Monday, March 1, 2010

Samhain Swap 2009

Next up on the swap catch up train is the Samhain Swap of 2009. I really had fun with this one because I was able to pull out a pattern my mom had made a few dozen times and continue on with it.

The whole lot

This swap also had a few firsts in it as well. It was the first time I've ever made a wooden spoon wand. And the first time I did a paper craft of any sort, which happened to be a Day of the Dead Shrine.

Brigid box

I love to paint, draw and wood burn. I had this type of wooden boxes laying around for quite some time. This is the Brigid box I made for my swap partner. She loves all things Irish and loves Brigid as well. It was total inspiration that had struck on this one. I drew the image after looking at various images of Brigid. After tracing my design on the wooden box, I burned the outlines with my wood burning tool and then decided she needed a bit more. I then did a paint wash to give it a bit of color, followed by a light oak stain.

Front of Brigid box

Oak leaves that were on each end of the box

The oak leaves were perfect because not only were they symbols of Brigid, they were also fit well into the Samhain theme. Instead of doing a green paint wash on the leaves, I did a burnt orange wash instead. Another item that I made was 2 altar cloths. One side was a very pretty autumn leaf fabric and the other was a black velvety swirl pattern. One cloth was a large cloth and the second a smaller version, both reversible.

Reversible Altar Cloths

My swap partner had a set of wooden ogham runes on her wist list. Well that just sparked me into wanting to make her a set. This however was a more challenging project. Not so much on the construction and execution of the runes, but more of a challenge when it came to finding the right stick. I knew I wanted it to be fairly straight, and it had to have been knocked down naturally. I didn't want to cut it from a tree. I also knew that I didn't want it to be made out of box elder or maple which tends to be the majority of the trees around here. 

When I was just about ready to give up on this project because I had not found the perfect stick, someone from above must has been smiling down on me. One afternoon, while harvesting the last of my herbs to dry for the winter, I just happened to stumble on a small branch that was perfect for the runes in our side yard. It was most definitely a gift because of a few things. One it was an elder branch. Two it was on the side of the yard where we didn't have any trees nor did our neighbors. And three, it was the perfect length!  

 Elder Ogham Runes

I stripped the bark off the branch and sanded a little section flat for the symbol. I used my wood burning tool to burn in the symbols with a little dot at the base of each symbol to symbolize the bottom of the design and to identify which rune it actually was. To seal the runes after they were finished, I used some linseed oil and sewn a pouch for them to live in.

The Day of the Dead was also important for my swap partner. I wanted to give her a special place where she could honor her loved ones. This was made another project that originally was a cheap cigar like box (Some day I will use up the large stack that I have). I painted the outside black and to give it a bit of texture, I cut a piece of wrinkled scrapbook paper to the outside and embellished it with a bit more scrapbook paper, ribbon, gold paint.

 Outside of Day of the Dead Shrine

 Inside of the Day of the Dead Shrine

The inside of the Shrine was the most fun to create. When shopping for supplies, I picked up a package of plastic skeletons. And on a trip to the drug store to pick up a prescription, I found a skull bracelet which was also perfect to make little sugar skulls out of. 

I painted the inside of the shrine with more black paint and embellished it with some more scrap booking paper. I also used some fabric flowers I had in my craft supplies as well. For the skeleton, I cut his limps apart with a craft knife. I made the guitar with some scrap book paper and stiff cardboard. I then decided the best position for the skeleton so that he would fit in the box and then glued him and the guitar together with my trusty E6000 glue (love that stuff!). I used the same glue once he was dried to glue him onto the box. 

The skulls were the fun part, I wish I had remembered to take a picture of the skulls. I filled in the hole that the elastic was strung through with more E6000. Once the glue was dried, I gave each skull 3 coats of white paint. I used artist quality paint on the skulls because they were plastic and I wanted the paint to stick. I then pulled out my liner brushes and went to work making them look like sugar skulls. I used colors that were traditionally used, red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink. After they were dried, I glued them to the box at the base. The flags was a piece of lace I had that looked like it could be paper cut out flags that were traditionally used to decorate for the holiday. I used regular craft paint with a tiny amount of water to water it down a bit and used colors traditionally used. I left the back of the box blank so my partner could add pictures and mementos of loved ones who have passed away.

 Spoon Wand

Another thing my partner had on her wist was a spoon wand. I had never made one, but enjoyed it none the less. I used a jig saw to cut out the circle in the spoon and painted it her favorite color green after sanding the rough edges of the circle. I then added a bit of gold paint and an amethyst stone to the center of the circle. I added some hematite chips to the base of the circle on both sides of the wand. Lace and ribbons of various colors finished off the wand. The pouch finished it off and gave a nice place for the wand to rest when not in use.
My mom, while I was growing up, had a kitchen witch hanging in our kitchen window for as long as I can remember. I loved that little witch. When I found a bag of pieces that my mom had set aside for years, I just had to put them together and add my own little touch.

Black Kitchen Witch

 Black Kitchen Witch - Side View

Green Kitchen Witch

 Green Kitchen Witch - Side View

Originally, my mom would make these and they would be finished with a face, hat, cape, bow, and broom. But I felt they needed a bit more. So to give them a more finished look, I added a piece of ribbon around the base of the hat to hide the seams a bit. I also added a bit of varagited yarn for hair. The brooms needed a bit of work too. They originally had straight wooden sticks for handles, but I felt the handles needed to have a slight crookedness to them. So I pulled out the original handles from the broom bristles, made some new handles from air dry clay (love my Sculpt it clay), gave them a new paint job once the handles were dried, and then glued the bristles back on the brooms. After everything was dry, I went outside with a lighter and singed the ends of the brooms a bit. Viola! My own little kitchen witches. I am definitely going to be making one of my own (or a little kitchen witch army mwahaha!).

So that was my Samhain package to my swap partner. I also included some Halloween shaped foam stickers for her grandkids, a pair of leaf shaped offering dishes, irish themed stickers, and some tiny pumpkin decorations. Thanks for looking!

Happy Crafting!


  1. I love this package.

    And I officially request a tutorial for those gorgeous little witches!

  2. lol i will see what i can do about making one.


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