A house, a home


Back in July, I promised that I had Big Plans underway but I wasn’t ready yet to talk about them. I wouldn’t have guessed it would be three months until I was. You guys, I bought a house!

We didn't choose the house  because it had a fire pit, but it didn't hurt!

We didn’t choose the house because it had a fire pit, but it didn’t hurt!

Home ownership wasn’t something that I ever thought would happen in my life, and I was content with that. I have nearly grown children who lived their entire lives in apartments, from the tiny garden flat of their baby/toddler days to a two bedroom townhouse with an impossibly difficult kitchen (not just tiny, but L-shaped and you had to go into the hall to open the fridge) to a three bedroom townhouse that we absolutely loved. On the rare occasions I thought about the fact that it wasn’t a house, I consoled myself with the fact that I didn’t have to do yard work. I also had an idea that I hadn’t yet decided where I was going to settle down. Fast forward to 8 years in that townhouse and “I just don’t know where I want to live” sounded downright silly.

As my 40th birthday approached this summer, my husband got it into his head that we were getting a house. We put an offer on one about a week before my birthday back in July and closed on it a few days after his birthday a month later. I’d looked at several that were empty but of course we had to complicate things by choosing one that still had a family living in it, so we had to wait for them to move. The last few weeks after closing and before getting the keys was like the last few weeks of pregnancy, when you keep hoping labor will finally start.

Labor is what did start after we got the call to come pick up the keys — the huge physical labor of moving! After spending months decluttering, I was shocked at how much stuff a household of four (plus dog!) can have.

There was an advantage to buying a home that someone was still living in. The sellers loved the house and walked us through all the updates they’d done, the maintenance schedules, the projects they would have done next had they stayed (they even had materials for a few!). To anyone sensitive to “energy” you’ll know how much it matters that the house was loved and that the previous owners were moving up in their lives (as opposed to the negative energy that can get left behind when the previous owners had to leave against their wills). The sellers even gave us our first housewarming gift. The feeling of love and warmth is what elevated this house above the others we looked at, despite it being quite small and having a couple of strange quirks.

We’ve been here a month and we’re still getting situated.

One of the things cape cods do well is utilize space efficiently. They can fit four bedrooms into a house that looks tiny on the outside. On the other hand, there isn’t a master suite. We took a random bedroom whose gray paint looked nice with our bedding, only to realize that it was the loudest placement for a bedroom — especially since my husband works nights and sleeps during the day. I’ve never had hardwood floors before and although I love the way they look, boy does sound travel! We got almost no sleep in that room.

Over the weekend, the kids traded bedrooms with each other and we moved the master bedroom to the finished basement (which is where the sellers had it — now we know why!). We’re sleeping peacefully in a much quieter room and the house is finally starting to look like home. We’re converting the room we’d originally intended as our bedroom into a dining room, since it’s off the living room and since one of those previously mentioned quirks was that the house has neither a formal dining room nor an eat-in kitchen. Lots of houses don’t have both but few houses have neither! We didn’t mind at first since we could eat out on the deck, but in Ohio that doesn’t happen year-round. The weather here is already dipping into the 30s at night.

We were able to have our housewarming party on Autumn Equinox, which, given Mabon’s alternative name of “Witches’ Thanksgiving,” seemed appropriate. Now we’re getting excited about our first Halloween here (apartment complexes don’t get trick-or-treaters!).

Now that I’m getting settled here, I’m making plans to write more and to do NaNoWriMo this year. I introduced my kids to it and my older son has gone on to complete it three times while I have yet to complete it once.

I also am in the process of changing my diet (toward paleo — I’ve already been gluten free since 2012 but even gluten free lasagna is fattening!). I will be revamping old recipes and experimenting with new ones. I will start posting recipes once in awhile, which is, after all, part of the original idea I had when I started this blog.

The case of the glittertastic file cabinet



Did you ever start a craft project and then get carried away? That’s me. Carried Away Craft Girl.

It started so simply. My desk is white. My bookshelves are white. The tiny file cabinet that I got on clearance at Staples only came in oatmeal.


All I had to do was paint it white.

End of story.



No, that’s not the end of the story. I got a few coats of white chalk paint on there and all it needed was a top coat. One last step and it’s done. When suddenly I wondered what would happen if I used a purple glitter paint for the top coat. I couldn’t stop there; I had to do the trim in purple too.


The only thing missing is the unicorns and rainbows.

You don't really get the full effect unless the light shines directly on it.

You don’t really get the full effect unless the light shines directly on it.

So now I’m eyeing the trim on the desk and bookshelves, paintbrush in hand. Something else needs a splash of purple. You know, to make it match. And because I let my inner twelve year old decorate.


I may blog more carried-away crafts, because the truth is that my projects never seem to end the way I intended at the outset.

(BTW, on the second day of this piece sitting out to dry, my husband walked past it and said, “You know, it’s actually starting to grow on me.” Myself, I’m wondering if chalk paint alone will cover it or if I need primer first.)

In which I return to my blog



Let me tell you about my summer:

Thunderstorms. Daily. The end.

(I know what you’re thinking. How much excitement can one summer hold?)

Let me tell you about my blogging:

I used to write here. And I was happy. Then I started to write at Patheos. And I was unhappy. For awhile, I didn’t write anything at all. Now, I am writing here. And I am glad.

What else has been going on?

  • My husband and I have been binge-watching The Office (US) and we’re at the end of season six.
  • We’re making some Big Plans but they’re in the too-early-to-discuss-yet stages.
  • I’ll be turning 40 this Lammas Eve. That’s really soon. I used to think I’d run a marathon the year I turned 40, but I was clearly overambitious. I have been doing some squats, though. That’s…not really similar. But it’s something.
  • One of my sons is about to start his senior year and we’re doing all the get-into-the-program-you-want-in-college planning.
  • I may do some crafty household projects and if/when that occurs, I will share them here.
  • I’ve been really inspired by the whole “Illustrated Faith” movement that Christian woman have been sharing all over Pinterest and Instagram. I need to find a way to incorporate this into my totally-not-Bible-based spirituality. I’m the kind of person who already has Micron pens and washi tape and watercolor pencils lying around.

Summer is always a bit slow around here but the weather this year and the fact that we had some unexpected expenses come up have made this one especially blah. I have a lot of ideas brewing, though, and I expect the next few months to be productive.

What about you? How has your summer been so far? What’s going on in your life?

Antlered God



Last week my parents stayed at a bed and breakfast in Amish country. We drove out there to meet them for lunch and it was such a nice change of pace. It was so quiet and calm there that when we came back to our small town it looked like we were entering a large city. While we were there we didn’t just see horses. We took a wagon ride through a ranch and saw this majestic deer up close. I’m not sure what kind he is; he’s not the white-tailed deer I’m used to seeing in Ohio.


Zen and the Craft of the Kitchen Witch

I got this picture from Pinterest.

I got this picture from Pinterest.

I need a new broom. I’ve been on a massive decluttering streak lately and when I decluttered my patio and swept it clean, I didn’t want to bring the broom back inside and bring outdoor dirt into my kitchen. So I left it as an outside broom and now I need a new inside broom.

I thought of the fact that Deborah Blake has a recent book called The Witch’s Broom. I thought of the group in town that sets up at the Strawberry Festival each year; they sell beautiful handcrafted besoms. The Strawberry Festival, though, is at the end of May and I need a broom sooner. I was thinking of the broom I’d get in the meantime and the symbols I might add to the handle, when I realized:

This is mindfulness.

Usually mindfulness is associated with Buddhism. I realized that Witchcraft is also about mindfulness. I could just add “broom” to the grocery list and grab whatever the store has at the time and never give it another thought. Or I could contemplate the broom and intentionally buy a certain color or style of broom and infuse the broom with my desire to cleanse the room of negativity as I sweep. Then, each time I use the broom, instead of a haphazard act, I can make it a spiritual act. I don’t have to, but I can.

It was this kind of thing that made me call this blog “Mistress of the Hearth” in the first place. Making the mundane magical. Putting intention into the meal when I cook or blessing the checkbook when I pay bills. Instead of letting things be “just chores” that I rush through so I can get to the better parts of life, I can make each chore a meditation.

I don’t do this with everything every time. Sometimes I rush through cooking dinner because we’re hungry and sometimes I even resent that my celiac means I can’t just randomly pick a restaurant and show up without studying their menu online and finding out if they have anything safe. But when I slow down and chop each vegetable with love and attention, it is a form a mindfulness that I call Kitchen Witchery.

The aesthetics differ — Witchcraft doesn’t look like Zen. We all have to “chop wood, carry water.” Underneath appearances, Zen and Kitchen Witchery both practice mindfulness while chopping the wood and carrying the water. Or sweeping the kitchen.

An announcement


I’m officially bloggging at Patheos now. Mistress of the Hearth isn’t moving, and I’m not at the Pagan channel there. I actually have a new blog at the Hindu Channel called Gathering Nectar. I chose not to move any of the old posts over there (though I may rewrite some of them). I’ve always felt confused about what I was doing with Mistress of the Hearth. Now I have a clearer vision of how I’ll write about Hinduism  to my heart’s content at Patheos and keep a personal blog here. Please stop by Patheos and say hi; there are always crickets on a brand new blog!