Upholding Ma'at

Journeying through the modern world with ancient ways.


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Craft Friday: Decorated Eggs

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I made this craft last year, but I felt with the spring equinox upon us I could share my rendition of this craft.  Obviously I went for an Ancient Egyptian theme so I could use them around a Kemetic holiday.

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I used paper mâche eggs in lieu of real ones and an image from an Egyptian stamp.  I also added a bit gold acrylic paint to add some contrast to all the green acrylic paint.

I hope others give this project a try, and I’d love to see the results.

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Craft Friday: Stellar Menat

I sat down to relax and finish a few projects.  One project I had on the back burner for too long was a very delicate menat I’m using for a ritual.  Here’s what it looks like:

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I used all glass beads except for the stars.   I dubbed it the “Stellar Menat” because it has this celestial feel based on how I designed it.  Apart from the star beads I based the strand design off of the necklace design which holds the Silver Crystal from the manga version of Sailor Moon.  The reason I held back on finishing it was because I hadn’t found the right pendant.  I found that about a month ago at a craft store, and it’s the perfect size for my hand.  Since my menat is too delicate for everyday use I’m confining it only to rituals.

If you’d like to learn how to make your own menat, or even learn more about them, follow this link to my tutorial.


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Craft Friday: Sokar Mummy Net

In preparation for the Sokar festival this past month a mummy was made to look like Sokar. Each year a new one was made and the previous year’s mummy was given a funeral. Part of the preparation for that funeral included wrapping the mummy of the previous year in a net made of lapis lazuli. I try to recreate it not only for personal use, but so others may have an idea of how to make this net too.

I wasn’t sure on all of the details and I had to make adjustments as well. I couldn’t afford lapis lazuli beads at the time so I made some very crude beads and painted them to look like lapis lazuli. I wasn’t certain what type of cord was used for making the net, so I went with my waxed linen thread. I figure as long as a strong, plant based beading thread is used it should hold.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Lapis lazuli beads
  • Scissors
  • Waxed linen cord
  • Ruler (optional)

1.  Cut the thread out to roughly 8 to 10 inches. Arrange the thread so it makes a cross hatch. I cut as many strands as I have beads since I’m using so few, so I ended up cutting 10 strands. In hindsight it would have been better to base it off the intersection points. I’m also very aware that my lap desk is in sad shape.

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2.  Make a square knot at each intersection point. When adding a bead make a square knot, string the bead, then make another square knot.

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3.  Repeat until finished.

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There are a few things to keep in mind when making this. Work on a flat surface and try to keep the strings in their arrangement to avoid the eventual mess up I made. I used the measurements for the length of the strings because my Sokar mummies tend to be small. Adjust the length according to comfort and size of the mummy you’re making.


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Craft Friday: Corn Mummy Molds

With the Ka-Her-Ka season upon me I thought about how corn mummies are essential both in temple and layman practice. Given that I’d share how to make a corn mummy mold as corn mummies.  Corn mummies are miniature statuettes made from a combination of sand, wheat, and barley, with soil added to the mix depending on the region.  These mummies were shaped like Wesir and bandaged with linens and finally given a mask and atef crown made of wax.

The sources I found call for the molds to be made out of silver or gold (or both), but there are molds also found made of clay. I am not awesome enough as a goldsmith nor can afford the tools necessary, and I suspect I’m not alone so clay is the media I chose.  If you can get gold-colored oven bake clay I recommend it as it skips painting it.  Plus my paint job is rather embarrassing given I didn’t realize how little gold paint I had.

I’m not making the molds to scale with the corn mummies found in excavations. If you wish to make them to scale the mummies were roughly 17 1/2 inches long, 5 1/4 inches wide, and 5 1/2 inches deep.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Oven bake clay
  • Gold acrylic paint
  • Toothpick
  • Wax paper
  • Paint brush
  • Cardstock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sculpting tools (optional)

1.  Knead the clay until it’s soft and workable. Form two block from the clay.

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2.  Slightly flatten the blocks. Try to keep the blocks identical dimensions so when used they halves will match up.

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3.  Draw an image of the outline of Wesir onto the cardstock. Cut it out. This will serve as a stencil for the molds so they will match up later.

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4.  Place the stencil on the clay and trace with a toothpick. Scoop out some of the clay.

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5.  Poke holes in the sides leading into the mold.  It won’t drain very well, but given the mold is there to shape germinating seeds it seems to be a non issue.

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6.  Bake in the oven as per the instructions. Let cool, then paint.

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When using it remember to line the mold with linen fabric, as this was what was done when making corn mummies.  In Dendera the molds were also covered in reeds when in use.


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Craft Friday: Wine Charms

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This is a little late for a few holidays, but I figured some folks may enjoy it just the same. I decided to make these wine charms based on what I know from Tekh, namely the flow of hematite in the Nile about the time of the holiday.

The beauty of my method is the charm can be adjusted for any stem size. In this picture I have the wine charm around a brandy snifter, for an example of how wide it can stretch.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 pieces 18 gauge beading wire, 1 1/2 inches
  • 2 hematite beads, 4 mm
  • 1 hematite pendant
  • needlenose pliers
  • jewelry wire cutters (optional)

1.  Take one piece of the wire and curve it into a crescent shape.

 

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2.  Take the other piece and thread it through the pendant. Use the pliers to make a loop with the wire and close it off.

 

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3.  String the pendant loop through the curved wire. Add the beads to each end.

 

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4.  Slightly pinch the ends with the pliers and move the beads up. This is done by spinning the bead up to the end so it stays in place. Afterwards curve the wire right under the bead so it stays in place and completes the shape.

 

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This project is fairly easy to make, and the results look great. You can make it with friends as part of a celebration.


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Craft Friday: Sekhmet Ribbon Garland

I know this is late for most people, but since I’m starting Tekh over the weekend I thought this was a perfect time to share this craft. I find it really hard to make crafts for this particular holiday as it is, though. It’s a pretty straightforward about its purposes and it’s hard to work with that at times. In spite of the challenge I decided a garland would be a nice holiday project.  It also gives you a rare glimpse at my shrine.

I didn’t have enough ribbon to do what I wanted this to do, but I had enough to decorate my shrine. Also I couldn’t find bow wire, and the floral wire I found clashes with the ribbon. I ended up using beading wire instead. If you have any tips for this or recommend a place to get gold bow wire – I’ll even take red – tell me so in the comments.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • gold ribbon, 5/16 inches (about 3 feet long)
  • red ribbon, 5/8 inches (about 3 feet long)
  • red ribbon, 1/8 inches (about 3 feet long)
  • additional red ribbon for bows
  • scissors
  • Sekhmet (or a lioness) stamp
  • red ink stamp pad
  • decoupage sealant
  • 18 gauge gold beading wire
  • sand-colored cardstock
  • dowel rod, 1/4 inch
  • jewelery wire cutters
  • needlenose pliers

1.  Tie the  3 feet long ribbons together.

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2.  Grab one ribbon and wrap it around the other ribbons. This should give it a shape like the number 4.

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3.  When tightening the ribbon to make a knot place the dowel rod in between the knots. Make a square knot around the dowel rod. TIP: This may require cradling the dowel rod while making the knot.

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4.  Make a second square knot around the dowel rod. Move the ribbon to the far left.

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5.  Repeat with the other ribbons. Tie a square knot at the other end. This will serve as a cord.

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6.  With the remaining 5/8 red ribbon make bows. I made bows from 1 feet (the larger ones) and 6 inches (the smaller ones) of ribbon. I won’t however, use all of the bows. TIP: If the bows are hard to make tie a bow on a bamboo skewer, then pull off and tighten the knot.

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7.  Cut about an inch or two of the beading wire. Thread the wire through one of the loops and through the knot of a bow. Wrap the loose ends with the needlenose pliers and tuck.

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8.  Repeat with the large bows.

9.  Stamp the cardstock with the Sekhmet stamp. Cut and trim. TIP: Save any leftover pieces stamped. It will come in handy if you mess up in the following steps.

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10.  Punch a small hole in the cardstock. Thread the bow with beading wire as in step 7, followed by threading the cardstock. Use the needlenose pliers to tie it.

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11.  Repeat with the second small ribbon.

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I kept my garland fairly simple, but feel free to elaborate on it. I’d love to see any variations of this in the comment section.


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Craft Friday: Painting Update

Some of you will remember the painting I showed the world, and thus my penchant for making bad art.  After the encouragement of some of my readers and my co-sister-in-law I decided to salvage the painting.  I’ll probably add to it still as I dislike how much negative space I left.  Just the same I’ll share more of my saga with this painting.

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Craft Friday: Three Piece Plaque Banner

I really like wall hangings for holiday decorations. They’re fairly easy to make and you can tailor them for most holidays. When I saw a cute wall hanging on pinterest I was inspired to make my own for Wep Ronpet. I ended up using chipboard for this because I acquired a whole bunch of it. If you end up using a different material (like wood) you will have to adjust the tutorial accordingly (wood works best with screw eyes for this project as opposed to eyelets).

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 3 chipboard pieces, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
  • 10 1/16 scrapbooking eyelets
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  • ribbon
  • beading wire, 26 gauge
  • needlenose pliers
  • jewelery wire cutters
  • eyelet setter
  • decoupage sealant
  • scissors

1.  Measure 1 3/4 inch on both sides of the chipboard and mark. Repeat on the bottom. I made a mark too close to the edge, so I used a pen to mark where I felt it would be better placed.

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2.  Insert eyelets and use the eyelet setter per directions. TIP: Some great online instructions for using an eyelet setter can be found here.

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Repeat the first two steps on the second chipboard. Only make holes on the top of the third one.

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3.  Decorate the panels. After the paint dries apply a coat of decoupage sealant.

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I decorated the panels with the hieroglyphs for the Wep Ronpet holiday (thanks to the wonderful head of Per Djeba for helping me with this) followed by a picture of Harsomtus, only I didn’t have space for the headdress (next time I’ll plan better). For some reason I couldn’t center anything to save my life.

4.  Take the beading wire and cut out 2 pieces, roughly3-5 inches. Take the second panel and make a loop with the wire between the bottom top panel and the top second panel. Twist the ends together and trim the excess. Repeat this process between the second and third panel. TIP: Beading also works instead of ribbons, or jazz it up with both. Just remember to string the beads before tying up the ends, and if adding ribbon as well leave space to tie it.

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5.  Tie ribbons on the loops made.

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6.  Thread some ribbon through the top holes. Tie a knot at each end in the back.

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There are many ways to get creative with this, such as using beads and beading wire in lieu of ribbon. Show off your banner in the comments.


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Craft Friday: Star Straws

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If you’re like me, you like to celebrate the holidays with ritual and parties. Wep Ronpet has been a bit challenging for me because I’m not very creative, so I gravitated towards a star theme. This led me to my party idea of star drinking straws. You can either buy some straws at the store or check for tutorials and make your own. Here’s how I made mine.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Paper drinking straws
  • 1 sheet blue cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Glitter glue
  • School glue
  • Printer
  • Pens and markers (optional)

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Make a template of the stars to use with the clipart provided on a word processor program. I’d probably stick to 1 inch, 2 inches if you want large stars like I used. TIP: Be sure the lines on the stars are 0.04 inches. This will make the stars show up better.

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After printing off the sheet on cardstock cut the stars out. Save the cardstock remnants for a later step.

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Decorate the stars with glitter glue. If you really want to have some fun write your guests’ names on the stars, or draw a picture of Sopdet on it.

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Take the scraps of cardstock from the previous steps and cut some strips about 1/4 inch thick. Wrap the strips around the straw, trim, and glue the ends together.

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Place a drop of school glue on the seam and place the star on it. Let it dry decorated side down.

This is a fairly easy craft and one that’s enjoyable. I found I could make a few and, if enough space is left, can allow guests to keep the star for other uses.


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Craft Friday: Linen Amulet (a Cooler Version)

I know I have a linen amulet already made, but now I have a chance to create a more contemporary amulet to my liking. I used the same passage from before  and extrapolated which gods were represented. I really enjoy this rendition and I hope you do too.

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What You’ll Need:

-12 pendant blanks (I actually recommend 24 bezels if available)

-2 strips of linen, 3 1/2 feet each (this is for a 22 inch necklace)

-scissors

-decoupage glue

-dimensional adhesive

-black acrylic paint

-detail brush or toothpick

-brush for decoupage glue

Pendants

  1. Take a strip of linen and cut out 24 pieces to fit the pendants. NOTE: I did this because I wasn’t using bezels but pendant blanks. If you’re using bezels you’ll need 24 of them.

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  1. Paint one image of a deity per piece. Size as needed.

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3.Apply decoupage glue onto the linen and place on the blank or bezel. Let dry.

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4.  Apply the dimensional adhesive as directed. Let dry. TIP: If using the pendant blanks let it dry completely then reapply if it’s too thin.

5.  If using pendant blanks repeat steps 3 and 4 with the leftover pieces on the other side.

Necklace

1.  Take the thinner linen strip and size as necessary. If it’s still too thick for the pendant loop, fold the strip in half.
String a pendant through the strip.
2.  Tie a knot roughly 3 inches from edge. The knot should be tied so the pendant is behind it. If you’re using bezels string 2 bezel pendants onto the strip. This knot will serve as a place marker.

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3.  Tie a knot roughly 2 inches away from the other knot. I ended up untying the first knot after step 5 in order to complete the necklace.

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4.  Repeat with another pendant until all pendants are strung and 11 knots are made.

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5.  Tie the ends together to make the 12th and final knot.

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As I’ve said before the aforementioned passage was recited over the linen amulet during the Epagomenoi and on Wep Ronpet.  This was to ensure protection from Sekhmet and the demons of outside the year.