First, I performed a fairly simple ritual for Woden, asking Him to bless the branch I was going to work on. Now, when I say "fairly simple", I mean very simple. It was very impromptu as well, but I'll try to recreate it as a bit of a guide.
"Woden, you who drank the mead of poetry, and hung from the Tree for nine nights and nine days, and who drank from the Well of Mimir. Mighty Woden who sees all Runecraft, bless this branch from which my runes are made. I offer you this gift (libation of mead) so that I may see with wisdom, speak with wisdom, live with wisdom."
After the ritual, I sawed off some circles for the first Aett and sanded them down until they were smooth. With all the bark gone, they are a bit smaller than I anticipated, but I think my already over-laden altar will be happier for it. I plan to make one rune each day, spending the day meditating on its meaning, and hopefully doing a summarizing blog post at the end of each day. (And hopefully also helping me out with the meditation requirement for the Dedicant's Path - I have a much easier time meditating when I have something to think about!)
The fantastic thing about the Anglo-Saxon runes is that there is a fully intact Rune poem that describes what the runes meant to the people of the land. Being post-Christian, there's definitely some questionable stuff in there, but it's nothing that can't be figured out with some good old UPG! I'll be quoting the relevant portion each day as I continue to study the runes. Hopefully this will be a helpful resource for future students to come!