Monday, October 23, 2017


Aged Specimen Jar Label DIY

The dining room is finished and I’m working on a full post, but in the meantime here’s a little how-to to make these labels. I had a lot of fun and hope this tutorial is helpful. I by no means fancy myself a copywriter and am completely open to suggestions for more label ideas. If I get some I will be more than happy to update the pdfs.
I found a great tutorial from The Craft Junkie and did a little tweaking. The project originally calls for printing on card/photo stock and then soaking it in coffee, but our ink will run when bathed. Hell, the humidity in the morning at the Farmers Market can make my stuff a little weepy. So I ran the ‘treatment’ and then printed. All images link to larger sizes.
1. Ball up your paper into a tight ball. I pulled it apart and balled it again. Stick it into a coffee bath. It originally called for instant coffee and water, but I used leftover coffee. We make rocket fuel and knew it would do just fine.
I played with it a bit and started to smooth it out as it began to absorb the liquid. Depending on the thickness of the paper, it can stay in anywhere from about a minute to about two minutes.
2. Once it is saturated to your desire, pull it out and let it drip for a few seconds. At this point you can hang it, lay it, or iron it between paper towels to dry. I chose the latter for expediency.
3. Once it’s dry – and it has to be dry – set it up in the printer feed and initiate printing. Be sure to set the printer margins to 0! The paper isn’t very flat so I made sure to stand by the printer and keep an eye on the feed.
4. Cut and glue to what you’re labeling. I used a glue stick for our project as several labels went on antique bottles and I need to get them off with ease. The ink got a little blotchy on the sides and in a couple places in the label areas, but I think it adds a little character.
Typos and such have been fixed since this was taken. 😉
Update 10.9.2013
I noticed the last time I made these that I wasn’t happy with the edges. Once they’re cut, the original paper color shows around the edges. This year I tried to fix the issue. Here are some crappy quick cell phone images I took while making the new labels this weekend:

I have the label files hosted in pdf format if anyone is interested in downloading them.
I hope this provides a little inspiration and I would love to see what others do with their labels!


Stingy Jack rinding away from the devil

    People have been making jack o'lanterns at Halloween for ages and ages. The practice started from an old Irish myth about a man named "Stingy Jack". According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy the drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would

 not claim his soul. The next year Jack tricked the Devil into climbing a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
    Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word, not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the

dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern", and then simply "Jack O'lantern."
    In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large

beets are used, immigrants from these countries brought the jack o'lantern tradition with them when they came to the U.S. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o'lanterns.



    When the moon is full it is said that the canine shape shifters prowl the night seeking new prey! Gypsies around the world tell folktales that warn about the anthropomorphic wolf-men cursed to endure a life of transmutation when the moon is full, becoming a predatory killer until the sun rises.
    Are these half-human, half-wolf "monsters" real, or are they a figment of our imagination, that people ages ago created to explain shadows in the night? Could these shape shifters actually exist? Perhaps Hollywood has instilled a false memory and predisposition for beings of the night, like vampires, zombies and werewolves. Maybe latent fear of the unknown drives the human mind to justify their fear of the dark by creating and believing in strange and bizarre creatures.

    Then it may also be true-werewolves may be more than mythical creatures in stories told by many people with roots that run deep in the old country of their origin. The gypsies may tell tales embellished by years of remembering, but based upon a truth shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

Common Beliefs About Werewolves
  1. The modern day name may come from the Old English "wer-wolf" (where 'wer' means 'man).
  2. Then again the name could come from the Norse legends about the 'berserkers'. who were crazed warriors that dressed as wolves when they savagely raided and pillaged villages in the northern land or Europe.
  3. One more good possibility could be it came from the word "warg-wolf". another name of Norse origin which denotes a rogue or lone wolf type of character prone to stalk their prey before dealing the death blow.
  4. Were-wolves eyebrows come together and there is no skin space between them.

  1. It is said by some that they have "bristles" under their tongue.
  2. When they are in the wolf form they have no tail, keep their human eyes and can speak in human language,not just canine woofs and howls.
  3. When they shift into wolf mode they are said to have super strength and extremely sensitive senses, such as sight and scent.
  4. It is reported in Europe in the 1700's that werewolves would dig up freshly buried corpses to eat.
  5. Scandinavian were-wolves were reported as being old women with poison claws that could paralyze children with their glaring eyes.

  1. The curse which transforms a person into a werewolf is often seen as occurring from a evil allegiance or by being bit or scratched by one who is a werewolf. It has also been deemed by many cultures as being a "divine punishment". During the dark era of the Middle Ages the Catholic Church investigated excommunicated priests who were accused of becoming werewolves.
  2. Taking an oath with Satan or powers of evil is usually the reported path to becoming a werewolf and transformation from bites is rarely a recorded occurrence in historical writings.
  3. The fact that they can be killed by silver bullets is a modern movie generated folk factoid. All tales about werewolves prior to the late 1800's do not talk about silver as a protector from the creatures.
  4. Religious holy water or icons (such as a crucifix) do not keep them away.
  5. Items that will protect you from a werewolf are garland of fresh rye, mistletoe and garlic cloves.
  6. Some modern day researchers believe that werewolves were real people afflicted with a medical condition called hypertrichosis. This is a hereditary disease that caused extreme hair growth all over the body, especially on the face and hands.


    Yom Kippur, the Day of atonement, is the most sacred of the Jewish holidays. It is regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths." By Yom Kippur the 40 days of repentance, that begin with the first of Elul, have passed. On Rosh Hashanah the God Almighty has judged most of mankind and has recorded his judgment in the Book of Life. But he has given a 10 day reprieve. On Yom Kippur these 10 days of reprieve ends and the Book of Life is closed and sealed. Those who have repented for their sins are granted a good and happy New Year. (Yom Kippur is on 7th-8th October, 2011)


    Yom Kippur, the Day of atonement, is the most sacred of the Jewish holidays. It is regarded as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths."
   By Yom Kippur the 40 days of repentance, that begin with the first of Elul, have passed. On Rosh Hashanah the God Almighty has judged most of mankind and has recorded his judgment in the Book of Life. But he has given a 10 day reprieve.
   On Yom Kippur these 10 days of reprieve ends and the Book of Life is closed and sealed. Those who have repented for their sins are granted a good and happy New Year.
   Since Yom Kippur is the day to ask forgiveness for promises broken to God , the day before is reserved for asking forgiveness for broken promises between people, as God cannot forgive broken promises between people.    


The Customs or Minhagim:

   Yom Kippur is a day of "NOT" doing. There is no blowing of the Shofar and Jews may not eat or drink, as fasting is the rule. It is believed that to fast on Yom Kippur is to emulate the angels in heaven, who do not eat, drink, or wash.

The Five Prohibitions of Yom Kippur:
  • Eating and drinking
  • Anointing with perfumes or lotions
  • Marital relations
  • Washing
  • Wearing leather shoes

      While Yom Kippur is devoted to fasting, the day before is devoted to eating. According to the The Talmud the person "who eats on the ninth of Tishri (and fasts on the tenth) , it is as if he had fasted both the ninth and tenth." Prayer is also down played so that Jews can concentrate on eating and preparing for the fast.

  The Prayer and Confession:

      On the eve of Yom Kippur the community joins at the synagogue. Men put on prayer shawls (not usually worn in the evenings). Then as the night falls the cantor begins the "Kol Nidre", it is repeated 3 times, each time in a louder voice. The Kol Nidre emphasizes the importance in keeping vows, as violating an oath is one of the worst sins.
   An important part of the Yom Kippur service is the "Vidui" (Viduy) or confession. The confessions serve to help reflect on ones misdeeds and to confess them verbally is part of the formal repentance in asking G-d's forgiveness. Because community and unity are an important part of Jewish Life, the confessions are said in the plural (We are guilty)
   As Yom Kippur ends, at the last hour a service called "Ne'ila" (Neilah) offers a final opportunity for repentance. It is the only service of the year during which the doors to the Ark (where the Torah scrolls are stored) remain open from the beginning to end of the service, signifying that the gates of Heaven are open at this time.


 Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, begins eight days after Rosh Hashanah and is the time to practice self-denial through fasting, prayer and repentance. Its origin comes from the book of Leviticus of the Bible. The only fast day decreed in the Bible (Lev. 23:26-32), Yom Kippur is also called the Day of Atonement. For Jewish people around the world, it is the time to keep away from any food or drink. The pious and able Jews fast for 25 hours and pray to God to ask for his forgiveness of their sins. They meditate on what they have done in the previous year that might displease God, entreat him to excuse them their sins and look for ways to correct themselves and become better individuals. Even individuals who consider themselves primarily secular Jews participate in this holy day.
    Unlike most Jewish holidays, Yom Kippur has few home rituals. It is made for communal worship. There are no festive meals, except the breaking of the fast. Most activities are suspended during Yom Kippur. However, in addition to prayer and fasting (don't let the little ones fast too long), you can try out activities like these which are in keeping with the mood of the sacred Yom Kippur celebrations.

1) Pray alone and meditate

    Yom Kippur being a day of worship and fasting, set aside some time to pray and meditate alone. Read Rebbe Nachmann of Bratslav’s prayer and think about the ways in which you are part of the natural world that surrounds you. Contemplate in what ways you can contribute to preserve and enhance the beauty of the world? How can you be of assistance to the world?

Rebbe Nachmann’s Prayer

Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone.
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grasses,
Among all growing things,
There to be alone and enter into prayer.
There may I express all that is in my heart,
Talking with Him to whom I belong.
And may all grasses, trees, and plants
Awake at my coming.
Send the power of their life into my prayer,
Making whole my heart and my speech through the life and spirit of growing things,
Made whole by their transcendent Source.
Oh! That they would enter my prayer!
Then would I fully open my heart in prayer, supplication, and holy speech;
Then, O God, would I pour out the words of my heart before Your Presence.

2) Engage in charitable works

    It is customary to give contributions to a charity before a Jewish holiday. Judaism emphasises that 'Tzedakah' or charity is an important part of living a sufficiently sacred life. Unlike philanthropy, which is totally voluntary, tzedakah is seen as a religious obligation, which must be performed regardless of financial standing, and must be performed even by the poor. It is considered to be one of the three main acts that grant forgiveness of sin, and the annulment of bad decrees. Giving charity to the poor is given precedence over any other charity according to the Talmud. So follow the Talmud and help some poor people in your locality. Tzedakah may be in the form of money or time volunteered for a good cause. It is even better if your identity remains unknown to the receiver of your gift. Jewish tradition argues that the second highest form of tzedakah is to anonymously give donations to unknown recipients. The best way to do so is to donate used or saleable goods to a thrift shop or shelter.

3) Perform a mitzvah

    Yom Kippur is the time to beg forgiveness and improve. And what better way to work towards your amelioration than by performing a mitzvah? 'Mitzvah' is a Jewish word that stands for any good deed performed in accordance with the divine commandments given in the Torah (the whole body of the Jewish sacred writings and tradition including the oral tradition). The best mitzvah is to touch the life of someone else and see if you can help him/her in some way. Send gifts and sweets to people you feel need a little encouragement or an emotional boost. These can be your relatives or neighbours or a distant one. You can visit a nearby hospital or nursing home before Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur and spend sometime with elderly patients admitted in there; especially those who do not have many visitors or have none to call of their own. Make sure to call the hospitals or nursing homes beforehand to arrange for your visit. Carry along a small gift like some flowers in a colorful vase, a flowering plant, or a pretty scarf for a woman; a baseball cap or a bright tie for a man. See that your visit becomes worthwhile and meaningful to the people there. Your presence will fill them with a sense of belonging to the community, especially if they are unable to attend services. Have a great time performing your mitzvah!

4) Attend Yizkor

    Attending Yizkor is one of the best things to do on Yom Kippur. If you're a Jew, you must be well acquainted with the tradition of Yizkor. A memorial service for the dead, this Jewish custom requires you to visit the graves of loved ones before the High Holy Days. Performing this deed is considered to have special virtue. It helps us to remember the people who gave us life and inspired us to perform good actions. Moreover, Jewish mystics believe that visiting the graves of dead relatives encourages them to intercede with God on our behalf. If you have children or grandchildren or other young relatives, take them along with you to attend the Yizkor service. Take some time prior to Yizkor to tell about your folks and show their pictures to your kiddies so that they know who they have come to visit and don't get bored while you attend the service. And it will also help you to pass on to your children the values your dead folks taught you.

5) Attend religious services for Yom Kippur

    The High Holy Days are the time to attend religious services. In modern times, many congregations offer a Selichot Service near midnight on the weekend preceding the Ten Days of Repentance. You too can attend one in the company of your friends, family members or relatives. Call local synagogues, community organizations, and colleges to inquire about the times and location of their services. These days, a number of synagogues require tickets for admission to services on the High Holy Days. Be sure to ask whether tickets are available for non-members, as well as about their price. Nearly all Jewish communities offer free services for the High Holy Days; however reservations are usually required because of the need to provide adequate seating. Generally, Yizkor services and children’s services are free and open to the community. However, you are advised to inquire beforehand to avoid any unnecessary embarrassment.

6) Break the fast

    Yom Kippur is the day dedicated to the purification of the soul or the spirit. It is the time to keep a fast - to deprive your body physically in order to rise to a higher spiritual plane. Have a meaningful fast and break it gracefully with a nice meal. People often gather in the synagogue or at the home of friends to break their fast. It is traditional to eat challah and cake -- which are baked just before the holiday (though you need not limit yourselves to these). Avoid meat dishes, as they are generally difficult to digest after fasting for one whole day.

7) Seek Forgiveness

    The Ten Day  of Repentance or 'Aseret Yemei Teshuva' are the first ten days of the Jewish month of Tishrei, beginning on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah and ending on Yom Kippur. During this time, Jews practice 'Teshuvah' (or repentance). It is the time to examine one's ways, engage in Repentance and the improvement of the spirit. It is also the occasion for "Vidui" or confession; to ask for and grant forgiveness. Judaism teaches that we cannot attain Divine forgiveness until we have seriously sought forgiveness from those we have ever wronged in the course of our life. During our life we all make mistakes. Amending those mistakes and promising never to repeat them is the best way to begin the New Year. Jewish wisdom holds that we all eventually meet those we have wronged, and so we should look them in the eye and ask for forgiveness.



  Myths and legends are a part of virtually every culture. One of the most interesting legends of Russian culture is that of Baba Yaga. She is, however, not unique to Russia. There are similar stories about her, under other names, in Poland as well as in the Czech Republic.
    The figure of Baba Yaga is most often pictured as that of an old hag on a broomstick, reminiscent of the kitchen witches we often see today. Some believe that she might have been the precursor for the ugly, old crones that most often represent witches at Halloween.
    In truth, however, Baba Yaga is a complicated creature associated as much with fertility and fate as she is with death. Some believed that she also had the gift of prophecy and great wisdom. However, for reasons never understood, she seldom chose to use those skills without exacting a gruesome payment. Anyone wishing to partake of Baba Yaga's wisdom had to take on a challenge, which began with a trip to her home hidden deep within a treacherous forest. Those arriving there would often decide to turn back without confronting the hag because of the gruesome look of the house itself. As legends have it, Baba Yaga's home sat atop four chicken legs that allowed her to move it from place to place at will. Surrounded by a black picket fence adorned with flaming human skulls, those arriving on her property were no doubt scared about what they were about to encounter.
    Inside the house, it was said that the crone sat at a spinning wheel, spinning with thread made from the tendons and muscles of human beings. Not prone to help anyone out of a sense of kindness, Baba Yaga would put those who sought her assistance through a series of tests before agreeing to help them.
    Few ever completed them and even some of those who did, were never seen again because they dared to anger the old woman in the process. She then turned on them with her sharp teeth. It was said that she could rip apart an animal or a human in less that 30 seconds.