Matthew Merton’s name flew off of the pages of a book and into my heart, as I created him into being. I worked on him ever so slowly through the months and he neared completion at the ending of October. He stayed in my studio through the full moon of Samhain, sleeping so sweetly. Moon magic is very important to owl creatures. As the gentle moonglow touches an owl’s wings, their very feathers are imbued with wisdom and knowledge. But alas, little Matthew Merton, fell asleep, all cozy in my studio and missed the enchantment.
Knowing that Samhain and a full moon would coincide, I popped outside just before dusk and left empty glass bottles to capture just such moonglow. As I finished working on Matthew Merton, he had a sad look that I could not budge from his wee beaked face. “Why Matthew, are you sad?” I asked. “Because, I missed the moonglow! I missed the wisdom of the moon. I will forever be a featherbrained creature, because I missed it.”
I collected my moonglow potions from every corner of the hedge and row and placed them into a woven basket. My bottles dripped with magic. I brought them in to my cottage and prepared my finest wax for sealing up the bottles. One bottle was specifically for Matthew. As he sat all featherbrained and distressed in my studio, I told him how wonderful he was and how blessedly pink and magical he was to become. He closed his owl eyes and I poured my captured moonglow over him. It dripped like glittered-honey over his head, his heart and his wings. His eyes opened slowly, as if this was his very first wake.
I think his eyes may have been a little bit brighter. I know for sure, he soaked in the knowing that he was gifted with all the wisdom I could fill him with. He found his moonglow, with a little help.
I hope you enjoyed this little story of how Matthew Merton began.
Matthew Merton is available in my ETSY shop, My Dearest Witch
copywrite 2020, My Dearest Witch
He saw her as hungry, so he tossed breadcrumbs at her feet. He knew her heart and knew she would accept anything.
She ate up the morsels, one by one. It felt good to be full. But after awhile, she acknowledged it was so much work and she was crawling on the ground all the time. It made her feel less like the goddess she had grown into an more like a child, accepting whatever was provided.
She decided being hungry was better than crawling on the ground.
This is my worktable. No matter how much space I have, I always end up with about a dinner plate sized spot to create in.
I’m a huge lover of drawery furniture! I’m making tags now for all of the drawers so I can find things easier.
This wonderful apron was created especially for me by Kimberly Sherrod of Calamity Kim. She recreated one of my art works on it and it’s really a treasure.
A place for the faeries to dance.
I love bread, but I really don’t eat a ton of it. My dream bread is crusty slathered in butter and lemon curd or elderberry jam.
During our stay at home time, I wanted to make bread, mainly for the luscious homey fragrance that fills the house.
This is a very easy recipe that does not require yeast, witch has been hard to find in my area.
I’ve tried several recipes, all found online, and I’ve added and subtracted things to get it how I like it.
Oven to 350°
ingredients are :
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/4 cups milk, if you use buttermilk it’s 1 1/3 cup
Wisk all dry ingredients together. Make a well and pour the milk in. Stir. I use a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle flour on the baking sheet. Make a ball with your dough. Make an x in the top with a knife.
bake for 45 min.
I did a good bit of research on pigeons in the past few months. They are considered nuisances or pesky to some. But to me, I see a magicalness in them. The way their feathers take on a hue of an abalone shell and the dusty look as if they are from the mists just get me.
My pigeon is a wise old bird. She’s far too tough to eat, so people leave her alone for the most part.
New work is emerging from the studio. In this uncertain time I’ve created a wayfinder. A magical pigeon lady to lead us from things that are frightening. I’ve forever been fascinated with pigeons and their beauty.
She’s called Lila Feathers and she’s full of mysterious color. Hand blown glass eyes, one with a unique flicker in it make her so special. She had lovely shoes and looks as though she could be an ymbryne. We’re not sure.
Things I never thought I would need to know.
Learning things on the fly is hard and you never feel like you are getting it right. Taking care of your husband when you’ve been handed a diagnosis of aggressive cancer is akin to someone pushing you off the edge of a cliff and you have a parachute on, but you’ve never used one before. You’ve been given brief instruction, but you were in shock and not really absorbing information. I am a mother; I’ve cared for my children, but I never understood what caring for my husband would be like as he grew closer to death. I think I expected Joe to be “Joe” forever. I didn’t realize as the Cancer became more aggressive, I would see glimpses of him, but they were fleeting. His body and mind were fighting hard. If you have to travel this journey, know that your feelings might get hurt, but it’s comes from a raw place of fear and has nothing to do with you or how you are caring for your loved one. Joe would say things that might have sounded cold or heartless to me and the kids. Things he would have never said. He was the most caring and kind partner, so hearing words like this took me off guard and disheartened me, and I thought that he didn’t appreciate me. He really did, but when you are tired and bouncing from emotionally drained to emotionally heightened, you process your feelings differently.
We immediately started treatment at the cancer center. Radiation at first and chemo a few weeks later. What I didn’t realize is that everything that was indelicate or private, becomes in your face. Our children went to every single appointment, we experienced this journey as one, all four of us as one.. I should have insisted at this point that he start taking MiraLAX daily. I didn’t know he was having problems going to the bathroom, because he physically got up and went to the bathroom, but nothing was happening. If your loved one becomes constipated, taking MiraLAX everyday might help or a mixture called a brown cow, I learned this from one of Joe’s wonderful nurses. It’s 2 Tablespoons of Milk Of Magnesia stirred into 8 oz of warmed prune juice. If its warm it tastes better. Just know that your loved one may be too embarrassed to tell you if they are unable to use the restroom. You will learn all about Senna and Magnesium Citrate. Some Mexican restaurants have water-based popsicles. I found them made with prunes and this was soothing for Joe.
The cancer center was an everyday routine. Our entire life rhythms were changing, and everyone felt a disturbance, but none of us could put or finger on what it was. Joe felt guilty that he had cancer and was ruining our lives. Willow loved the new batch of people she was able to shine her sparkle with at the Cancer Center, Bryer was just quiet and introspective. I didn’t feel anything at all, I was in shock. I thought a lot about my Mom. She had just died suddenly of a stroke. And I know she would have stepped right in and helped me. She would have soothed my mind and my heart. But for whatever reason, she was gone, and I was here. I was all he had and to me that was not enough, at all. I missed my mom so much.
Joe lost a lot of weight very fast. You should find adjustable belts at Meijer or Walmart. Target never had them. As your loved one loses weight don’t forget to buy them smaller underwear. Buy extra socks. Joe was unable to get up the stairs to the bedroom and stayed pretty much in his chair all the time. The leather of his chair rubbed the skin off of his elbows. I took his old socks and cut the toe part off and made elbow pads for him. Joe wore his own, normal clothing as they were part of his identity, be eventually he had to size down to stretch waist pants. Your loved one might be very cold, even though it is warm in the room. I had a heating pad for him when he was feeling cold.
With each treatment, Joe was welcoming the destruction of his strong body, just for more time with us. As the treatment increased, so did the side effects. He had thrush so badly in his mouth and I was at the pharmacy every day for something. There was a nationwide shortage of nystatin for the thrush and I felt so helpless. He became so weak from the treatment that he had to be hospitalized. At the hospital they figured out that he had a-fib, he needed oxygen and he had MERSA. I got him back home, but I had to learn how to give him IV meds every few hours. I am not a nurse; I was not gifted with the skill of being able to deal with fluids…. But here I was spiking bags, cleaning lines, and administering meds via a port in his chest. It was a struggle.
The cancer had eroded his rib, it was spreading. He was becoming so confused and I felt so helpless. I was trying to balance keeping the kids quiet, taking care of Joe, my art, doing the housework, the yard work, and making it seem like we were all fine. I asked a few friends for advice or for help, but for the most part, Joe didn’t want anyone in the house. If you have a friend who is a caregiver and they reach out, please just go help. It’s hard to ask for help.
As Joe’s Cancer spread, the doctors never said two months or two weeks, time was not quantified. Things happened so fast. We were fighting this and suddenly, I was frantically pushing our furniture in front for our doors so Joe could not get out. He was sure that people were trying to hurt us, and he had to get out to protect us. He got out one time and fell in the front yard. He was muddy and had lost his glasses when I found him. Joe would take things apart, the remote, the air conditioner, he started to cut things up with scissors. He cut his oxygen tubing, he went into my studio and just started cutting everything. I was so scared. The cancer had traveled to his brain.
Joe’s doctor recommended hospice. Our affairs were not in order. Our life was unravelling. After hospice talked to us they wanted to know where he wanted to “go” afterward. They meant what funeral home and Joe just wanted to go sit in his hostas. He asked if they would give him a shot and he would fall asleep? They explained how it would work and he looked and me and said, “you have to do this. I need for you to do this.” I needed my mom and my hands were sweating. The hospice nurse was so kind, and we talked about a lot of things I really liked her. But she was unable, per policy, to be my friend afterward.
He passed a few days later, and the funeral men came to get him. It was dark outside, but the lights were on in the house and they propped the front door open. They took him and I was left with the front room full of moths and night flying things.
There are no heroes, in life. We never think we are doing the right things. He picked me to walk him home and I did the best I could.
It was gifted to me by my friend Kim and because it came with a hand written note and recommendation, it went to the top of my reading. Maybe two years ago, my friend Melissa Belanger recommended The Night Circus. I was unfamiliar with it and was pretty much reading Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett exclusively, you know, catching up... I read it and loved it. The voice that it was told in was different. It was told in a way that I could almost hear the author telling me a story. I liked that. I love stories. I read Night Circus many times, absorbing the magic where I could. And then the wait for Ms. Morgenstern's next story.
The Starless Sea started out with the same voice, and it was like hearing from an old friend. Ms. Morgenstern weaves a story of myth and time and honey and keys and books and now that I've read the last of the pages I'm now able to connect some stars together. It's one of those books that after you finish, you want to sit down for coffee with the author and ask serious questions. You have to digest her words and think on them awhile. But part of the entire book, and underlaying thread is choice and what you choose and what matters to the story... It's up to you how you see things. The stories unfold, envelope and stick to you like honey. You may drown in the thick dreamy story, or honey, but it's your choice what happens next. The main character, Zachary Ezra Rawlins, seems to be questing for meaning. There are symbols throughout the story and Zachary is the heart AND the key.
It took me awhile to read it. 512 pages takes longer these days, but each page was wonderful. Ms. Morgenstern's writing is like a dream and it's nice to be lost in her Starless Sea. The son of a fortune teller is making his own story, his own fortune. When she wrote, "But this is not where their story ends. Their story is only just beginning. And no story ever truly ends and long as it is told." I wept.
I've read so many reviews of this book and many miss the point. If you could soak a story in romance and dreamy bits you would have The Starless Sea.
I am in the midst of transition. All of my Prim Pumpkin social media and web presence is transitioning to My Dearest Witch. You will see my same artwork, just a change of name! Thank you for following along.
Joe was deep in the woods when I called him that day. I explained that life was changing for us artistically and the epically magical show we were part of was retiring. The questions swirled through my head, which was darting from subject to subject quite messily. He sent ideas to me from the woods and I received them in our little home in the city. String laying over the top of one another and circling back. We had stared weaving right then, although we didn't know it yet. It was a the beginning part of a new story, or the continuation of a story that had been told before... we didn't know which yet.
We would do it. We would create from our chests and send out into the world a space where the show could continue. A place where simultaneously, artists would spin their stories and others would pick up the strands and continue a weaving of people and ideas and love. This is what Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween is. A weaving of pure magic.
You've caught me at an odd time. But odd is just as good as another time. I look forward to telling you so many stories. I am happy that you have found me, even if it's now. Now is quite different than then you see, my dear husband has left me... left us. He had cancer for a short time. But I want you to know he was the biggest fan of my work. He encouraged me and supported my dreams in such a way that made me know that this path of doll making is mine to walk. This path of grief is also mine.