies!
I had enough fabric left over, so I quickly made a pattern from my own forearm, then added some room for his considerably more beefy ones! I thought I would show them to him before attaching the patches to make sure he liked the idea. He loved the gauntlets, but wants to wait on patches until the next Superbowl, just incase he could have one patch from each victory on each arm.

I told him that if any of his friends wanted copies of the hat, that I would make them for $25 plus materials. Bespoke team wear isn't cheap, and Taigh Sheumais Fashions has to put bread on the table too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

House Protection

This is the fourth and last of the enchantments that I designed for my House Blessing / Spell Casting party when I moved to Baile Ard in 1999. See Spell To Attract A Cool Boyfriend for more details on the event.

This business of being a Witch is a funny thing. On one hand, you must have absolute confidence in the truth of your words; so much so that the deepest part of you, where you are connected to the fluid underpinnings of reality will respond and make things as you say they are. On the other, you must have an absolute and unflinching dedication to the truth and that means looking honestly at your failures, taking your lumps, and learning from them.

This spell was an utter failure. Harm, grief, and sorrow were regular visitors to Baile Ard. That's where I woke up on the day that I endured the most sorrowful experience of my life so-far: the death of my Mother.

So, I don't offer this as a good example of protective magic. I offer this rather as a quaint remembrance of a time when I thought a safe home and a well-protected life were much simpler things to achieve.

House Protection 
Take a handful of salt from the kitchen and proceed to sprinkle it on the front or back doorsill while repeating the following charm: 
I cast this salt upon the ground and by this act my spell is bound.Keep out all harm, grief, and sorrow on each today and each tomorrow! I mean this for this sill and door and throughout this house forever more! Heed this charm! Cause no harm! So mote it be!
I have since devised a new domestic ward spell which is far, far more demanding to cast and so-far, more effective.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Kitchen Witchery

This is the third of the four enchantments that I designed for my House Blessing / Spell Casting party when I moved to Baile Ard in 1999. See Spell To Attract A Cool Boyfriend for more details on the event.

My relationship with cooking fundamentally changed while I lived in Baile Ard. I had never been particularly enthusiastic about it, but there was something about the combination of having a place I was proud to invite people, having a kitchen that was open to the living area, and a decision I made not long after moving there that changed everything.

The decision was that I was not going to wait to have a man in my life before making a home. I was going to be a family of one, if that was my fate, and that included homemaking, home cooking, decorating for holidays, and entertaining.

I started off by delving back into my childhood memories of cooking Japanese food with my godmother, Kimiko Sakai, and with her mother-in-law, Botchan-san. I was still vegetarian at that time, but managed to pull together a couple six-course Japanese dinners. I don't know if my guests stopped for burgers on the way home or not, but we had a laugh anyway.

The epitome of my culinary adventures was the Winter Solstice Banquet, which I and my friend Pandora started as a collaboration. There's a little more about that in this post: Happy 10th Ballardiversary!

This transformation of ingredients into food was a new form of magic for me, but the spell that was cast by so many friends that night which led to my embrace of it was classic Seumascraft:

Kitchen Witchery
Take your favorite of the cooking implements from the kitchen and go back and forth between there and the dining table waving the implement and intoning the following:
By wooden spoon and crescent Moon
By spice mill, sieve and knife
By spinach, potato and garlic clove
All foods that nourish life,
All meals and snacks and feasts herein
with any tool employed,
Shall be full-well nutritional,
un-fattening, and enjoyed!
Heed this charm!
Cause no harm!
So mote it be!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Blessing on All Future Guests

This is the second of the four enchantments that I designed for my House Blessing / Spell Casting party when I moved to Baile Ard in 1999. See Spell to Attract a Cool Boyfriend for more details on the event.

Blessing on All Future Guests
This one's a snap! Sit on the couch and hold your drink up as if to make a toast while repeating the following:
On this couch my ease I take
And hereby conjuration make:
All who do likewise from this day hence
Shall never lack for common sense.
They shall not want for food or drink
Nor thoughts worth the time to think
But live in wellness and contentment
Free from worry and resentment.
Heed this charm!
Cause no harm!
So mote it be!

Of all four of the spells, I think I'm proudest of the intent and aesthetic of this one. I had countless wonderful social evenings in that home, and I'm just crazy enough to think that all the times this spell was cast on that Friday evening in June 1999 had something to do with it.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Spell to Attract a Cool Boyfriend

Back in June of 1999, when I moved to Baile Ard, I had a clear sense that I was entering a very special period of my life. I knew that the experiences I had there would be a touchstone for everything that came after. As it turned out, I was right on the money.

I decided that this move warranted more than just a house warming party. I wanted an all-weekend affair, so I decided to hold three events. On the Friday evening there would be a House Blessing / Spell Casting party, followed by a House Warming Ceilidh on Saturday evening, and Survival Brunch on Sunday.

For the House Blessing / Spell Casting party, I settled on four enchantments that I wanted for my new home and I wrote instructions for each and made copies for all the guests. They were free to perform any or all of them in any order they wished. I plan on writing a short piece about each spell, and to start off, here is the one I called: Spell to Attract a Cool Boyfriend.

Gather two friends together and get a condom each. All three wave the condoms over the bed while one recites the following charm. The other two should chime in on the "COME YE NOT" parts! 
I send my voice through time and space
in all directions from this place
And call upon men who themselves love men
to arise and come hither!
lest ye bring honesty
lest ye bring youthful maturity
lest ye bring good health
lest ye bring a sense of humor
lest ye bring faithfulness
lest ye bring a love of all Gaeldom
lest ye bring a recent pay stub
NOW, by this charm so nimbly wrought
and with many gifts from Ikea bought
come hither and shower love on Seumas
and should this work, may he never blame us!
Heed this charm!
Cause no harm!
So mote it be!
That was in June 1999. I met Doug in April, 2001. Considering how many conditions I placed on the spell, I think that less than two years was an exceptional turnaround time.