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Monday, 25 January 2016

Customs, cultures and Traditions

At Christmas I was given the most beautiful calendar.  It is full of lovely sentiments and sayings and is by Susan Branch.  She has lots of wonderful things on her blog and in her online shop.  You perhaps remember the book I read last year by her that was so lovely called A Fine Romance - Falling in love with the English Countryside.

The calendar is from America so some of the dates have things that are different to us here in the UK.  Saturday, January 23rd has a little wolf and the word Wolf Moon on it. 

I checked my diary and yes it was the full moon and so I looked up Wolf Moon to see what that meant. 

Native American tribes used names for their moons to keep track of the seasons.  Algonquin tribes who lived in the area of New England had perhaps the greatest effect on the early European settlers in America, and the settlers adopted the Native American habit of naming the moons. 

Traditionally, in January, snow gathers deep in the woods and the howling of wolves can be heard echoing in the cold still air, hence this months full moon being called the Wolf Moon

I found this saying from White Elk and the image shows a wolf moon

and here is White Elk himself -
a chief of the Oto Nation
Photo by Edward S. Curtis
I'm going to enjoy seeing the different things on my Amercan calendar and finding out about new and interesting subjects during this year.
Here in the UK, today January 25th, is Burns Night.  The great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) is remembered on his birthday.  
There is a formal air to the evening and the Order of the Supper. The eating of a Scottish meal of haggis, tatties and neeps (turnips) and the drinking of whisky is traditional and of course a recital of his poems.  His most famous of course being Auld Lang Syne that we all sing on New Years Eve or Hogmanay.
You may know this one, A Red, Red Rose.....
O my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt
the sun;
And I will
thee still, my dear,
While the sands
life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!
I'm not Scottish, although my late maternal grandfather did marry for a second time and his wife was pure Glaswegian so I came to know some of the Scottish culture and its customs.  I've celebrated Robert Burns birthday today with a cup of tea and another traditional Scottish food, a piece of good old shortbread (a tin left over from Christmas lol)
The 12 Days of Christmas is another tradition, and it might have passed, but I'm still stitching on mine.  This weekend saw Day 11 completed.  One more to stitch....
A date for next months calendar is Valentines Day, something else we all celebrate.  I can't show you what i'm stitching for that as its an exchange, but it is looking really pretty.
I can share some sock knitting, sock one is finished, and sock two is halfway there ...

Kitty Sampler had a little attention too with the building being erected ....
When I showed the oven mitt challenge some of you asked to see what others had made.  Last Thursday we had a show and tell.  Three ladies had really gone to town with theirs and others had decorated similar to mine.  
Here's the one that was voted the winner.  Desert Island Discs from the Radio 2 programme with the mitt being used as the island.

We had a fabulous witch.  the mitt was stuffed and the thumb became her nose, clever idea ....

Here are some others, the yellow haired doll is a bookend and quite weighty, she's called Belinda Bookender and won a prize for the prettiest.

A few ladies had to sit in the naughty corner as they had not completed the challenge!!
and to round off my post, here's today's happy thought from my page-a-day calendar...
and yes, we had a little of the lovely sun today, just a little peek out from between the clouds, but it was there.
I hope those of you who come to visit and live in the snow hit areas overseas are ok, the news here has been full of the happenings and how hard it has been for you all.  It certainly makes my little bit of snow that I posted look very poor.  Stay warm and safe and i'll look forward to seeing lots of lovely updates on your blogs of what you've been doing whilst having enforced stitching days at home.
Love and blessings to you all


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Brrr it's mighty cold

The weekend came and so did the white stuff, our garden looked like a magical wonderland

A granddaughter, step grandchildren and a sledge made for fun activites on the park Sunday morning but boy was it cold.
After a lovely Sunday dinner cooked by my daughter, I was glad to come home, light a roaring fire and sit stitching for the afternoon.  
A finish of the next day on the PSS 12 Days SAL happened.  Just two more days to go.  Can I get these completed by the end of the month? 
Last night saw another finish, this time the Joyful World SAL with the Snowflower Diaries.  This wasn't on the plan for January, but I couldn't resist any longer and needed to see it up for what's left of the month.  A simple flat ornament finish and it now stands on a cheap wooden easel. 
It's quite big being stitched on 28ct but hubby really likes it, he's looking forward to February's Mr Drake and his wife now after I showed him what I had printed off - not that he is wishing the month away he says. 
Wednesday is parlour evening with Barb and the ladies at Needlecraft Haven - virtual stitching group meeting and working on an LHN, CCN or Sampler Girl Design.    A little more was done to LHN Kitty Sampler last week and of course as today is Wednesday it will be out again this evening.  Unfortunately, the picket fence and food bowl doesn't show up too well on the fabric in this picture, it's a bit clearer on the actual stitching.
Cold weather means cold feet and I was complaining to DH about that as he sat there with his woolly socks on.   He commented that hadn't I bought myself some sock wool not so long back to knit myself a pair?  Thinking about it I seemed to remembered I had .... foraging through cupboards I found it and duly casted on a sock
I've looked back on blog posts to see if i had blogged it.  I was going to knit me some socks in February 2012  .... golly doesn't time fly when you have other stash to knit and sew... oooops!
Have you been hunkering down under the fluffy blankets crafting more with the cold temperatures?   I've seen lots of lovely things being made recently on blogs.
I've had an email from a lady to tell me I've won a giveaway on her blog. A lovely chart that I intend to stitch in February. Something else that wasn't on the plan for next month, oh well ... that's life.  I'll tell you all about that when it arrives in the post.
A new start tomorrow will be a biscornu, its for the exchange we had at the Autumn meet up with the 5 ladies who were there.  The theme was a valentine themed biscornu and opening day is Valentines Day.  Sorry, but no clue or details about what i'm stitching, that will have to come as a Valentine surprise for blog readers when it's opened and I open what I've received.   I still need to stitch the challenge design chosen by Christine this month, there's still 11 days left of the month, I wonder if i'll get it done for the first deadline of the year which is the last Sunday of the month?  Good job there were 5 weekends in this month.
Here's todays happy thought from my page-a-day calendar ...
Love and blessings to you all

Friday, 15 January 2016

Gifted Gorgeousness - January

Are you familiar with Gifted Gorgeousness?
15th Day
Created by the lovely Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching, a way to show what kind and wonderful people crafting folks are with their lovely gifts they send out to others.  
The rules are quite simple and can be found on Jo's sign up page at the top of her blog  Januarys link up page can be found here if you want to see what Gifted Gorgeousness posts everyone else has made.
Back in September an envelope arrived in the post with a gift for me from Linda
Two balls of wonderful sock wool that she would not be using, and could I make use of it .... yes please.
Linda has started a new blog this year which can be found in the link above,  here is her old blog link in case you don't know Linda and want to see what she got up to previously)
Hubby was delighted, he does love warm toasty feet and delights in wearing hand knitted socks.
Off the needles came not one ........
but 2 pairs of beautiful socks, the second pair being finished last week.
Knitting pins clicking away last week after the socks were finished I knitted up a bunny to thank Linda for her kindness.  This little lady went off in the post complete with her little pen so she could help Linda with her new journals that she is keeping this year.

I do hope she keeps your craft room nice and tidy Linda! 
She seems to have settled in nicely with Linda and hijacked her blog posting already lol
Many thanks Linda for your gifted gorgeousness that arrived with me, and I hope you like my little gift to you.
I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else has posted this month.
Love and blessings to you all

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Happy thoughts

DH bought me a lovely 'Thought for the Day' gift by Helen Exley

You turn a page each day and read a happy thought for that day. Today it says ...

A reminder that even on the bleakest of days when the mood is not so good things will get brighter.  It's a lovely thing to turn the page each morning and see what's awaiting me. 
Helen Exley has some wonderful gifts on her website all made with the intention of sending warm wishes to the recipient.
Bringing a smile to me today, its turned really cold and wintry here, is this little bunch of daffodils, a gentle reminder that the days are getting longer
The vibrant yellow does warm the heart and the scent is quite good too for first of the seasons blooms.  Go on have a close up look .....

I'm still stitching a bit of Christmas here though. I've crossed off another Day on the PSS 12 Days SAL, Day 9 finished.   A visit from the frog hindered this as 3 of the ladies somehow ended up being slightly shorter than their friends.   Could I leave it as we are all differing heights, I left it and pondered, but no it had to come out and be re-stitched and now they are all the same.
The December challenge, an old free online design from Prairie Schooler chosen by Christine for the Needlecraft Haven monthly Christmas ornament SAL is finally made up - just a little late.
I better kit up and start January's chosen design seeing as we are almost half way through the month.
I gave in and had a new start with the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL - couldn't resist any longer when seeing so many being stitched and finished on blogs.  It will be nice to have a monthly stitch to display this year.  I say I will do one every year and somehow I never do.  I've done quite a bit more than this pic shows as I intended to blog yesterday but it didn't happen - you know how it is.  I see February is out and some have already stitched that one too!  
What's brightening your wintry days?
{{hugs}} to a special online friend who I had the opportunity to speak to on the phone recently and get well wishes to the poorly folks, lots of nasty bugs about at the moment.
Blessings to you all from my home to yours
Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

St Distaff's Day

In folklore, January 7th traditionally used to be the day to return to work after the Christmas holidays after twelfth night. 

Men to the fields (Plough Monday - link courtesy of the Plough Monday website) and women with their distaff to their spinning (St Distaff's Day)

A distaff is another word for stick or spindle onto which wool or flax is wound for spinning.

You can read lots more about the origins of St Distaff's Day, how spinners went from hand spinning to spinning wheel and who celebrates it now on lots of different websites if it is something that interests you.

This painting is called The Distaff worker

Oil painting in 1878 by Frederick Goodall
 (picture courtesy of BBC) 

I've been knitting a little today, does that count?  Not a distaff in sight but it is wool.   It's the socks for DH I mentioned in my last blog post, one is now completed and another started...

I've been stitching as well

Day 8 completed for the PSS 12 Days SAL

A new start for the Wednesday evening LHN/CCN SAL with Barb and he ladies at Needlecraft Haven.  This one is Kitty Sampler by LHN.
My Thursday evening crafting group met for the first time this year tonight. 

At the Christmas party Santa came round with a sack full of gifts, one for each of us.  When we opened them, we had all been given an oven mitt.  It was a gift with a difference though.  We had a challenge to decorate it over the holiday and bring it back to the first meeting.  They were all different colours but exactly the same.

As I was contemplating what to put onto mine, it occurred to me that I was a 'leftie' and perhaps something that people had not considered when decorating theirs was that if you decorated one side of it then it could only be used by either a left handed or right handed person.  With that in mind, I decided to just add a decoration around the cuff.  Felted flowers in 2 differing colours to co-ordinate with the mitt itself were added...

Then I embroidered a backstitch in green for the stems to join them up and made my stitches a similar size to the quilted ones on the mitt.  It was fun to see what others did with theirs.

Are you pleased to be back to your normal routines this past week?

Happy St Distaff's Day my crafting friends

Blessings from my home to yours