A Pinch of Magic

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Bibbity Bobbity Boo

Bibbity Bobbity Boo

I have been asked, “Gotha, why is your blog titled, The Pinteresting Life of Gotha Stewart?”, well the answer is simple. When I decided to start this blog I told my husband I wanted to call it “Bitches Be Pinning”. He immediately replied, “I will divorce you if you do.”
Since I have already invested eighteen years of my life with this man and he is the one who kills the spiders that get inside the house. I decided to come up with a different blog name. My friends are all the time telling me, if the evil world had a Martha Stewart it would be you. That is the direction my mind went to find another blog title, so later that day ‘The Pinteresting Life of Gotha Stewart’ was born.

That being said, today’s post is not even about a pin I saw on Pinterest, (oh the horror). This is a pin I, myself pinned. It was just a photo of the finished project that I uploaded to Pinterest. Since several people have asked me how I made it, I decided to share the how-to.

We have this giant oak tree in out back yard, I call him the mighty oak. Yes I do talk to him. If I don’t he throws acorns on me as I try to relax and read in his shade. Mighty oak tends to lose limbs during bad thunderstorms. One day while picking up limbs after an extremely bad storm I picked up this one good size stick. The first thing that entered my mind was, Gandalf from LOTR. I turned to the husband, shouted, “You shall not pass!” then struck the earth with the bottom of the stick. The husband looked at me, shook his head and said, “to bad it’s not a broom, you could fly off.” Oh he thinks he is funny. He’s not.

The mind started working. I saw this stick transformed to a magical staff any sorcerer or sorceress would be proud of.


 

How-to Magical Staff

What you need:
An awesome stick from an acorn throwing tree. (any good size fallen limb would work)
Wood burning tool
Sandpaper
Screwdriver or something to scrape away bark
Sealant
Imagination
Gemstones (optional)
Jewelry/craft glue (if using gemstones)
Small jewelry charms (optional)
Cooking twine (for charms and gemstone)
Nail polish or marker (if using gemstones)
Sharpie
Small can of light wood stain
Eye of newt (not really)
Tongue of goat (not really)
A sarcastic husband who thinks you are incapable of using a wood burning tool (optional)

I already had all the items on hand. Except eye of newt and tongue of goat. I began working naked under the light of a full moon, not really, it was full sun and I was fully clothed. Since we just experienced a bad storm the night before I had to lay the stick in the sun to dry. This took a few days. I did almost all the work on this project outside, due to messiness and chemicals used.

After drying I used a flat head screw driver to scrape off the bark. My plan way to scrape all the bark off, cut off any lumpy bumpy places and smooth the whole thing down. I decided against that after realizing all those things were what gave the stick character. I did remove the bark and sandpaper from places where I was going to burn symbols. This took a week, mainly because I was working a lot of hours at the time and was hardly home. I must warn you, there could be tiny bugs coming out of the stick as you work. The stick at one time was a living limb that housed living things. Nope, not creepy at all.

After the scraping and sanding was complete I got down my trusty book, “The Happy Homemakers Guide to Sorcery and Pot-Luck Potion Swaps.” Not a real book but what an awesome Gotha Stewart prop that would make. I did use books and go online looking up magical symbols to use. It’s not like anyone has ever accidentally conjured up a demon that way. Right? (See Buffy, season four episode four, “Fear, Itself”. To see how things can go wrong using symbols from books. Last scene in episode is great.)
With the sharpie I drew the symbols I wanted on the stick. Using the wood burning tool I burnt those symbols into the stick. Some symbols I had to burn a few times to get them deep and dark enough to be seen. FYI this is not a project for children, unless they are enrolled in Hogwarts, even then they would still need adult supervision on this project.
Once the symbols are burnt you can now stain the staff. At this point I feel it should no longer be called a stick. I used a paper towel to apply the stain, I only stained a few places. I wanted the staff to have a used well worn look and feel.
Once you have the staff looking how you want it. Now get out your can of spray sealant and spray away. I did several coats. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Now is time for gemstones. A few years ago the husband and I took a day trip to the mountains. We stopped at a roadside gem mining stand. You buy a bucket of rocks, sit at a flume with running water, use container with a mesh like bottom and proceed to find gemstones. We ended up with a huge bag of gemstones.
I played around with placing gemstones in the ‘fork’ of the staff until I found the perfect one. I then used craft glue (E-6000) to glue it in place. This stuff has a strong smell. Make sure you are outside or in a well ventilated area. I then glued a pointed stone to the tip of one of the ‘prongs’. That area was not the most secure place and the glue did not have much area to grab onto. So I applied glue the bottom end of the stone and the first inch of the stick then I wrapped cooking twine where the glue was applied. Once completely wrapped to my liking I started dabbing more glue on the outer part of the twine. Once dried I was not happy with the look of the twine, it was orange and black striped. I had this dark purple nail polish that was left in my car. The heat had thickened it up to the point I could not use it as fingernail polish. I coated the twine in it. To finish it up I tied a bundle of charms to the staff. I went overboard with the charms. I will probably take most of them off and just settle on three to leave dangling. I will also use a different color twine to tie them with, maybe a solid color.
staff close up

So there it is. The making of a magical staff. It is now ready to use as a magical prop, or to dazzle your friends at conventions or banish a demon hiding under a dwarfed mined mountain.

A little over five foot tall

A little over five foot tall

I wish I had taken photos of the whole process. As I sit here typing this the wind is picking up outside, maybe a storm is blowing in. If the Mighty Oak loses another awesome limb maybe I will make another magical staff and take pictures of the process this time.

I hope this has inspired the magical person inside you to make you own staff if so, please share your experience and photos with me.

Thanks for visiting now off you go, there’s pins out there in need of pinning!

Meatball Adventures

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cooked meatball 1

I’m trying to cut pasta out of my life. Trying is the key word. So I have been searching for recipes to try that will still give me a bit of the foods I miss. I found a recipe on Pinterest for meatball sub casserole. I am also cutting back on breads but pasta has to go completely. Pasta is an addiction for me, I cannot have a little, I cannot control myself. I have to say bye to it completely.

Meatball Sub Casserole

Ingredients:
1 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch thick slices
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1-lb. pkg. fully cooked frozen meatballs, thawed
1 (28 oz.) jar pasta sauce

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Toast bread slices
Arrange bread slices in a single layer in an 9×13 baking dish.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise and seasonings.
Spread mixture over bread slices.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
Layer in the meatballs.
Spoon sauce over meatballs and cheese mixture.
Cover with remaining cheese.
Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes.

I did not use a whole loaf of bread, I used less than half. After toasting a few slices I tore them to good size pieces to line the bottom of casserole dish. The cream cheese I used was actually a product that is new to me, it’s half cream cheese and half Greek yogurt.
I mixed it with the mayo and seasoning. It was not an easy process spreading it over the bread. But I powered through and got it done. I assembled the rest of the casserole, threw it in my trusty oven and baked away.

uncooked

While the meatball sub casserole was baking I used that time to go through my make-up case to see if any items needed to be replaced. When I say make-up case I mean my horror/zombie make-up case. I should probably be ashamed how much horror make-up I have but the dark side of me feels no shame. One day I will show you what all I have in that case. My everyday make-up? I hardly wear any, when I do it’s lipstick and mascara. In case you are wondering, all the make-up was good only thing that I need to replenish is my liquid latex. I’m down to one bottle of blood but that should get me through my next zombie walk. That took up the 35 minute bake time. I checked the casserole the cheese had not browned any so I baked it 10 more minutes. That did the trick.

How was it? My husband loved it! He ate two plates of it! I was not a fan, mainly because I’m not a big cream cheese or mayonnaise person. Now I did love the meatball, sauce and mozzarella. Those three baked together paired with a salad is a meal I could get behind.

The pin I found on Pinterest led me to The Country Cook blog. You can find the recipe I used there. She has pictures to take you through every step if you need them.

Giving up pasta is not easy but I was able to kick my artificial sweetener addiction so I can conquer this pasta addiction…maybe.

cooked meatball

Making Lavender Oil

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Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Yhyme and Rosemary are in the background

Lavender steeping in oil. My Lemon Thyme and Rosemary are in the background

Last summer was the wettest summer my area had experienced in many years. Most of my plants and vegetables could not handle all the rain being dumped upon them. I lost all of my vegetables except the pumpkins, my lavender plants suffered horrendously as well.

Once I realized I was losing my lavender plants I waited on a dry day. We didn’t have many. I then harvested every bit of the lavender as I could. Once picked I wondered how was I going to preserve this smell-tastic plant.

I decided to make lavender oil. I also made rosemary and lemon thyme oil. To make the oil is easy. But it is a long process. I know how to make the oils, been doing it for several years. I decided to check out Pinterest to see if I could learn anything new about the process. What did I learn? Seems there are a whole lot of ways to make herbal oils. Some of the things I read made me go, “WTH?” so I left Pinterest deciding to go with my own way of doing it.

When I was a teen I spent some time with a family I knew. The grandmother had been raised deep in the North Carolina mountains. I must tell you her upbringing was very interesting, oh the stories she told. She shared a lot of her knowledge with me, my young short attention span mind tried to soak up as much as it could.
I have remembered a few things, some of them useful, some strange wives tales and a little bit of stuff my family did not approve of.

Two main things have been put to use many times over the years. One was how to ‘read’ cards. Yes I can tell your future with a regular deck of cards. Am I accurate? Who knows? I did it for fun in my younger years. I rarely read cards anymore but the knowledge is still there. Taking up space in my brain that more useful stuff could be occupying.

The second main thing I learned was how to make herbal/essential oils. I will share that knowledge with you now.

Sunlight is a no-no. Some Pins I read required the oil concoction to steep in sunlight. I was taught you must let it sit in a dark cool place for a few weeks because heat from the sun would destroy the essential oils in the plants. Is this 100 percent true? I don’t know I do know the woman who taught me had been doing it that way her whole life and her mother before her and her mother before her and so on.
Any oil can be used but if you are wanting to capture the scent of a plant use a light scented oil. I did go against this bit right here, only because the only oils I had on hand were olive and coconut. Coconut is a solid like lard so I used the olive oil. It was a light olive oil so the smell was not as strong as most olive oils. The olive oil scent was still pretty noticeable. But I was able to make it work. Now if you are making oils for taste/cooking nothing beats rosemary steeped in olive oil. Yummy.

The lavender oil turned out rather nice, with the olive oil having a noticeable I had to repeat the process twice. Now I must warn you homemade essential oils are not going to smell as strong as store bought essential oils. Even though the smell isn’t strong I still believe this is a good way to bring a part of your fragrant garden indoors so you can enjoy year round.


 

Lavender Essential Oil

Fresh cut lavender.
Glass canning jar with lid. If you have a tinted glass jar with a lid that is even better.
Oil (a light scented oil, like safflower or canola)
A cool dark place

Cut enough lavender to fill a glass canning jar. Rinse your lavender of any dirt. Let dry completely. I let mine dry overnight on a clean towel or a stack of paper towels.
Stuff the jar full of the clean dry lavender.
Pour in enough oil to cover lavender completely.
Screw on lid tightly.
Put jar up in a cool dark place.
Shake jar every few days for two to three weeks.
Strain.
Done.
Store the jar away from heat and sunlight.

Now since I used olive oil after my two weeks I strained the oil and you could just barely detect the scent of lavender. I did happened to have one lavender plant that was refusing to die so I still had some blooms available. So I cut those blooms, rinsed, dried them then stuffed them into the jar of my weak scented lavender oil. Again in a cool dark place shaking the jar every few days. I let it steep for thee weeks this time before I strained the plant material out. Steeping a second time did the trick. You could still smell the olive oil but the scent of lavender came through strong.

I use my lavender oil in my whip coconut lotions. As a massage oil. As a treatment on my scalp and hair. I’m down to my last little bit, I’m going to use it in a body scrub. I will share how to make that with you later this spring. Or summer since it looks like mother nature is going from winter to summer and just skipping over spring all together.

How long does it keep? Well that depends on how you store it. Trust me you will know when it goes bad, the oil will have a rancid smell. Most of my oils last several months. I have had a few go bad within a few months, but on those I did use low quality/cheap oils to begin with.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Lavender oil about to be used in whipped coconut oil lotion.

Now you can use hard to find expensive oils, that is up to you. But me, I feel if the ingredients cost more than what you can purchase the finished product for, it’s not worth it. Some projects I will go buy things I wouldn’t normally buy but most times I make use of the items I have on hand. If you have read my other posts you know sometimes making do (substituting) items doesn’t always work out. Those instances don’t bother me, I learn from them. Life is an adventure, throw out the owners manual and just do it your way. Unless you’re a surgeon than maybe it is best to stick with the rules.

Good luck on your essential/herbal oil making. If my process does not appeal to you. Hit up Pinterest, there are many different ways to make your oils.

This post is done. Now go forth and pin. Pin your heart away.


 

Why are you still here? How can you have your own Pinteresting adventure if your still here? “How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”