26 December 2016

25 December 2016

Merry Christmas




No travel plans, no shopping malls
No candy canes or Santa Claus
For as the day of rest draws near
It's just the two of us this year
No silver bells or mistletoe
We'll kiss and watch our TV shows

I'll come to you, I'll sing to you
Like it's Christmas in the room
I'll dance with you, I'll laugh with you
Until it's Christmas in the room

No traffic jams, no ice and storm
For in the house the fire is warm
No Christmas tree, no great parade
It's just an ordinary day
No parties planned, no place to go
It's just the two of us alone
And in the house we see a light
That comes from what we feel inside

I'll come to you, I'll sing to you
Like it's Christmas in the room
I'll dance with you, I'll laugh with you
Until it's Christmas in the room
Until it's Christmas in the room

Oh, I can see the day when we'll die
But I don't care to think of silence
For now, I hear you laughing
The greatest joy is like the sunrise

No gifts to give, they're all right here
Inside our hearts the glorious cheer
And in the house we see a light
That comes from what we know inside

I'll come to you, I'll sing to you
Like it's Christmas in the room
I'll dance with you, I'll laugh with you
Until it's Christmas in the room
Until it's Christmas in the room

Like it's Christmas in the room
Like it's Christmas in the room

24 December 2016

Let's hear it for the trees

Isn't it interesting how despite the fact that generations of our ancestors were terrified of the forest so many of us now strive this time of year to bring a bit of it into the hearts of our homes.

Silverlake by Ellie Davies

So let's take a moment to think about that.,,and thank the trees. And the tree farmers. 





23 December 2016

Democracy

"In these dark days Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman found comfort and hope in the work of Leonard Cohen. Together they recorded this new version of “Democracy.” Amanda composed the piano and Neil recorded the lyrics. Their friends David Mack and Olga Nunes created this stunning video to go with the song. They gave it as a gift to support PEN America and its mission to celebrate and defend free expression." - Source

 

18 December 2016

Hygge?

While in Copenhagen last December I must admit to being incredibly impressed with the place. Because English seems to be a 2nd language in that city it was easy to navigate. Plus the public transportation (bus, train, and canal boats) seemed very sensibly run AND our Copenhagen card (bought for the maximum 5 days) made taking it free!

Lots of people were still riding bicycles to and from work even in chilly December! There were plenty of places to eat and drink at whatever your budget could afford and they all seemed very cozy. Of course, the Christmas lights and greenery everywhere enhanced the feeling. We spent our last night having a fantastic meal in a restaurant totally lit by candles!

All this is, apparently, a part of what makes up hygge...



But there's a darker side to hygge...

"Twinkly candles, cheery teapots, woolly socks and cushions: these are the domestic trappings needed this winter to create a cosy sense of Danish “hygge”. But if the prospect makes you nauseous, do not despair. There is a potent antidote available for an overdose of Scandinavian kitsch that is just as old as the original concept of “hygge”. The word “uhygge” describes the exact opposite of cosy: it is the name for the unsettling feeling that you are being watched from the forest. Perhaps by a troll or an evil witch."  - Trolls, killers, watchers in the woods: Danes chill to the dark side of hygge

You can listen to more about hygge and it's darker side below; although this perspective does not involve trolls...not in the folkloric sense anyway.

15 December 2016

Snow Day

So, we had a snow day the other day. And a half-day today! And two more storm systems expected this weekend. Yep, winter has hit hard! We had about 20-25 cms of snow during most of Monday. Luckily things had fallen into place nicely re: having Christmasy things to do on a snow day.

Incredibly thankful that the day before we'd got the new snow tires installed (thanks Firestone). I didn't know a storm was coming so was also grateful to the cabbie, who took me up to get the car, for mentioning it. I'd not been listening to the news that morning as I was busy Christmas cleaning!

After taking our summer tires to the storage unit and picking up some last items (like a tree skirt) I was on my way to drop off the last of my Christmas cards. The nearest postal outlet to us is in a drugstore at Churchill Square. And there, in a corner spot of the parking lot, you can buy Xmas trees.

Having picked up the tarp, hatchet, and tree stand while at the
Hey, lady!
I put a hook thing on the floor for you!
storage unit I was all prepared. So after a quick consultation with one of the tree sellers as to available sizes, a run to the bank machine, and the setting out of the tarp in the hatchback, I got us a tree!

After an evening of thawing in the porch (recommended by the Xmas tree guy) we used the hatchet to whittle the end down to fit into my hubby's tree stand (cast iron and made by his Grandfather). And that's how it was all ready on Monday's snow day for our attention. A suitable libation in hand, cat assistant at the ready, and holiday tunes playing in the background we set to work!

Ta da!

09 December 2016

Rug Hooking Ornaments

This weekend is the tea and sale at Anna Templeton, a local arts and crafts centre.

Remember when I wrote about taking a Christmas ornament class at Anna Templeton Centre? Well, it was great! Catherine, the instructor, was really good and even though I have done some rug hooking before, I learnt some valuable tips.

First off she reassured me that I should not to be afraid to give the work room to breathe. I often try to pack in as many stitches as I can in the burlap but doing that can make it bunchy and it's not necessary. She also taught us how to finish a piece. A very valuable tip is to use diluted white glue around the edges so that after you've cut it out and are ready to fold it over the burlap trim doesn't start to unravel!

So, here are some shots in process and completed, of the bird (suppposed to be a cardinal) I did.

Front (in process)

Back (in process) 

Front (completed)

Back (completed) 

Unfinished moonlit landscape - still have to fold over
and sew down edges and do a felt backing


08 December 2016

Christmas Parade, yay!

So last Sunday the previously postponed Downtown Christmas Parade went ahead. I wasn't sure I was going to go but a friend texted me and set up a spot to meet. So, suitably clothed, off I went. And man, am I glad I did cause what great fun! Her kids came and a few other friends joined us and we all watched from the sidelines hollering and shouting. We were in front of Fred's Records where they were serving free hot chocolate...score! It was chilly but we had sunshine and some flurries. Of course, it really started snowing once Santa showed up 😉

Here are some highlights...



Lots of dancers, marching bands, dogs, a few floats, quite a few costumed characters of various sorts, but I gotta say, other than the mummering hobby horse, the Maple Leaf bologna seemed particularly local...hee hee!



06 December 2016

Christmas Specials

So, this is the time of year for some great tv watching...especially on BBC. For me it's got some of the best holiday viewing around. AND one of the upcoming specials happens to be one I've been impatiently waiting for...Last Tango in Halifax.



If you're not familiar with this show now's the time to catch up on Netflix (oh, I envy you!). Or try this link on Dailymotion for episode 1 of Series 1.

28 November 2016

For the love of clay...

I bought my first piece from Blue Moon pottery (a fridge magnet, I think) years ago!

  Our Hearts and Hands - Blue Moon Pottery from Jim MacDonald on Vimeo.

Erin has become quite the potter in her own right! I saw her down at The Plantation's Open House this past weekend. I bought one of these shotglass, all featuring quintessential Newfoundland expressions, for...someone.

Source



27 November 2016

Candlelight Christmas...

...at Commissariat House was a hoot! I think they had way more people show up for the guided tours than they were expecting. Even tho I got there about a half hour after the start time I had to wait over an hour for my group tour. But in the meantime there were carols to be sung, stick bundles to be made, mummers running round and acting the fool, a British soldier occasionally firing off his musket, and a fire pit to try and huddle round (the crowd around that was sometimes three people deep). Oh yeah, and there were large urns of hot chocolate and apple cider that disappeared as soon as they appeared. Every time I finally got access to one it was empty. Sign of a very successful event, I'm sure!


Once your tour group is called (by a tireless young woman wandering round ringing a bell) you gather at the back door. The door opens and you are all quickly ushered into the kitchen by a maid who wants to show you, her friends, how pretty the house looks all done up for Christmas. You're introduced to various historical characters in several beautifully decorated Georgian rooms and given a short performance. Each performance gives you a sense of what was happening in and around Commissariat House and St. John's during the season. Although truth be told I was too busy looking around the rooms to follow the narratives very closely!

The Dining Room

"The Commissariat was built between 1818-1820 as the home and offices of the Assistant Commissary General - the supply officer for British forces in Newfoundland...a volatile period in 19th-century St. John's: British naval rule is ending and a power struggle is at hand..."


The final room features a button accordion player who you sing a few carols with before you're ushered out the door and into the night. Only to be met again by those rascally mummers!

24 November 2016

Christmas Craziness Begins

Years ago my hubby and I started buying 1 or 2 every Xmas.
Here's our chance to add a few more to our small collection!
Source
This weekend is a blur of Christmas activity! As well as the Candlelight Christmas at Commissariat House and the Open House at the Plantation the other two events I'm looking forward to are the city's Christmas parade (Sunday) and the Ten Thousand Villages festival which starts today!

For those of you not in the know "Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), a coalition of handicraft and agricultural producer organizations, and Fair Trade organizations from both the North and the South."

Yep. Back in the day, before big box stores and online shopping, the Ten Thousand Villages local shop was a hive of activity this time of year. Regardless of your budget you were always sure to find something fun, funky, and fair trade. But times changed and the little store downtown could not compete and they closed :(

But they come back around this time of year to set up shop somewhere. This year they are at The Lantern. Which is only three blocks away!

For those of you who can't make it check out this link for 7 Days of Deals from Ten Thousand Villages.ca.

And check out this link for The Overcast's list of other upcoming events in the city and environs.


20 November 2016

Snow Woman

If I have hope for the future it lies, in part, within indigenous communities in Canada and the United States.
'Bernard Iquugaqtuq making snow woman for his daughter' ~ (Inuk) ~ Naujaat NU 1951

'Theresie Iquugaqtuq with snow woman' ~ (Inuk) ~ Naujaat NU 1951

Check out the Twitter feed of Paul Seesequasis for more amazing images

16 November 2016

Some local gift suggestions and holiday fun...

Beeswax candle from Paradise Farms Inc
My husband insists that there be no Christmas until December 12th. But I have a tradition that means decorating starts December 1. Ok, so we've agreed on no Christmas tunes (that he can hear) until the 12th. And maybe minimal decorating till then.

In the meantime I have started my own Christmas craziness. First was the Craft Council of NL Craft Fair. Nice! Got a few things as stocking stuffers and a very nice Xmas bees wax candle. Some of the amazing vendors there included...

Erin Callahan St. John
The Purple Raven Boutique
Graham Blair Woodcuts
Devin Hookey (Blacksmith Apprentice)
Quidi Vidi Hand Wrought Pewter
Acho Dene Native Crafts

Then last night I started a two night Rug Hooking class (we're doing  christmas ornaments) at Anna Templeton. And this week I signed up to volunteer with the Mummers Festival. And on the weekend I plan on going to the Commissariat House Christmas event!

Other local upcoming holiday fun:
Anna Templeton Christmas Tea & Sale

Let the season commence!

Cause God knows we need something to cheer about these days.

10 November 2016

#BustertheBoxer

I know I've already done a post today but I think we need some extra cheering up, don't you? Besides this is trending...

Some Christmas Spirit

Given the recent outcome of the American election, well, I think we all need an infusion of Christmas spirit...


09 November 2016

Christmas Fair

Here's something you might like to know. The Newfoundland Craft Council is having their Christmas Craft Fair starting today. It runs from November 9 to 13.



November 9 - 13, 2016
Jack Byrne Arena, just 2 km past Stavanger Drive on Torbay Road
The Craft Council is pleased to invite you to the 2016 Christmas Craft Fair! This high-profile, juried craft event will feature professional craft makers and designers from all over the province.  Special features of the event include exhibitions and demonstrations. 

If you value the unique and enduring, then you are a Citizen of Craft!  This is the Craft Fair for you!                                                                 

Admission: 
$5. Children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult

Check the website for hours and other info!

22 October 2016

The mystery of Holiday Spirit

You may know that I have another blog...focused on that popular spooky night that happens the end of October. Admittedly, it's usually my favourite holiday of the year and because this is my first Autumn back in North America in 5 years -- where leaves turn colours and fall off the trees while air temperatures drop --- I was expecting to be full to overflowing with feelings of anticipation and impending spookiness.

I have been somewhat disappointed to discover that has not happened. I am not filled with the ghoulish glee and a sense of mischief that I often feel in October. Why? I do not know. I guess sometimes it just doesn't happen. I have seasonally decorated the house, I have crafted spooky things, but nadda. I explained it to a friend as feeling like "the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak."

Now I am really not a fan of seeing Christmas things in the store before October 31st...really not! And yet, as I quickly skirt those bedecked aisles and tinselled window displays there is...something.

Yes, I think I can feel the first stirrings of that other holiday spirit.

WYNKEN, BLYNKEN & NOD (OFFICIAL VIDEO) - JACK & AMANDA PALMER from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

07 August 2016

24 April 2016

To Whom it May Concern...

"An excellent cynically downbeat Xmas tune. For those who grew up with Schoolhouse Rock and identify the voice of Bob Dorough with Saturday morning television and not with jazz, you'll most certainly have a "WTF?" moment when first hearing this. Its style is all but identical to the 'Multiplication Rock' songs he would write 10 years later." Stavro Arrgolus

 

Merry Christmas
I hope you have a white one, but for me, it's blue

Blue Christmas, that's the way you see it when you're feeling blue
Blue Xmas, when you're blue at Christmastime 
you see right through,
All the waste, all the sham, all the haste
and plain old bad taste

Sidewalk Santy Clauses are much, much, much too thin
They're wearing fancy rented costumes, false beards and big fat phony grins
And nearly everybody's standing round holding out their empty hand or tin cup
Gimme gimme gimme gimme, gimme gimme gimme
Fill my stocking up
All the way up
It's a time when the greedy give a dime to the needy
Blue Christmas, all the paper, tinsel and the fal-de-ral
Blue Xmas, people trading gifts that matter not at all
What I call
Fal-de-ral
Bitter gall.......Fal-de-ral

Lots of hungry, homeless children in your own backyards
While you're very, very busy addressing
Twenty zillion Christmas cards
Now, Yuletide is the season to receive and oh, to give and ahh, to share
But all you December do-gooders rush around and rant and rave and loudly blare
Merry Christmas
I hope yours is a bright one, but for me, it bleeds

24 March 2016

I told Santa Claus...

Source
I don't want any skates or candy
and a choo choo train will never do,
but in my Christmas letter
I told Santa Claus to bring me you.

Other presents would come in handy.
I could use a little thing or two,
but in my Christmas letter
I told Santa Claus to bring me you.

The jingle bells are ringing
through the hills and dells.
The jingle bells are ringing,
but I would much rather hear those wedding bells.

Everything will be fine and dandy,
and I hope, I hope my hope comes true.
For in my Christmas letter
I told Santa Claus to bring me you - Lyrics

06 March 2016

Three Wishes for Cinderella

Saw this years and years ago as a child while watching a Saturday show on CBC called Peanuts and Popcorn (theme music was Debussy's Golliwog's Cakewalk by Tomita). As a kid my husband also watched this same show. In fact we once bonded over our memories of Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings.

Reminiscing again the other day he asked me if I also remembered seeing something about Cinderella on Peanuts and Popcorn. I did! I remembered it as Italian and he thought it was Eastern European. And he was right cause a not-so-quick-web-search later and we discovered it turns out to be Czech! (And German.)

Apparently this 1973 film is a Christmas classic in parts of Europe. Enjoy!

 

09 January 2016

Murder for Christmas

"On Christmas Eve, heavy snowfall brings a train to a halt near the village of Hemmersby. Several passengers take shelter in a deserted country house, where the fire has been lit and the table laid for tea - but no one is at home. Trapped together for Christmas, the passengers are seeking to unravel the secrets of the empty house when a murderer strikes in their midst."

Last year the British Library published a new edition of a 1930s book called Mystery in White which was a surprise best seller! Since then they have published a few more vintage holiday themed mysteries like The Santa Klaus Murder and Murder for Christmas (1949).

The popularity of them led Martin Edwards to publish a selection of these 'vintage' mysteries in his Silent Nights.

Apparently, I have been out of the loop when it comes to holiday murder mysteries!!

01 January 2016

Ghost Stories

This was a great one! I hope there will be more!


Based on a true story. And books by Neil Spring.