Saturday, March 31, 2012

Aliens, apprentices and alphas

A little over a week ago, I ended up having a movie marathon.

I rewatched some movies I know I've reviewed on here before:

Lilo And Stitch
Lilo And Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch
Stitch: The Movie
The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I obviously enjoyed those; I wouldn't have watched them again otherwise. ;)

Then I watched one I hadn't watched before. It was "Alpha And Omega" and told the story of two wolves (Kate and Humphrey) who live in Jasper National Park and have known each other since puppyhood, when they were really close. But now that they're grown it matters that Kate is an Alpha and Humphrey is an Omega; especially with the pact Kate's father has made with the wolf in charge of another pack who have moved in to the area, which is for Kate to marry the other wolf's son (Garth). But just as Kate's about to go ahead with the arranged marriage, Kate and Humphrey are captured by the park rangers to repopulate a park in Idaho. So now they need to find their way home so Kate can marry Garth and bring peace to the packs.

I've wanted to see it for ages, and I'm glad I finally got to. It was a great movie; funny in places, sweet in others, and - in my opinion - well worth the wait I had to go through to get to watch it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Just as I thought... (R/WP)

Just as I thought; photo adding is one of the things you can't do on blogger with the older browsers. Damn! Guess I'll have to use the demo mode on Kelly's PC and hope they load quick enough before the session runs out. (That's how I figured it out; checked on Kelly's PC, and I found the button right away). Not fair! I knew something annoying like this would happen! Still, I suppose I should be greatful that I can at least do any posts that don't need photos on my own laptop... Well, when it's not playing up, anyway. *Sigh*

Blogger's update

OK, so I'm updated. I can write posts, and I've even figured out their new way of adding labels and scheduling posts. Now if I can just figure out how you're supposed to add photos with this thing... There's a message that says something about some things not working with my browser (which I can't update, because Jaws can't cope with the updates, and I'm still not in a position to buy the new Jaws). I hope photo adding isn't one of those things that wont work, because I have photos I want to post.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An hour long chat with a 2 year old (PTMI)

"Tori ring back," said a little voice when I picked up the phone.

It was Emma, of course, and my Mam had been coaching her with what to say while waiting for me to answer the phone yesterday (I usually call back since my free time is for up to an hour any time of any day, but my Mam's is only evenings and weekends). Anyway, Emma had picked up the phone and said, "hello Tori," which is what she does when she wants Mam to call me for her. The result was an hour long conversation with a 2 year old (well, I talked to Mam a bit too).

When I asked her if she had fun in playschool, she enthusiastically replied with, "I ride bike," which I'm taking as a yes, since she sounded so pleased about it.

Mam had brought her a Hello Kitty t-shirt that's pink and blue, so - to get her to say it - I asked what she had. "It blue," she said. And that's all she'd say. She can say all the words she needed to (she knows several colours, pink and blue being among them, and can say Hello Kitty; though she does think we're saying hello to someone named Kitty, and when she sees Hello Kitty items usually calls them "Kitty,"... She does recognize that they're cats though; she loves cats and dogs and always has). But all she would say was that it was blue. She's quite obsessed with blue. I'm wondering if we have the beginnings of a favourite colour emerging?

Mam asked how Willow was, so Emma did too. She seemed rather confused when I said Willow was sleeping though. We think she misunderstood and thought I was saying I was sleeping, because Mam said she was looking at the phone as if wondering how she could be talking to me on it if I was sleeping. She soon lost interest in that and started in on the, "what's that?" thing though. Yes, she's in that phase; the one where you bearly get time to tell them what te first thing is before they're asking, "what's that?" again, possibly about something else, or maybe about the same thing.

We were getting her to say words, and I had her say "chipmunk" because I love how she says it. And Mam was messing about with how she enthasizes the "munk" part, and next thing we know Emma says, "monkey!" Guess she thought Mam was trying to prompt her with the start of the word? LOL!

When we got bored of the word game, she still hadn't, "do more," she said. "More words?" Mam asked. "Yes, do more," she replied. Guess she likes that game. I'm thinking that's a good thing; she seems to love things that help her learn new words or skills - like the game where you tell them to jump, hop, etc. I'm thinking that's got to be positive, and hoping she continues to be so enthusiastic about learning once she's in full time school; enthusiasm for education is definitely good!

Anyway, while we were on the phone, Louise (her Mother) sent Mam a text to ask how Emma was doing, so Mam asked her if she was OK. "Yep, OK," she replied. So that's what Mam told Louise; can't say fairer than that, can you? ;)

At another point - when I was talking to Mam herself for a few moments - Emma decided she wanted Mam's attention. After repeating, "Nana," and getting no response, she yelled, "Nana!" Turned out she was trying to get Mam to pay attention to her so she could sit on Mam's lap for a bit, but it didn't half make Mam jump, LOL!

She's started something cute, and nobody's entirely sure why. If you say, "love you," she says, "love you more." So when - as we usually do at the end of the call - Mam told me she loved me, and I said I loved her too, Emma announced, "love you more," after Mam spoke, and "love you more too," after I did.

She had some important news to tell me while she was on the phone; she no longer has a bottle or dummy (pacifier). Plus, she now uses the potty. On Sunday she just announced, "nappy off, go wee-wee," so they took it off, she sat on the potty, and used it. Ever since then she's only had a nappy at night and if they'll be out for a long time. There hasn't been a single accident, and she asks every time she needs to go. When I asked Emma about what she had to tell me, she proudly announced that she can now, "do wee-wee in there," while pointing to the potty. Mam told me she was pointing to the potty, obviously. She's really turning in to a proper little girl now though; no bottle or dummy, and using the potty!

Those are the highlights from my hour long conversation with a 2 year old; I thought I'd post them for anyone who might enjoy hearing about Emma. I hope they made you smile!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A happy birthday to Rita

Today is the birthday of someone I've come to consider a very good friend.

That person, as you probably guessed by the title of this post, is Rita.

So, happy birthday Rita; I hope today is a fantastic one for you, and that your friends and family help to show you what a wonderful and special person you are! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I have no idea what to call this post (FD)

It's another beautiful day; sunny and warm, but with a slight breeze that stops it from feeling hot. It's been lovely like this all weekend!

When I was walking Kero on Friday, I thought what a shame it was I didn't have a way to wash the laundry at home and take advantage of the beautiful drying weather. Thing is, we don't have a washing machine, and quite frankly, I don't know how we'd get one in the gap they've left for one without breaking the cupboards under the sink, and can see how they broke them taking the machine out. So we've been using the laundry place that's a couple of streets away whenever we've needed stuff washed.

Anyway, Saturday morning I said to myself, "they managed to do laundry fine without machines in the past, so I can now." And I washed a load of stuff by hand. I stripped the beds, put fresh bedding on them, and washed the bedding that was on them (including the extra blankets that are now put away since the warmer weather is here). Then I started on the towels. I even made it to starting on actual clothing, though I haven't managed to get much of that done; the blankets take up so much space on our small line that I could only do a couple at a time, then it was taking ages for each one to dry. Anyway, I'm taking a break today, because I need one, but tomorrow I'll get the rest of the clothes washed. And if it's too wet to put them on the line, then I'll stick them on the airer in front of the heater (that was part of why I did the bedding first; socks and t-shirts and things fit on the airer much easier than blankets and sheets, and more of them fit on there too).

My wrist held up pretty well; I expected it to be seriously painful, but apart from the odd twinge I've not really felt anything. Guess I did well with my energy work! :)

But, by yesterday evening I was exhausted. Thankfully I had one of my rare very good sleeps; I slept 12 hours! OK, so I woke up about a gazillion times during the night. But none of them was for longer than 5 minutes. Man did I need that sleep!

Anyway, other than things like dishes, and all those other boring day to day things that nobody likes doing but almost everyone needs to do, I haven't really done much other than working on some knitting while listening to audiobooks or watching movies. Reviews for the books and movies will come soon. Oh, and I made some more cookies.

Writing and time travel courses

For anyone interested, I finished the last batch of courses, and I've now signed up for:

Thriller Genre Writing
Time Travel Theories
Twist In The Tale
Vampire Story Writing
Vamps - Female Vampire
Villainous Characters
Writer's Block
Writing A CV
Writing A Memoir
Writing An E-Mail Course
Writing Books For Children
Writing For Cash
Writing Love And Romance Stories
Writing Mystery/Crime Stories
Writing Science Fiction
Writing Screen Plays

As I've said before - and probably will again - I expect many of them I wont really do anything with. But, hey, they're free! ;)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Local church photos

Thought I'd share a couple of photos of some of the churches around where I live. There are several of them around here. Here's one of them. And here's a view up the main street where you can see another of the churches in the distance. Hope you liked the photos.

Invisible boy, scared owl, and magic roundabout

"The Invisible Boy" by Sally Gardner is a cute and amusing children's story. It's about a boy named Sam, who's left in the care of a neighbour when his parents take a once in a lifetime trip to the moon, because he's too young to go too. He hates it there, and then the shuttle his parents are on vanishes. Things couldn't be worse for poor Sam. Then an alien lands in the pumpkin patch. Can the alien help Sam?

"The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark" is a sweet little story by Jill Tomlinson. It's a story about a little owl who is afraid of the dark. So his parents tell him to find out more about the dark, hoping he wont be so frightened of it if he knows more about it. So he sets out to learn all sorts of things about the dark and why some people like it. But can he learn not to be afraid of it?

Some of you may be familiar with "The Magic Roundabout" which used to be on TV? Well, I recently read the book, which was written by Eric Thompson. It tells the story of Florence, Dougal, and all their friends, and the many adventures they have.The stories in it are cute, and often amusing, but worth a read; especially if you have small children or grandchildren you can read the stories too.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photos from near the ocean

I thought that I would share a couple of photos I took while down by the ocean getting the sunrise photos for Tori the other day. Kelly

Medical Mutterings and Postman Prat

My other dentist appointment (on March 15th) wasn't as bad as the other one.

Where the tooth wasn't as far back I didn't end up with my mouth all cut up, so I wasn't in as much pain when the injection wore off. Although, there was some pain, but it was in the "I can ignore this" range, so I just pretended it didn't exist, and it got the message and went away after a couple of days.

There was a fair bit of pain at first when she was sorting my tooth; the area wasn't numb enough when she started drilling. She'd told me to raise my hand if I felt pain, and I did so so sharply I actually pulled her hand - drill and all, luckily - out of my mouth (though I'm not sure if I meant to do so or not).

And what did she say?

"Oh, did that hurt?"

Well, duh! *Rolling eyes*

Never mind, it's over with now until September (unless something bugs me enough so I decide I can't ignore it, and am forced to make an appointment in the meantime).

***

I hurt my wrist the other day, and feel like an idiot for how I did it.

You know how when you know something will hurt, you don't want to do it to yourself as a rule? Like when you need to pull off a plaster, or put something on a cut that you know will sting it. Well, I was doing the second one, and in trying to fight the urge to pull my hand away, I twisted my wrist funny or something, and actually hurt my wrist doing so. I'm not entirely sure how it happened. I just know I was fighting the urge to pull my hand away, and then there was a sharp pain in my wrist.

It wasn't so much the pain that bugged me - though it definitely wasn't comfortable; I think I lightly sprained it or something. It was more the fact it happened; I hurt my wrist trying to fight the urge to pull my hand away when I was putting something on a sore that I knew was going to sting it. So, in trying not to hurt myself, I hurt myself worse than I would have done otherwise.

Go ahead and laugh; I did!

It's mostly OK now; I've been doing some energy work on it, and as long as I don't lift anything heavy with that hand, or put my full weight on it to push myself up if I'm on the floor, then it's fine now. I still can't believe how it happened though...

***

We have 4 post people (not counting the "special delivery" people). And I'm not trying to be politically correct there, it's just that 3 are postmen, the other is a woman.

Anyway, I like three of them. The woman is lovely; she's always got a smile for everyone and a cheerful "hello"... Regardless of the time of day or weather. Two of the men are great too; not as cheerful as the woman, but nice enough. Those three are helpful with me too; making sure I have the mail in my hand properly, helping me get the dogs in if they slip out, etc. Life would be perfect if it was just those three.

But it isn't.

The fourth postman I've nicknamed "Postman Prat" because he is a total prat. He shoves things through the letterbox even when they aren't going to fit; bending things sometimes in the process (he hasn't done any real damage to anything, but it's still annoying; especially since some of my items have braille on them). He waves things about at me getting annoyed because I'm failing to grab hold of them, etc. And he's afraid of dogs. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no issues with people being afraid of dogs; I'm a bit nervous of large dogs myself (yes, even Willow). But my issue is the way he acts about it. He jumps about screaming "get the mutt away," and "call off the stupid animal," and "help, they're both getting me," and so on. I wouldn't mind so much if it wasn't for the fact that half the time the dogs aren't near him. I know this for a fact, because he manages to get out of the gate, and anyone who knows my Kero can tell you that if you open the gate you're not getting out of it without him unless you have a head start, and even then you better move quickly or you're not going to make it. Also, when Willow is behind me still inside, there's no way they can both be getting him when he's a couple of feet in front of me by the gate. She's big, but not that big; just saying! Plus, though I can't prove it, I'm pretty sure he kicked Kero at one point.

But, I decided to play along and got a babygate to put in the entrance to the porch area, thus stopping the dogs getting near the door unless I allow them through said gate. The first gate didn't work out. We got one that screws to the wall, thinking it would be stronger (also, they give you a wider gap to walk through), but we couldn't get the screws to hold; we tried long ones, short ones, wall plugs, no wall plugs... It wasn't having it. So we filled in the holes and got a pressure fit one instead. We had to get an extension for it, and could do with another; it only just fits, and it would be stronger with another proper extension so the bits you twist don't have to be fully extended... The gate tends to be weaker when those bits are fully extended. But for now it's there at least. So, let's see if Postman Prat becomes less of one once he realizes the dogs can't get at him.

If not, I'll be calling to complain about him, because I'm losing my patience with his attitude. He knows I can't see, and it feels as though he delights in taunting me.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Me and Kero - March 2012, + toddler photos

I just thought I'd share a couple of photos of me and Kero that Kelly took the other day.




If you want to see some baby/toddler photos, go over to my Mam's blog; over the past couple of days she's posted photos of Harrison and Emma. She also has a little bit about how things went during Emma's day in nursery/play group/cylch meithrin (or is it meithryn? *shrugs*)... Just pick one... As well as a photo of her taken while she was there (we assume by her Nanny Jane when she went to pick her up).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Celebrating Ostara 2012

To celebrate Ostara (or the Vernal/Spring Equinox, if you prefer) we baked some flower shaped chocolate chip and ginger cookies, which are pictured below:



Also, I had some cake/chocolate moulds of eggs, rabbits and chicks come with the "Spring Special" that arrived Tuesday morning with my "Baked And Delicious" magazine, so I decided to see if they worked with cookies. The rabbits and chicks didn't (I assume because the dough didn't get in to the moulds as well as a more liquid thing like cake mixture or melted chocolate would) but the eggs did:


Kelly and I also exchanged a chocolate rabbit and egg. Here are mine:



We also had a few walks (the first of which was the one during which the photos posted yesterday were taken). And we had our first salad of this year; even Kelly - who isn't a big fan of salad - had some. The dogs both enjoyed the walks, as well as the bit of cheese they got when we were having our salad. I don't think they knew - or cared - that it was meant to be a holiday though, LOL!

I also started painting some flower magnets, which I thought would be a fun Spring activity to do (especially since I don't have a garden I can be planting things in). I haven't sorted photos of them yet though, because they're only just finished. It may say "10 minuts per magnet" and there may only be 5 of them, but if you want to wait for each coat of paint to dry properly before you do another, then wait for that to dry properly before you paint with another colour, then it takes a couple of days. And, yes, I painted them myself. Not an easy task, but I decided I wanted to do it anyway. Kelly helped with which colour was which though, obviously.

And that's it. I was going to do a meditation ritual, but I got tired - partly due to having a rather random sleep pattern right now - so I went to bed instead, LOL!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

2012 Vernal Equinox moon and sun

I decided I wanted photos of the Sunrise on the Vernal Equinox. So I found out the time, and then arranged for Kelly to help me get photos of it.

The sliver of a moon was still visible as the sun was beginning to show signs of rising, so we grabbed photos of that too:




And here are the photos of the sunrise:












You'll have to excuse the streetlamps in some of the photos; the best place to get photos would have been on the peer, but we couldn't go on it since it's closed (due to a fire; it happened over a year ago, but due to ownership issues the repairs are yet to be carried out).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Story: Meagan's Ostara

By Kat Dyer

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Meagan. She lived with her mommy and daddy, her big brother Corwin and her beautiful cat named Starweaver.

One day in spring Meagan was walking with her father in the woods behind their house. He was showing her some of the plants that lived in the woods. Michael smiled down at Meagan, "Well, soon it will be Ostara Meagan. We will be planting seeds to celebrate. Do you know what kind of seeds you want to plant for the harvest in the fall?" Meagan thought hard. She knew that Ostara was one of the holidays when pagans ask the gods to make the fields fertile so that there would be food for winter. "I like flowers, daddy," she said, "but I wish that I could plant niceness". Her daddy looked confused, "What do you mean?"

"Well," said Meagan, "Sometimes I have a hard time being nice to one of the boys at my school. He's really mean to everyone. I don't like being around him. I know that I should be nice to him even when he's mean to me but it's really, really hard to do. That's why I wish that I could plant some niceness." "Hmmm," said Michael, "Do you want niceness for him so that he won't be so mean, or niceness for you so that you can be nice to him even when you don't feel like it?" Meagan stopped to pick up Starweaver who was rubbing her legs, "I'd like him to be nice to me, but if he won't then I guess that I need some more niceness for me to give to him." Michael nodded,"I see. Well, it wouldn't be right to work magic on him without asking him first." Meagan gasped, "I couldn't do that!"

"No," said Michael, "but there's no reason that you can't plant some niceness for yourself." They turned a corner on the path and started back toward their house. Just then, Meagan's big brother Corwin came racing toward them. "Hey!," he shouted, "Mom's got the eggs to dye for Ostara!" Meagan clapped her hands in glee and jumped up and down. "Run ahead," said her daddy, "Just make sure you save some for me." Meagan and Corwin ran back to the house. They slowed down when they got to the door. It was a safety rule in their family not to run indoors unless it was an emergency. Meagan didn't think that her mother Elizabeth would think that eggs were an emergency.

When Meagan got inside the kitchen she saw her best friend Cindy sitting at the table. Cindy's mom Anna was standing at the stove with Elizabeth. "Hi!," said Cindy, "My mom met your mom at the store and she said we could come over and make Easter eggs with you!"

Meagan slid into the chair next to Cindy. "Cool," she said, "but we're making Ostara eggs!" "Meagan!", her mom turned around, "that's not very nice. You know that Cindy is Christian and not Pagan!" Anna turned with her, "Actually, we don't celebrate Easter as a religious holiday like some Christians do. For us, it's just the day when the Easter bunny comes!

"Here kids, we have special dyes made from herbs for you to use. You should put on these gloves first so that you don't dye your hands!" Meagan and Cindy quickly put on their gloves while Elizabeth and Anna set out the dye pots. There were all the colors of the rainbow. Meagan had learned a name that helped her remember the colors of the rainbow. "Roy G. Biv," she told Cindy,"that stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet." "I know that," answered Cindy, "and I remember that you said red was for fire. Yellow is for air. Green is for earth. Blue is for water." Meagan smiled at her friend. They colored all the eggs and put them in special racks that Corwin had made for the eggs to dry.

Soon it was time for Cindy to go home. "Mom says I can come back on Easter and we'll have an egg hunt!" she told Meagan. "I'll ask my mom if you can spend the night before!" said Meagan. She gave Cindy a hug goodbye.

Meagan couldn't wait for the holidays. Soon it was time to celebrate Ostara. Her parents had explained that Ostara was also called the Spring Equinox. On the equinox the day was just as long as the night. They told her that even though the Christian church had taken a form of the name ostara for their spring holiday, Easter was based on the Jewish holiday of Passover. Christ had been celebrating Passover when the bad people came to take him to jail.

The other members of the coven came to Meagan's house. She and Corwin helped to decorate the circle with flowers. Just before circle was going to start Michael took Meagan apart. "This is for you," he said, as he handed her a big seed that was colored bright pink. "What is it?" asked Meagan. "Well, tonight we will all plant seeds to represent things in our lives that we want to grow over the summer. This is a seed to stand for niceness." Meagan hugged her daddy close. "Thank you" she said. She couldn't wait to plant her seed.

It took awhile for Meagan's seed to grow. Some days it was still hard for her to be nice to people who were mean to her. But thinking about her growing seed helped.

When Easter came, Cindy was sick and couldn't come over to Meagan's house. Meagan was really mad. Her parents reminded her that Cindy didn't want to be sick. Meagan stopped and thought about it. Her parents had sent her to her room because she had gotten so mad that she had been stomping all around the house. She thought about how she would feel if she were the one who had been sick.

Soon Elizabeth came to tell her she could come back out. "I'm sorry mommy," Meagan said, "Could we make a basket to take to Cindy so that she will feel better?" Elizabeth smiled, "I think that that would make her feel much better." She took Meagan downstairs and helped her make a basket for Cindy.

Later they took the basket to Cindy's house. Meagan couldn't go in because Elizabeth and Anna didn't want her to get whatever Cindy had. She stood in the yard and waved up at Cindy's window. Elizabeth came back out, "Cindy said to tell you thank you for the basket. It really made her feel much better. It was very nice of you to think of doing that for her. Especially when you were so mad about her not being able to come over today."

Meagan stopped at the car, "I guess that my niceness seed is growing." Elizabeth smiled, "I guess that it is."

Later that night Meagan lay in her bed with Starweaver curled up beside her. She was still a little sad that Cindy could not come over to hunt eggs. But she felt proud that she had thought of doing something that made Cindy feel better. Her niceness seed was really growing big. All in all, she thought, it had been a good day.

(Click here to see the page that I got the story "Meagan's Ostara" from).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ostara or Vernal/Spring Equinox 2012

I'm afraid with all the things I wanted to post recently I've ended up doing rather a lot of posts today. Don't worry if you haven't the time to read and/or comment on them all. Just have a good day, and if the weather is nice, get out there and enjoy it if you can; the posts will be there if you want to read them another time! :)

A blessed Ostara or Vernal/Spring Equinox to one and all!

Tori and Kero

Hand-Made Ostara Eggs (FD)

There is nothing more enjoyable at the Vernal Equinox than sitting down with your children, grandchildren or neices and nephews and making Ostara eggs with homemade, plant-based dyes. Children are amazed and delighted by the colours you can create with a bunch of everyday ingredients from the kitchen. They love the fun and messy magick, and any concerns about synthetic food dyes is removed.

Certified food dyes (approved by the FDA) may include colours synthesized from petroleum derivatives and coal tar. While some food dyes are based on natural ingredients, many come from things that, although natural, you still may not care to ingest:

Have you heard of carminic acid also called cochineal? - It is a commonly used red food coloring which comes from the dried, crushed bodies of pregnant female scale insects called cochineal (obviously where the name comes from). Now while this is not harmful it may not be something you want to use especially if you are vegetarian or vegan or just a supporter of animal rights - they may be an insect but they still fall under the category of animals :)


By using plant-based dyes at home, for colouring Ostara eggs, not only do you know exactly what you’re getting (no chemicals or bugs), but the colours are far more vibrant and natural than their synthetic counterparts and knowing their source is gratifying on a deeper aesthetic level.

Children seem to find that mashing food up and seeing the resulting colours form, is also much more fun that simply dropping a tablet or a few drops of liquid in a cup.

It can also form the basis of an improptu lesson - on history and nature, as well as the exploration factor - the children get to experiment with which plant materials work in what manner, and can get creative with items from the refrigerator, pantry or garden.

Some of the materials work best when they are boiled with the eggs (see below), and some work well made ahead and used by dipping or soaking the eggs. If you choose to use one of the juices, freshly squeezed and straight is best. However some can be used from canned products and their juices in the can, such as berries and seem to work very well.

Bulky materials can be boiled with the eggs or boiled and allowed to cool for dipping. Obviously the longer you let the eggs soak or boil, the more intense the colours will be (for the boiled versions, remove from the heat and allow to cool in the dye bath).

Of course you CAN use commercial dyes, paints, or any number of other decorative ideas for creating decorative blown Ostara eggs and we will also look at some of these ideas, for those of us who don't mind using synthetic products - as long as we are not going to eat the eggs.

How to Blow an Egg
Here is a quick how-to guide on blowing an egg...

You will need:
Eggs
A scalpel
Bowl
a wooden skewer or long needle

1. Gently swirl the point of your scalpel into the end of the egg, pushing as you go slightly, until it pierces.

2. Repeat at other end but continue to widen the hole at the other end by swirling the scalpel around so it chips away at the sides. Make it large enough to just insert the skewer.

3. Insert the skewer and jiggle it around a little to break up the yolk.

4. Place your mouth over one end, the other end over a bowl and gently blow into the egg. It might take a few puffs before it starts to come out, but once it gets going it will all come out with a few blows. If the yolk appears stuck, shake the egg and try the skewer again.

5. Now hold a finger over the bottom hole and place the top one under running water so the egg catches a little water. Shake it around a little and blow out again.

6. Leave to dry and then they’re ready to decorate.

Tip: If the egg cracks slightly as you’re piercing it, you can still try blowing. Make sure you blow from the cracked end otherwise the pressure will cause the crack to fully break. You can seal it when you decorate it.


Dye Colour Sources:

Red
Red onion skins, use a lot (boil with eggs)
Canned Cherries with Juice
Pomegranate Juice
Raspberries
Madder Root
Cayenne

Orange
Yellow onion skins (boil with eggs)
Cooked Carrots
Chili Powder
Paprika
Dandelions
Orris Root

Yellow
Lemon or orange peel (boil with eggs)
Carrot tops (boil with eggs)
Celery seed (boil with eggs)
Ground cumin (boil with eggs)
Ground turmeric (boil with eggs)

Yellow Brown
Dill seeds (boil with eggs)
Mustard Seeds (boil with eggs)

Brown
Strong coffee
Instant coffee
Black walnut shells (boil with eggs)
Strong Black Tea

Yellow Green
Bright green apple peels (boil with eggs)
Daffodils

Green
Spinach leaves (boil with eggs)
Liquid Chlorophyll
Bracken
Carrot Tops

Blue
Canned blueberries and their juice
Red cabbage leaves (boil with eggs)
Purple grape juice
Black Rasberries

Violet Blue
Violet blossoms
Red onion skins, less amount than you need to make red (boil with eggs)
Hibiscus Tea
Red Wine

Lavender
Diluted purple grape juice
Violet blossoms plus squeeze of lemon (boil with eggs)
Blackberries
Red Zinger Tea

Pink
Heather
Iris Blossoms
Beets, fresh or canned
Cranberries or cranberry juice
Raspberries
Red grape juice

Eggs Symbolism
Below are some traditional symbols used on eggs. In addition to these, you could also use symbols that have meaning in your Path. Pentacles for the elements or earth, the divine, humanity. Cauldrons for rebirth and wisdom. Cups to represent Water: emotion, healing, adaptability. Swords for Air: clear thought, intellect, learning etc...

Geometrical:
Circles: Protection, everlasting life, continuity, completeness. The Sun, and cycles of life.
Triangles: The elements of earth, air, fire and water. Or fire (the alchemical symbol for fire is a right side up triangle). The Trinity. Sun, Moon, and Stars.
Suns: The life-giving, all embracing nature of God, especially as the Sun is seen as the God. Fire and warmth, enchantment, prosperity, good fortune. (It is the most ancient and significant symbol, appearing on almost every Ukranian egg, from a small circle or dot to an elaborate many-rayed affair).
Tripods: Man, Woman, and Child. Birth, Life and Death.
Dots: Usually represent stars. Also can represent the Sun.
Curls: Protection.
Spirals: Mystery of life and death, divinity and immortality.
Crosses: These are usually equal-armed crosses, though not always. Represents the four directions, the four ages of man, the four elements, rebirth and eternal life.

Nature:
Plants: Rebirth and nature. Very popular symbols.
Trees: Strength, renewal, creation, organic unity, growth, eternal life.
Leaves: Immortality, eternal or pure love, strength, persistence.
Flowers: Beauty, children, female principles of wisdom and elegance.
Fruit: Continuity, good fellowship, strong and loyal love, love of the Divine.
Sunflowers: Motherhood, life, love of the Divine.
Wheat: Bountiful harvest.
Stars and Roses: Popular symbols for purity, life, giver of light, the eye of God, the God's love for humanity. Also success, knowledge, beauty, elegance, and perfection.

Animals:
Stags: Leadership, victory, joy, masculinity.
Horses: Wealth, prosperity, endurance, speed and the motion of the Sun.
Rams: Leadership, strength, dignity, perseverance. Ram's horns symbolize strong leadership, dignity, and perseverance.
Horns: Mobility, wisdom, triumph over problems, and implies manhood and leadership.
Bear paws: A guardian spirit, bravery, wisdom, strength, endurance, the coming of spring.
Birds: All kinds, are messengers of the Sun and heavens, pushing away evil, fertility, fulfillment of wishes, good harvest.
Bird Parts: (eyes, feet, beaks, combs, feathers) carry the same meaning as entire birds.
Roosters: Good fortune, masculinity, coming of the dawn.
Hens: Fertility. Hen feet offer protection for the young, and guidance.
Goose feet: Symbols of soul or spirit.
Butterflies: Ascent of the soul, pleasure andfrivolity of childhood.
Spiders: Patience, artistry, industry, healing and good fortune.
Fish: Abundance, sacrifice, regeneration.

How to Hard-Boil Dyed Eggs Method 1.
This is one method to use for Dyed hard boiled eggs, you can use the same method to dye blown eggs as well, you will just need to place a weight over them during the boiling stage to keep them under the dye water.

What You Need:
Eggs
A pot of water
Vinegar
Natural ingredients (see above) for colours

Method:
First of all, plan on only doing about 3 - 4 eggs at a time. You'll want them to have room to bob around in the pan, and not be piled on top of one another. Before starting, poke a small hole with a pin or needle in the end of each egg. This will help keep them from cracking while they boil. You'll really want to have at least a minimum of a dozen eggs, just because it's a lot of fun to experiment with different colours.

Start your water boiling. Use enough to cover about an inch over the tops of the eggs, but don't put them in the pan yet. Add 2 tsp of white vinegar, and bring the water to a boil. Once it's boiling, add 3 - 4 eggs using a slotted spoon (helpful hints: Do not use eggs right from the fridge - allow them to come to room temperature, this aids in preventing cracks and do NOT let your kids drop them in the water. Trust me on this one!). Next, you'll add your coloring material. Here's where it gets really fun!

To color your eggs, add one of the above dye items. You'll have to experiment a little to see how much to add, but try different amounts to get different shades of each color. Once you've added your colouring, allow to simmer for 20 minutes minimum.

After they've boiled, carefully remove the eggs from the pot with your slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to dry. If you'd like them darker, you can allow them to sit over night in the pot of dye, but the vinegar can weaken the eggs' shells. When the eggs have dried completely, dab a little bit of vegetable oil on a paper towel and "polish" the eggs to give them some shine.

Keep your eggs refrigerated until it's time to hide them, eat them, or show them off to your friends.


Remember to never eat eggs that have been sitting at room temperature for more than two hours.

Tips:
If your kids are more into the colouring than the eating of Ostara eggs, use blown eggs and try brushing your colored eggs with a thin layer of glue, and then sprinkling some glitter on top, or you can add beads or other decorations.
Eggs can take on the flavor of whatever you use to dye them, so unless you enjoy coffee-flavored eggs, put some considerable thought into using dyed eggs in recipes. Use a wax crayon to make designs and sigils on the eggs before dying - the waxed area will appear as the colour of the original egg once you've finished.

Creating Hanging Eggs
To create hanging eggs trees, you first need to make a lot of hanging eggs, you can join together as a street, a Coven or these are wonderful for a large scale festival. You could even choose to make a hanging egg tree as part of your families festivities and make new eggs to add to your collection each year. You can then hang them and bring them in and box them away for the following year.

You will need:
Blown eggs (lots and lots)
Dyes, paints, glitters etc
Beads, ribbons and any other decorations you may like to add
Needle long enough to extend the length of the egg

Method:
Blow your eggs as per above method
Dye eggs, paint them or cover them with glitter
Further decorate your eggs in any manner you choose (just remember NOT to cover over the piercing holes used for blowing the eggs as theese will be used to create the hanging section).
When your egg is finished being decorated, thread through it using ribbon and the large needle, thread a bead at the endand knot off, then thread the ribbon back through the egg again, slide a bead onto the other end and tie off leaving a section to hang egg
You can finish off by painting the egg with varnish if you choose to weatherproof it somewhat, however if you are making an indoor egg tree you wont need the added protection (and chemical exposure)

Other Ostara Egg Ideas
Faberge Eggs - The art of creating these detailed, jewelled eggs is something more for adults than for children but the basic ideas can be adapted for anyone.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4963606_make-faberge-eggs.html
http://www.ask.com/food/Eggs/How-to-Make-Faberge-Eggs.html
http://russia.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2009/02/09/how-to-make-a-fake-faberge-egg/
http://www.eggcrazy.com/

Chalkboard Eggs - These are great fun, simply paint the blown eggs with chalkboard paint, and decorate and redecorate with coloured chalk!

Surprise Eggs - Simply Blow the eggs, and decorate but rather than leaving a small hole, make a lager hole at one end, fill the egg with sweet treats such as M&Ms the glue into a colourful paper patty pan to seal the end (be careful to turn the egg upside down during the glueing process and use very little glue to prevent the glue getting onto the sweets - or maybe just stick with wrapped lollies to be safe)

Guilded Eggs - use gold leaf to give your dyed eggs some richness.

Stenciled Eggs - You can make simple stencils from contact, cut out your desired shape and stick on before dying (please note don't use this with boiled dyes - only for use with cold water dyes such as food colouring!)

Marblized Eggs - These are absolutely gorgeous to look at and no where near as hard to make as you might assume. A combination of oil and dye creates a marbled effect on the eggs.

Beaded Eggs - these are very intricate but absolutely beautiful to give as gifts each egg represents hours of work , time and effort, but they could be a challenge for those who find egg dying a little on the borning side.

Wrapped Eggs - Cover your blown eggs in a thin layer of craft glue and wrap the carefully in tissue paper or thin craft paper.

Herb Stenciled Eggs: Lay a leaf or stem of herb against the undyed egg, then wrap the egg in stocking to hold the leaf in place, then dye as susual - this will leave a stenciled image of the leaf or herbs on your egg.

Glitter Eggs - Cover your blown egg in a light layer of craft glue and roll it in glitter, set aside to dry, then repeat this process several times until you have a thick layer of glitter and your eggs sparkle.

Crackle Eggs - This effect can be achieved by using a speciality crackling effect, paint a layer of acryilic paint over the egg and allow to dry, then paint on crackle paint, then again allow to dry, then paint again with a contrasting colour paint, as it dries the crackle effect will become more noticeable (detailed instructions come with the crackle medium) - available from art suppliers

There are so many arty crafty ideas for decorating your Ostara eggs you just have to allow your imagination to flow....

Further Hints and Tips
Using Empty Eggs Shells:
Empty egg shells by themselves are light-weight and fragile. You can strengthen them further by putting on layers of newspaper covered with layers of paper towels . Use white glue, homemade flour-and-water paste or wallpaper paste to apply the paper to the egg-shell, just like when you’re making papier mache.
Before decorating the egg shells, you can cover the holes in the ends with melted wax or with tissue paper and glue.
If the decorated egg turns out to be a masterpiece and you want to preserve it for a long time, evenly coat the egg with thinned white glue, clear nail polish, or spray shellac.
For hanging the egg shells for displaying, you can run a loop of ribbon, yarn, string or wire through the holes. Tie the end to make a hanger for your decorated egg.
Make a stand for your decorated eggs out of a small bottle cap, an empty film canister or a section of a cardboard tube.
If you have any broken eggs , don’t throw them away – you could glue a fuzzy chick figurine inside and make a cute display piece by itself or clubbed with other Easter ornaments, or as the basis for a Faberge Egg.

Using Hard-Boiled Eggs:
Refrigerate the eggs whenever you’re not working with them.
Make sure the eggs you color aren’t cracked. If any crack during cooking, dyeing or decorating, throw them away. Also throw away any eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours (they are not longer safe to eat).
For dyeing the eggs you can use artificial egg dyes or natural ingredients like turmeric, coffee and other day to day items from the kitchen. If you want to try dying your eggs the natural way, see above for more details. If you use artificial coloring, go for specially-made, food-grade egg dyes.
For dyeing you can hard-boil the eggs in the water with the dye, which gives you a less consistent color. It’s great if you like the variegated look.
For a more consistent color cook the eggs separately and let them sit in the dye solution. The longer the eggs sit in the dye, the darker the color.
Place shaped stickers, like flowers, hearts, bugs or other shapes, on eggs before dyeing. You also use celery leaves. After the dye is dry, remove the sticker for a perfect silhouette.
Draw on eggs with a clear wax “magic crayon” found in many decorating kits or use an ordinary white crayon. The wax protects the egg from the dye. After the dye has dried, wash the egg with hot water to remove the wax and try dipping into another color for a cool tie-dyed effect. If you plan to eat the Easter eggs, be sure the label says nontoxic on any crayons, pens, paints or other art materials you use. Or, use edible decorations like herbs.
Wrap a few rubber bands around an egg before dipping it into the dye. After the egg dries, remove the bands, revealing white stripes. Try placing the rubber bands in different places and using another color for a striped rainbow effect!
Add sequins or sparkles to eggs while the dye is still wet to make an egg fancy enough for the diva in every family.

Source:

Ostara activities and rituals (LBE and FD)

* Have a traditional breakfast of buns, ham, and eggs.

* Wear green clothing.

* Place a lit green candle in a dish full of moist earth, let it burn down and then bury the remainders (except the dish).

* Create bird feeders.

* Volunteer at a local animal shelter.

* Make Eostre Baskets together. Try planting kitty grass in a small pot to use instead of that fake plastic grass. It looks nicer, plus you're helping save Mother Earth by using natural items rather than plastic, which gets thrown out and then just sits in landfills for all eternity.

* Decorate your house for Spring.

* Read stories about Easter, Passover, or other Spring themes. Meagan's Ostara is a great one for teaching young children about the Sabbats.

* Talk to your children about Ostara. Tell them the myths and celebrations that are customary for your tradition.

* According to Scott Cunningham, another good option is to go to a field and randomly collect wildflowers. Thank the flowers for their sacrifice before picking them and it is also best to leave an offering to the plant and/or the Earth for taking the flowers, such as some milk and honey, a small crystal or even a coin. Or, buy some from a florist, taking one or two of those that appeal to you. Then bring them home and divine their magickal meanings by the use of books, your own intuition, a pendulum or by other means. The flowers you've chosen reveal your inner thoughts and emotions.

* Meditate on the imagery of the seed.

* Meditate on the season's flowers. Flowers are the sexual organs of plants, consider what this says to you.

* Perform magick to give back to the earth. Raise and send energy to return to the Earth, our mother, some of the bounteous energy and fertility She gives to us.

* Meditate on the Moon-Hare, rabbits provide an obvious symbol of animal fertility and see what comes to you about literal or creative fertility in your own life.

* Honor the spring or Earth goddess or god of your choice, or a goddess or god of balance.

* Light a bonfire at dawn on the Equinox to honor the light half of the year.

* Meditate or perform ritual at dawn or sunset.

* Do a ritual denoting the passing of the year's dark half.

* Use the energy of the time of year as you would the first quarter of the moon. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal.

* Meditate on beginnings, on the East, on air, on dawn. In meditation, note how these symbols connect organically and how you relate personally to them.

* Leave offerings of food and milk for the fairies and other spirits who live in and around rocks and are responsible for the fertility of the land. Leave a few fruits from the last harvest for the nature spirits.

* Perform rituals to ask for balance in your life, and to honor both dark and light.

* Take a walk and look for signs of emerging life in the forests and fields or in a local park.

* Plant early seeds such as peas, lettuce, cabbage family. Start others indoors

* Plan your magickal garden to plant after Beltane

* Pick up litter at your favorite park or beach. Help the earth rejuvenate by getting rid of the mess. Even an hour of cleanup can make a big difference.

* Do a spring cleaning rite/ritual and cleanse your home of negativity and any energies that might prevent you from taking advantage of prosperity in your life.

* Perform oomancy (divination by eggs). To perform the most common form of egg-divination, separate egg whites and yolks. You then drop the white into hot water and divine from the shapes it assumes.

* Celebrate Nawruz, the Persian New Year, which falls on the spring equinox by fixing a special dinner of seven food dishes that begin with ‘S.’ Either look up the names of the Arabic foods that you will want to use or use English words and eat salad, salami, soup, squash, etc. Decorate the table with a mirror, a bowl of water with one freshly-picked green leaf floating in it, a candelabra containing a candle for every child in the house, a copy of the Koran (or other sacred text), rose water, sweets, fruit, a fish, yogurt and colored eggs.

* Draw sprouting leaves on an egg and bury it in your garden to help stimulate your plants.

* Perform magick by planting a seed to grow with your spell. You can use the energy of this time of year to fuel any new project or goal. Think of how you wish to change and grow while planting the seed and watch it flourish as you do.

* Make hot cross buns

* Light pairs of white and black candles, symbolizing dark and light, in different areas of your home. Each time you pass a pair of candles, you can honor the balance of light and dark we find this time of year, and the balance of light and dark within yourself.

* Dye eggs with natural dyes and try decorating them with magickal or other symbols. Ideas for those you can use include runes, astrological symbols, elemental symbols, the Theban alphabet, zodiac/planetary symbols, Ogham writing, Native American pictographs, lunar & solar symbols,stars, pentacles, Egyptian hieroglyphs, God/Goddess symbols, the triscale and more!

* Create an effigy of the dark half of the year and imbue it with the things of winter you’d like to leave behind. You can then either burn it in a bonfire or drop it in the nearest watercourse

* In ancient Italy in the spring, women planted Gardens of Adonis. They filled urns with grain seeds, kept the in the dark and watered them every two days until they sprouted. You can do this yourself with grass seed in baskets. You can then put your decorated eggs on the altar, etc. in your grass filled baskets. Talk about how this custom persists today in Sicily, where women plant seeds of grains–lentils, fennel, lettuce or flowers–in baskets and pots. When they sprout, the stalks are tied with red ribbons and the “gardens” are placed along roads on the Christian Good Friday. They are meant symbolize the triumph of life over death.

* Have each member of your family/coven select a seed or bulb that they wish to plant. Bless them and visualize your plants in full bloom. Then you may wish to invoke each of the four elements necessary for the plants’ growth. You may either plant your items outside, or if it is too cold place them in a pot of soil and pat down the earth (element earth), poured water on it (element water), breath on it (element air) and then hold the pot over a candle (or up to the sun, if you are outside) (for fire).

* Give a potted plant to friends or family for their garden or window sill

* Take time to notice what birds have returned from their winter homes. Place feeders and/or a bird bath out for them.

* Make a growth charm out of a hard-boiled egg — decorate it with symbols, write on it the quality you would like to manifest more fully within yourself, energize it, and then eat it.

* Create ritual garment. Try our easy robe pattern. Embellish it with trims, embroidery, bells, stones, sequins or anything else that strikes your fancy. Save it to wear until Ostara as it was considered bad luck to wear it before then in ancient times.

* Connect with plant energies. Choose a plant and spend time exploring the leaves and stem in great detail, being careful not to harm it. Use a magnifying glass. Feel the textures and inhale the scent of the plant.

* Let the whole family create a dance depicting the rising of new shoots from the Earth to greet the sun. Create your own music with drums, rattles and whistles, or choose music that reminds you of spring.

* Bundle up, spread out a blanket, and watch the sunrise.

* Eat honey cakes and eggs for breakfast.

* Do a spring rite: Take walks in parks, woods or other green areas. Make the walking a ritual in itself. Wear flowers in your hair, or as a necklace, and strew them around and on your alter.

*Toss crushed eggshells into the garden and say: "For fairy, for flowers, for herbs in the bowers, The shells pass fertility with springtime showers."

* Blow out a few raw eggs, color them and fill them with finely ground herbs corresponding to a magical intent

* Research egg magic

* Get outside with kids or friends and play old fashioned games like red rover and tag

* Start clearing out space in your yard for a garden, or getting your garden beds ready to plant

* Buy a new broom for magical or mundane cleaning

* Practice weather magic

* Make paper flowers and use them to decorate your home or altar

* Take your broom outside and use the handle to thump the earth to "wake it up"

* Have an egg hunt

* Learn about the migration of butterflies or the plight of the honey bee. Vow to take steps to help them on their way

* Eat eggs for breakfast on Ostara morning and bury the rinsed shells in your garden to promote prosperity and abundance of your crops

* Try to incorporate at least one traditional correspondence into your daily life through the spring season: cook with seasonal foods, use traditionally colored cloth napkins, display a vase of wildflowers on your table, burn traditionally scented incense, etc.

***

Sources:
http://witchery.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/ostara-activities-and-ideas/
http://www.ravenandcrone.com/catalog/a35/Ostara-Spring-Equinox-Activities-Lore/article_info.html
http://www.examiner.com/domestic-witchery-in-national/pagan-101-activities-for-ostara
http://www.angelfire.com/wa3/angelline/ostara_activities.htm

Ostara or Spring meditations (LBE)

If you have the time - or inclination - why not try one of these...?

***

Earth Meditation

Try this simple meditation to help you attune to the element of Earth. To do this meditation, find a place where you can sit quietly, undisturbed, on a day when the sun is shining. Ideally, it should be in a place where you can really connect with everything that Earth represents. Perhaps it's a hillside outside of town, or a shady grove in your local park. Maybe it's somewhere deep in the woods, under a tree, or even your own back yard. Find your spot, and make yourself comfortable.

What You Need:
A quiet place
A sunny day
An hour of uninterrupted time

Here's How:
Sit or lie on the ground, so that as much of your body as possible is in direct contact with the ground. Use all of your senses to attune to Earth. Relax your body and breathe slowly, through your nose, and taking in the scents around you. You may smell freshly cut grass, or damp earth, or flowers and leaves. Close your eyes, and become aware of the earth beneath your body. Feel the cool breeze blowing by, and allow yourself to become in tune to the rhythms of nature.

Once you are completely relaxed, focus on the warmth of the sun on your face. Imagine that warm golden light being absorbed into your body, through your third eye. Feel the light of the sun warming your head and face, a little at a time, just as the earth is being warmed back up. Imagine this light working its way along your body, traveling through your neck, down into your chest, where your heart chakra is located. Allow it to warm your heart, then traveling slowly down through your abdomen and down to your root chakra.

As this light warms your body, feel it connecting you to the ground beneath your body as well. Imagine this warmth spreading, a golden glow journeying along your legs, your knees, and finally to your feet. By the time the sensation reaches your feet, you should feel as though your entire body has been infused with the warmth and light of the returning sun.

Feel your connection to the earth. Imagine that warmth growing and spreading from your body into the ground. Visualize the awakening roots, seeds, and other life that is just below the surface. Share your warmth and light with them, and feel your own roots growing into the soil. Feel the stability and security of the earth beneath you. Keep your breathing even and regular, and enjoy the sensation of being one with the soil, the grass, and even the rocks below.

***

Ostara Labyrinth Meditation

What is a Labyrinth?
The labyrinth has long been considered a place of magic and introspection. Labyrinthine designs have been found in nearly every major religion, and are an integral part of many ancient cultures. Labyrinths have been found all over the world. They are, in essence, a magical geometric shape which helps define sacred space. A labyrinth is not the same as a maze -- there is only one path in, and one path out.

During the period of the Crusades, wealthy families often built a labyrinth as a way to represent the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Today, they can be built and used by anyone as a tool of reflection and prayer. You can make a labyrinth out of just about anything -- planted flowers, shrubs, or stones for a permanent structure, string or sand or cornmeal for a more temporary one.

When walking through a labyrinth, your body tends to turn back and forth - first you're moving right, next you're going to the left, with a 180 degree turn each time. This causes you to shift your awareness from the right side of the brain to the left, and then back again. It is believed that this is one of the reasons why a labyrinth walk can induce varied states of consciousness.

The Labyrinth as Problem-Solving Tool
To do this meditation, if you don't have access to a labyrinth, you'll need to construct a simple one of your own. You can mark out your labyrinth with tape, string, or paint on the ground. If you're doing it outside, I like to use a trail of birdseed -- it doesn't damage the grass, and the local wildlife cleans up for you afterwards.

Once you've marked out your path, take a moment to meditate on what sort of issues you would like to resolve in your life. Ostara is a time of balance, so one of the great uses for this meditation is that of finding polarity and solving problems. Consider for a moment what problems -- either physical, spiritual, external, or emotional -- you would like to find a resolution for at this time. As you walk towards the center, you will begin working out solutions for your problem.

Take your first step into the labyrinth, walking slowly. Stop after each step, and think. Become aware of your surroundings, and what lies before you, and what lies behind you. Begin by thinking about not only your problem, but what you think of it on an intellectual level. Explore how the problem has come to exist, from a non-emotional standpoint.

As you continue to walk, move on to how the problem makes you feel. What emotions does it bring about in you? Do you find yourself unable to make rational decisions when you're dealing with your problem? What is it about this problem that brings about such an emotional response within you, and WHY does it effect you so much?

As you begin the third part of the journey, move on to how your problem effects you in your physical world. Are you running out of money because of a bad job? Do you have someone in your life who is hurting you? Have you become ill because of your problem?

Continue walking slowly, and examine how the problem has effected your spiritual needs. Do you feel as though you are at a loss in your spiritual path? Does it inhibit your growth as a spiritual person?

As you approach the center of the labyrinth, it is time to begin looking for solutions. If you have a patron deity, you can ask them to take the problem into their hands. You can ask the universe to help with a solution. You can ask for a vision to guide you -- whatever choice works best with you and your faith. As you reach the center, ideas will begin to come to you that will help resolve your issue at hand. When these visions arrive, accept them without questioning or judgment -- even if they don't make sense right now, you can analyze them later on. Meanwhile, accept that a solution has been given to you by a higher power.

Stand in the center of the labyrinth. Ask yourself, "What is the first step? How may I make this solution come to be?" Take some time to just stand -- or sit -- there, and let your solution sink in. You have completed the first part of your journey -- the reaching of a resolution. When you are ready, start making your way back out of the labyrinth.

The Return Path
As you take your first few steps from the center, consider the solution you were given. Look at it in a non-judgmental way, and think of it logically. Is it something you can make happen? Even if it seems difficult or hard to achieve, if you set yourself a goal, it IS obtainable.

Continue walking towards the exit, and keep thinking about the answer to your problem. Consider the deities or other higher power which provided you with this answer. Do you believe they have your best interest in mind? Of course they do -- so be sure to thank them for taking the time to pay attention to you and your needs, and for helping you reach this state of awareness.

As you continue to walk, consider once more your spiritual life. Will this solution allow you to grow or learn spiritually? Will you feel more whole spiritually after the solution has been implemented? What about physically? Will your body and health be affected in a positive way once you begin working towards this resolution? How does the solution make you feel on an emotional level, and how will it effect the negative emotions you felt about your problem in the first place?

As you approach the end of your journey, try to look at your solution from a logical, non-emotional perspective. If you work towards this solution, will it resolve your problem? While it may create more work for you, and be difficult to obtain, will the end result ultimately be worth the effort of making it happen?

Once you step out of your labyrinth's path, take a moment to once again thank the deities or higher power that assisted you. Think, as well, about how you feel as you emerge from the labyrinth. Do you feel lighter, as though you have truly found a way to resolve your issue? Take a deep breath, recognize the new power that you have, and get to work on making the necessary changes in your life!

***

Sources:
http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/dreamsandmeditation/ht/EarthMeditation.htm
http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/dreamsandmeditation/a/OstaraLabyrinth.htm

Ostara symbolism and lore (FD)

Ostara Deities: Eostre, the adolescent Spring Maiden, the adolescent Spring Lord, All Youthful and Virile Gods and Goddesses, Sun Gods, Mother Goddesses, Love Goddesses, Moon Gods and Goddesses, and all Fertility Deities including :Persephone, Blodeuwedd, Eostre, Aphrodite, Athena, Gaia, Cybele, Hera, Isis, Ishtar, Minerva, Venus, Robin of the Woods, the Green Man, Cernunnos, Lord of the Greenwood, The Dagda, Attis, The Great Horned God, Mithras, Odin, Thoth, Osiris, and Pan.

Symbolism of Ostara: Renewed promise of life, The Union of the Goddess and the God,
Fertility, and dispensing of the old and making way for the new.Resurrection of life , The Season of Rebirth

Symbols of Ostara: Eggs, bunnies, new moon, butterflies, cocoons, dragons, flowers,trees.

Colors: lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. Other appropriate colors include green, all pastels, Robin's egg blue, violet, and white.

Ostara Foods: eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

Plants and Herbs: acorn, broom, celandine, cinquefoil, crocuses, daffodil, dandelion, dogwood, elder, ginger, Gorse, honeysuckle (woodbine), iris, jasmine, jonquils, irish moss, lavender, lemon balm, lilac, Lily, lily of the valley, lovage, marjoram, meadowsweet, narcissus, oak, oakmoss, olive, orris root, peony, rose, rose hips, sage, snowdrops, strawberry, tansy, tarragon, thyme, trefoil (purple clover), tulip, vervain, violet, willow, woodruff and all spring flowers.

Incense: jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon's blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.

Gemstone: agate, amazonite, amethyst, aquamarine, bloodstone, clear quartz crystal, garnet, lapis lazuli, moonstone, red jasper and rose quartz.

Spellwork for Ostara: Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility, balance and abundance

Animals and Mythical Beasts: rabbits,snakes,unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus

Candle Colors: Yellow and Green.

Tree: The Alder, a tree sacred to the God Bran, who is said to protect the British Isles. Trees are very
important to Witches, and indeed important to us all. They are the lungs of the Earth, purifying the very air we breathe as they shade us and protect us.

Taken from this page.

Everything you need to know about the Vernal or Spring Equinox

"Here’s what we all know about this equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising earlier now, and nightfall comes later. Plants are sprouting. Winds are softening. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, people are enjoying the warmer days of spring. South of the equator, autumn begins.

What is an equinox?
The equinox is an event that happens in Earth’s orbit around the sun. Simultaneously, it happens on the imaginary dome of our sky. The imaginary celestial equator is a great circle dividing the sky into northern and southern hemispheres. The celestial equator wraps the sky directly above Earth’s equator. At the equinox, the sun crosses the celestial equator, to enter the sky’s northern hemisphere.

Our ancestors didn’t understand the equinoxes and solstices as events that occur in the course of Earth’s yearly orbit around the sun. But they surely marked today as being midway between the sun’s lowest path across the sky in winter and highest path across the sky in summer.

Today, we know each equinox and solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and ceaseless motion in orbit.

Because Earth doesn’t orbit upright, but is instead tilted on its axis by 23-and-a-half degrees, Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres trade places in receiving the sun’s light and warmth most directly. We have an equinox twice a year – spring and fall – when the tilt of the Earth’s axis and Earth’s orbit around the sun combine in such a way that the axis is inclined neither away from nor toward the sun.

At the equinox, Earth’s two hemispheres are receiving the sun’s rays equally. Night and day are approximately equal in length. The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night).

But, since Earth never stops moving around the sun, these days of equal sunlight and night will change quickly.

Where should I look to see signs of the equinox in nature?
The knowledge that spring is here – and summer is coming – is everywhere now, on the northern half of Earth’s globe.

If you live in Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, you’ve likely been noticing the earlier dawns and later sunsets for some weeks now.

Also notice the arc of the sun across the sky each day. You’ll find it’s shifting toward the north. Birds and butterflies are migrating back northward, too, along with the path of the sun.

The longer days bring with them warmer weather. People are leaving their winter coats at home. Trees are budding, and plants are beginning a new cycle of growth. In many places, spring flowers are beginning to bloom.

Does the sun rise due east and set due west at the equinox?
Yes, it does. And that’s true no matter where you live on Earth, because we all see the same sky.

No matter where you are on Earth, you have a due east and due west point on your horizon. That point marks the intersection of your horizon with the celestial equator – the imaginary line above the true equator of the Earth.

At the equinoxes, the sun appears overhead at noon as seen from Earth’s equator.

That’s why the sun rises due east and sets due west for all of us. The sun is on the celestial equator, and the celestial equator intersects all of our horizons at points due east and due west.

This fact makes the day of an equinox a good day for finding due east and due west from your yard or other favorite site for watching the sky. Just go outside around sunset or sunrise and notice the location of the sun on the horizon with respect to familiar landmarks.

If you do this, you’ll be able to use those landmarks to find those cardinal directions in the weeks and months ahead, long after Earth has moved on in its orbit around the sun, carrying the sunrise and sunset points northward.

So enjoy the 2012 spring equinox on March 20 – an event that happens on our sky’s dome – and a seasonal marker in Earth’s orbit around the sun!

Source: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/everything-you-need-to-know-vernal-or-spring-equinox

Monday, March 19, 2012

The New Death And Others - Free On Amazon (for a limited time only)

I'm not sure if you remember, but... I recently read and reviewed a copy of an ebook called "The New Death and others" by James Hutchings. Well, this weekend I got an e-mail from James telling me that it's being offered free "for a week or two" on Amazon. So, if you're interested in getting your hands on a free copy, the Amazon link is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005Q8Q8DY.

Emma-Jane is 2 years old! (FD)

Emma was 2 yesterday.

Can you believe it? Where has the time gone? Where has that little baby gone?

I wanted to write a post about all the things she does now; how she dances to music (and will likely be put in dance classes in a year or so), how she loves the song "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" (she's a better dancer than singer, by the way, lol) and loves star shapes. How her favourite fruit is a kiwi, though she also loves grapes. And she can already say words like "chipmunk" and "gorgeous" more clearly than some 4 year olds I've known. But to list all of it would take too long.

So, instead I'll just say that I hope her life is full of love and laughter, and that she remembers what a wonderfully special little girl she is.

She starts "Cylch Meithryn" today (I think I spelled it right; it's not something I've needed to write for several years). That basically translates to "play group" (though that's not the literal translation; I believe that would be "infant circle"). But, anyway, today's her first day; the first step out in to the big wide world!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mother's Day wish for luck, peace, life and love

Today is Mothers' Day in the UK. So I want to wish my Mam a very happy Mothers' Day.

Sorry I couldn't be there to make it special, but I hope the card I made helps; with a rainbow for luck, a butterfly for peace, a flower for life, and a heart for love.

Flower babies

In the story of Thumbelina, the woman who will become Thumbelina's Mother goes to see a witch, and the witch gives her the flower that Thumbelina comes from. She goes to see her because after years of trying for a child, she's had no luck.

So, I was just wondering...

Does anyone know where I can find that witch?

Also, do you know if she has bigger flowers? Maybe one of those really big sunflowers?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

6WS - March 17th 2012

"OK, where did this week go?"

Those are my 6 words for this week; I'm playing along with Cate and co at www.showmyface.com. Feel free to join in with your 6 words too!

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 cards and 2 health issues

I thought I'd post a couple of photos of the cards I made recently.



The one with the big flower and the three butterflies is a get well card for my Grandma, who had a knee opperation at the start of the month; she appears to be recovering well from it, though I dare say she'd appreciate any healing energies/prayers you may want to send her way. For those who knew her when she was on the blogs... It's the one with the Yorkshire Terrier she had from us; Jayde Bramblerose (Jayde being the Yorkie... My Grandma's name is Muriel).

The one with the flower, heart, butterfly and rainbow is a Mother's Day card for my Mam (it's Mothers' Day here on March 18th). The other two are birthday cards; one for an online friend, one for my brother, Wayne.

I also made this one:


It's a get well/thinking of you card for my Mother-In-Law, Jenifer, who we recently learned is battling cancer. It's hoped they've managed to remove it, but it's too soon to be sure. Any positive energies/prayers to help that along would be very much appreciated.

Anyway, back to the cards...

I made a birthday card for an online friend:


I also made a new home card for my Mam:


Those are all I've made recently, though I expect there will be more before too long. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Birthdays, and swimming in the ocean

Bethan, the daughter of a family friend, celebrated her 13th birthday on March 7th. My friend Anna celebrated her birthday on March 8th. AliceKay's grandson, Ryan, celebrated his birthday on March 10th. Yesterday (March 14th) my friends Lynn and Betsy celebrated their birthdays. And today (March 15th) my big brother, Wayne, celebrates his birthday.

So, a very happy - though in most cases late - birthday to all of them!

***

Usually things about Willow appear in her posts on Kelly's blog, but this time I decided I'd post about what happened on Sunday myself.

Sunday was a beautiful day, and Kelly had been having trouble persuading Willow to actually swim in the ocean. She loves to swim in the river, but nothing he could do would persuade her to do more than paddle in the ocean. He hadn't tried going in with her though, so I decided I'd try that. So, I dressed in shorts, t-shirt and sandals, and the four of us set off for the beach. Kero doesn't do water (especially not water that chases him) and Kelly wasn't eager to go in the water either, but I was happy to. With this in mind, when we got to the beach we swapped dogs, and Kelly stayed up the beach a bit with Kero, the camera, and my cane (I didn't think the salt water would do it any good; it's useless on the beach anyway... Too many stones, and nothing to follow to keep me going straight). Meanwhile, I took the plunge with Willow.





It might have been one of those beautiful days that whisper of the promises of the Summer, but apparently someone forgot to tell the ocean that, because it was FREEZING!

People were fishing a little way out, and people were laying about on the beach, but I'm pretty sure I was the only person daft enough to be playing in the water. LOL!

Anyway, while I was holding her head up so she didn't get splashed, and while I only expected her to walk about in deep water, Willow was fine. But as soon as I tried to get her to lift her paws to swim... Well, that was another matter. She got scared and tried to go back to shallower water. I tried until my legs were numb with cold, went out of the water to get feeling back in my legs, then tried again. She was having none of it. I would have kept trying (I was having fun, even if she wasn't) but we'd been there for about an hour, Kelly was getting bored, and Kero was rather upset about my eagerness to keep being in the wet stuff. And Kelly couldn't just take Kero home, because I can't do the walk to and from the beach by myself yet.

I know Willow had no issues with the water temperature. For one thing, she only minded if the water hit her in the face (she hates her head splashed) or if I tried to persuade her to lift her paws more than essential for walking while in the water. For another thing, I've known her to swim in half frozen rivers (which even I would think twice about being in). Which just leaves me with the theory that she hates the way it moves or something. I'm thinking the fact I had to let go of her head for her to be able to attempt to swim - thus removing the protection I was giving her from the splashing of the waves - may have also contributed to her reluctance to actually swim in the ocean. Like I said, she was happy to paddle, and she didn't mind going up to her neck with me (well, didn't mind it too much; at least, not as long as I kept hold of her head and shielded it from the waves), but there was no way that dog was swimming; I really tried!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Recent re-reads

I recently re-read "Stonehenge" by Bernard Cornwell. It's one of my favourite books. It tells Bernard Cornwell's version of how Stonehenge may have come to be built. I've now read it several times, and always enjoy joining Saban as he spends his life attempting to build the temple his brother, Camaban, insists the Gods want built.

I also recently re-read a few of the books from Terry Pratchett's "Discworld" series. I'm reading them in a very random order at the moment, because my cassette copies broke (listened to too many times I guess) so I'm replacing them as and when I can on CD, ending up grabbing them in random orders. Mind you, I wasn't totally up to date anyway, I had most of the first 29 books, but I had nothing after that, bearing in mind there are now 39 of them. Anyway, I recently re-read books 6, 23 and 29; "Wyrd Sisters,"Carpe Jugulum," and "Night Watch." I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I love the Discworld books, and encourage anyone who hasn't done so to read them; especially if you're a fan of fantasy novels!