Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Happy Stan Lee is Not Dead Week!

Stan Lee. He's the legendary comic book author and screen writer that changed how we see the world, one of his most famous lines ever written is, "With great power comes great responsibility." The geek in me is aware that this excellent piece of advice was originally included as a narrative line in Spiderman comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 and is later used in in flashbacks as Peter Parker (aka Spiderman) recalls this advice being given to him by his Uncle Ben.  Later it was added to Uncle Ben's dialog in the movies as well. It is great advice. And that's what brings me to declare this week, Stan Lee is Not Dead Week.

That's right, recently there was yet another celebrity death hoax, this time reporting that Stan Lee had died.  Well, he didn't. He's still going strong. I knew the minute I read it because I was watching the news, and there was no mention of it. Just in case, I went to a search engine and typed in "Is Stan Lee dead" hit enter. on the first page my suspicions were confirmed, Stan Lee alive and well, just a hoax. Wow, that was easy, mystery solved.  But it got me thinking about Stan Lee, how much he's given us, and reminded me of that line, "With great power comes great responsibility."

So how do we celebrate "Stan Lee is Not Dead Week?" Read a couple of his books if you have them, watch one of his movies. Check out the excellent documentary about his life (so far, it's not over yet) "With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story" (currently on Netflix, I watched it a couple weeks ago.) Post something nice about him in the feed of your choice, you don't have to wait until someone is actually dead to sing their praises. But first and foremost....to celebrate the fact that Stan Lee is NOT dead, please consider the following as I get up on my soapbox...

The Internet is a powerful thing my friends. We are creating it every day, you are, and I am. We make content, we share content, we read content. Where are we getting our "news?" Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, many people are using these formats as news sources, and yeah, I have as well. How many times have you scrolled down your feed and a post grabs your eye, you read the headline and take it as fact. Total fact, because it's on your feed.   Well, they call it a "feed" for a reason. If all people do is take everything that is tossed into the trough, then half the time they're eating garbage. Some of it is truth or news as we like to call it, however a growing amount of it is satire which appears to be news but meant as a joke which ends up being believed as true. Sometimes it's a hoax or a complete fabrication with malicious intention that we also believe to be true.  But the Internet is right there, it's in our hands, it's so easy it's almost like a superpower that one of Stan Lee's heroes or at least a sidekick might have. Open a new tab, do a quick search, and there is the truth. Is the website a satire website? Now you know it's not real. Don't know what satire is? It's ok, you can Google it, it's so easy man. We don't have to be a high tech hacker or even a super genius, just type in the question and weed through the answers until we find the real news story.  It takes just a minute to do.
Amazing, be sure to share this news story with your friends! Umm, it says News right at the top, so it must be real!

So everyone reads this fake news story, and then they hit "share," because everyone on thier feed needs to know this amazing, sad, disturbing, or wonderful thing! If we worked for a real news source how many people would be fired because we don't bother to fact check? I repeat, we are creating the Internet and "With great power comes great responsibility."  We get to choose what we add to the feed, we get to decide what we spread, and so many out there just eat the garbage and click the button and feed all their friends the same garbage into the trough.  I'm sorry you can't believe everything that comes down the feed, you just can't. Everyone gets to publish on the Internet, and it's actually pretty amazing. Never has there been such an opportunity for expression. But we need to listen to our "Uncle Stan" who has spent his whole life so much time caring deeply about the content that he provided his readers with. He wrote not only great stories, but inspired us with his feelings about inequality, justice, right and wrong, and caring about people. All those lessons and more are in his comic books, modern fables, legends and myths. He has always cared about good content, he never feed us garbage. He puts personal messages into his books because he cares about his readers.  Do we? Do we care enough to check before we share? We have the whole world at our fingertips, do we care enough to try to make our little corner of the Internet a more truthful place? Do we believe that with great power comes great responsibility?  No one is perfect, we all post something from time to time that is incorrect, I've done it by accident myself, but we have to try.
Ok, probably no one's going to die if you share a fake news story without fact checking, but we are making our world a dumber place, and that's bad enough for me. 

None of Stan Lee's heroes are perfect, they make mistakes, but they learn from them and try to do the right thing. He wants us to know that it's all part of being human, but he also reminds us with his stories that we're more powerful than we know and that we have to try to act responsibly, even if all we can do is make our little corner of the world, even the virtual world a better place.  Through his very human stories of super humans, he teaches us to strive for a higher standard every day, become more than we were yesterday.

Hey Stan, I'm glad you're still here, and yes, I got the message. Who wants to join me in being as super-human as we can be? Happy Stan Lee is Not Dead Week!

Mickie Mueller

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ring of Fire

Ever since we moved in here at our home on the edge of the woods we lovingly call Aelfheim, we've wanted to build a fire ring.  We knew a fire ring would be the perfect addition for full moon nights, sabbats, and also just for drinking some wine and beer with friends and making s'mores.  A few weeks ago (yep, I got behind again) my daughter Brittany and her family came to visit, so we enlisted her and her husband, veteran rock hauler and stacker PJ to assist us.

Dan got the wagon hooked up to the back of the garden tractor and we headed down to the back of the pasture where we've been eyeing a really nice pile of big rocks for this project.  Our little grands couldn't resist riding with their PeePaw!

Once we got the tractor down there, Brittany, PJ and Dan carried the biggest rocks and put them on the tractor. I'm still healing up from the tendonitis I ended up with back in January, and struggling with adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) which probably was due to disuse of my arm when I had the worst of the tendinitis. So I have some arm pain and can't lift my arm very high. I was only allowed to carry little rocks that I could lift with my left hand. The little kids and I got all the little rocks. 

Thank goodness my daughter is no shrinking violet, we raise them tough in my family!  And PJ dug right into the project both literally and figuratively, prying up and lugging some of the bigger ones!

Dan hauled them all up to the clearing outside of the back yard that we had chosen as the perfect spot!  It took several trips to get all the rocks we needed.

The guys got to work plotting and planning. PJ fitted the rocks together like he was building New Grange or Stonehenge.

In the end, Dan's vision of a fire ring with a keyhole was complete.  We're going to build a grate to put over the keyhole section. We can have a big fire, then rake hot coals into the keyhole, put the grate on and grill! I thought it was a really cool idea. I also love the keyhole shape on a spiritual level, it's a passageway between the realms, so great for sending wishes off to manifest, or scrying in fire and smoke.  In proper Kitchen Witch fashion, it's magical and practical at the same time.

The guys immediately broke it in with the first fire.  An outside hearth created by family from nothing but stones from the land, dedicated to love, fellowship, and magic!  Our meal that evening was hot dogs cooked on long forks over the fire, beer, wine, music, and laughter.  Of course hot dogs and marshmallows were properly sacrificed to the Fire Gods!

We've used our new fire ring several times so far, the kids are excited about having a vigil fire for Yule. It's become a lovely addition to the magical land of Aelfheim.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Artist Contributor Copies of Magical Almanac Have Arrived!

I'm super excited! I got my artist contributor copies of Llewellyn's 2015 Magical Almanac! I love the cover art by Tammy Shane, A really clever take on the element of water, a literal sea-horse!  I was honored to be able to create 9797 pen and ink interior illustrations and write one article for this excellent almanac.

I always love to dig through and see how my illustrations turned out, it's great to actually see them in print!
I illustrated the article that I wrote "The Element of Surprise and Drama in Ritual" It's a fun article about how to add some really neat special effects into your ritual to make them memorable and entertaining.

I had a blast illustrating Magenta Griffith's article about the Rosicrucians, I learned a lot from that article.

One of my favorite illustrations that I contributed was for Ellen Dugan's clever article about Menopause and Magic! I just had to insert some humor into that one.
Another great article that I got to have some fun with was Autumn Damiana's article about the ever changing conceptions and misconceptions about witches, I really enjoyed creating this illustration of a classic and modern witch.

Anyway, these are only a few of the articles in the 2015 Llewellyn's Magical Almanac,I did a total of 15 illustrations, in addition the the authors above I already mentioned, I also illustrated a second article for Autumn Damiana, and also for Emyme, Charlie Rainbow Wolf,  these almanacs are full of great articles about Pagan and Witch culture, practice, rituals and more. Plus it has a great calendar section in the middle featuring daily correspondences. Want one? You can get it here!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mystical Cats, Magick, and Furballs: Interview and Giveaway Too!

I had a really fun chat with my friends Blake Octavian Blair & Gwain Nighthawk last week, and you know what they did? They recorded the whole thing for their podcast Broadcasts from the Cove!  We really had a fun time talking about Mystical Cats Tarot, Alefheim, and a plethora of other things as well. You'll want to grab a cup of tea and pop over and join us for the meandering madcap merriment because we're doing a giveaway!

One lucky listener will win a signed copy of Mystical Cats Tarot, tarot bag, bookmark, and cat ornament, plus Broadcasts from the Cove is throwing in a copy of the excellent CD Canyon Storm by Gwain Nighthawk with Blake Octavian Blair! This CD was on my playlist while working on Mystical Cats Tarot, so it's a great combo! http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gwainnighthawkandblakeoc

Here's what you'll get from me if your name is drawn in our giveaway!

The winner will get two packages, one from me and one from Gwain and Blake!
Canyon Storm by Gwain Nighthawk with Blake Octavian Blair 

Here's how to enter:
1.Give a listen to our interview on Broadcasts from the cove, its fun and easy and have a laugh while you're there!  Episode #5 - Mystical Cats, Magick, and Furballs: An Interview with Mickie Mueller

2. Pop over to Broadcasts from the Cove on Facebook: **Click here** and drop Blake and Gwain a comment on their post about the giveaway and suggest a topic for an upcoming show.
3. Come right back here and drop a comment on this blog post.

Then...you'll be entered twice in our giveaway! Fun! Easy!

Good luck!


Thursday, April 24, 2014

This Girls New Greenhouse

About a month ago Dan and I discovered a nice little greenhouse at Big Lots for a reasonable price. We decided that since we would have a giant garden at Aelfheim to fill with plants, we should get that little greenhouse and start our own seeds.
Building it was like a gigantic tinker toy! Then Dan drove four fence posts into the ground to keep it from blowing away in the  nutty Missouri weather.  We secured it with zip ties and topped each fence post with layers of white foam packing material to keep any sharp edges from poking through the cover.
We put the cover on and secured the ties, it got hot in there really quickly!  Now we needed to get the seeds into trays! 
My mom had this cool planting station, since we're sharing the garden, she and Grandpa Gecko brought it over. They're right next door at Frogbirds Farm, so we're sharing this giant garden plot.  We found a great spot right outside one of the stables in the barn and went right to work. 
We had fun sorting seeds, filling trays, and getting those little babies ready to sprout!  We used two different kinds of trays, the traditional Jiffy trays with the disks that you add water to, mom said those were the kind my grandpa (my moms dad) used. He would have loved our garden set up. We also tried the new hex shaped trays with some Miracle Grow soil, they're supposed to help the little roots and make transplanting less stressful. We'll see which we like best.  We used plastic spoon handles to make markers, don't worry, we're recycling the other end of the spoons. I sometimes use paper plates, but not a fan of plastic utensils, I think someone gave me these years ago and I never used them. They make great markers for the seedlings.
And here are the first trays in the greenhouse! Just a few minutes after I put the trays in, the greenhouse got that lovely smell of moist earth, life and potential! Dan and I were married in a greenhouse (although a much bigger and more permanent one than this.)  I can't wait to see the little green leaves pop up from the soil.  Magic truly is all around!


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fairyland Fragrances and Coupon for You from Twinkleberry Cottage

I want to brag today about a fellow Etsy artisan Lore of Twinkleberry Cottage.  Lore hails from the Mojave Desert, and let me say, this lady really knows how to craft amazing moisturizers, creams, and other beautiful wares!  A little bit ago I got a lovely package of handcrafted items in the mail from Twinkleberry Cottage, I took photos as I opened it all up so I could share the magic with you!  Seriously dears, these are some of my personal favorite bath and body products, I use them all the time!  Her shop is an ever-changing magical place, you never know what magic you'll find there!

What gorgeous  packaging! I actually hung that cute Witch's Kitchen tag up in my kitchen next to one of my several Kitchen Witches.

Oh my! Two little jars of Twinkleberry Cottage Silk & Satin Lotien, and Faerie Frosting! Oh these are so lovely and they smell so yummy!  A really cute necklace, pink sparkly faerie magic!
Click here for Twinkleberry Cottages Springtime Sampler!
The Silk & Satin Lotion Faerie Whispers, smells just like it might actually help you hear the whispers of the Fae Folk.  I think the product name Silk & Satin is a perfect description! So silky smooth!

"Into the Woods" Scent - Fairy Frosting Body Souffle Lotion - 4oz Jar -- Fairyland Fragrances

The Faerie Frosting, one of my favorite Twinkleberry Cottage items is a super soft whipped cream that has a beautifully subtle pearlescent quality to it, not glittery, but classy.  This is such an elegant souffle, the product reminds me of something that Galadriel would have on her dressing table. Seriously, check out the Fairy Frosting, if you want to feel really special (and you are) here's a custom listing so you can choose your scent, click here.  She'll mix one up just for you, just in time for frolicking in the meadow among the spring blossoms!
Click here to see Twinkleberry Cottages Fairy Gem Necklace collection!
I love this sweet Fairy Gem Necklace! She has many sweet designs in her shop. This is a totally cute pendant, great packaging, and I love the sparkling gypsy style, perfect for spring!

Perfume!! Oh Twinkleberry, how did you know?  I had some of her body spray and Faerie Frosting in her Water Sprites scent, it has become my signature scent recently. It's really clean and fresh smelling, and it makes me happy to wear it. So what did I find in the package? A bottle of Water Sprites perfume!

Twinkleberry Cottage is so good to us, she's offering my readers 25% off, just for you, because you're awesome! When you check out at Twinkleberrys Cottage before June 1, 2014, use coupon code MM25OFF to get your special discount!

Thanks Twinkleberry Cottage!  I shared some of my various lotions when my family was visiting and they were all really impressed, with the little jars and bottles of luxury.  None of her products leave your skin oily, but they magically soothe my dry skin every time.  I have some other scented lotions from big box stores, and while they smell good, they aren't nearly the same quality as My dear Miss Twinkleberry's products. If you're in the market for some very good quality lotions with wonderful scents, you should really check out her shop, you won't be disappointed!



Monday, April 14, 2014

Breaking Ground in the Garden at Aelfheim

Spring is looking up, I'm so excited, we finally broke ground on our first garden here at the home we call Aelfheim.  We had a corral in the front of the barn where the horses had been hanging out for years, it gets lots of sun and has had plenty of manure dropped all over the place. We decide it would make a perfect vegetable garden.  The horses left to go with the previous owner last fall, so it sat all winter.

It's also pretty cool because Dan and I like to use organic gardening methods and as far as anyone knows, this land has never been planted, so there should be just natural soil with no residual chemicals lurking.

We used to use a little hand tiller back at the old place, but Grandpa Gecko has a great garden tractor with tiller attachments.  When you're tilling up a 25' x 30' vegetable garden this is the only way to go!

Tilled it deep and the earth was actually fluffy!  Gecko ran the tiller and Dan, Mom, and I went behind gathering rocks as he tilled them up.

Dan got down and just smelled the soil, I have to admit, it really smelled amazing.

It was just beautiful! I'm sure not everyone falls in love with the earth, but we have.  When you grow your own food, you can't help but love the earth and it's potential for life. There were tons of earthworms too, always a good sign. One end of the garden is lovely, the other end is partially clay, but Dan and I have amended clay soil before, and much worse than this.  We have a big pile of oak leaf mold that we're putting on the clay end along with three stables full of perfectly seasoned manure the horses left as a going away present, we couldn't be happier about a pile of poo!

Speaking of piles, right now we aren't harvesting anything but rocks...lots of rocks.  See this big pile of rocks?  This isn't the only one this size that we pulled out of the new garden.  I'll use all the rocks we harvested to build a little wall around a new herb garden.

Soon, we'll till all the added material in, and then we'll be ready to start planting. We'll be starting our own seeds, and I just can't wait to see this beautiful earth bursting with life!


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