Missing in Action


It’s been some time since I have felt up to giving some attention to this blog.  Sorry about that.  I’ve missed reading those blogs I follow, and those who follow me.  Things were quite dreary for some time.  I was diagnosed with hypothyroid and located a cyst in my breast all at the same time of dealing with the grief of my dad’s death.  I am now on thyroid medication, it has helped with the depression symptoms, but I am still quite tired.  Another round of blood work at the end of January will determine whether there is actually any stabilization of hormone levels.

ImageOn top of everything, we have had snow.  LOTS of snow.  It’s beautiful, serene, pristene, glorious.  It brings extra time in getting ready to go anywhere.  It involves brushing all of it off the vehicle, shovelling out the driveway, the sidewalk (otherwise they won’t deliver your mail), the steps into the house.  December broke the record for snowfall for that month, over 100 cms.  Compound those challenges with only seven hours of daylight and it is not surprising so many people suffer from S.A.D.D.

I didn’t sew much from September to December either.  The interest just wasn’t there.  I did manage to get a small banner completed for the lower hall at the church and two banners and two banner tops in yellow and white for the times in the liturgical year that call for those colours.  I will get pictures up in a future blog.  Promise. Image

This little project was originally a panel that had a variety of Christmas/winter images.  I fussy cut all the images and reassembled the Christmas ones with some filler colours.

Merry Ukrainian Christmas, btw.

Luke 2:10-1110 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

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Planning for Christmas


Whaaaa?  Christmas?  I know, pushing the season conjures the urge to roll my eyes and tata the major retailers.  However, when you are a quilter and have a project in mind for Christmas, it’s time to get at it.  Our quilters at the church are creating banners for the sanctuary.  We start tomorrow.  I am in the process of getting a sample done so they will have something to follow.  Here’s a preview.

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Luke 2:1  In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.

 

Tulip Surprise


I’m a sucker for those value packages of fall planting bulbs, especially when they are sold by colour, being of course – purple.  I bought two packages last fall.  With those packages you never know what you are going to get, they are just a mix.  A pleasant surprise this spring, beautiful two toned tulips in the front yard.

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Admirael van der Eijck from the 1637 catalog of P.Cos., sold for 1045 guilders on February 5, 1637

The introduction of the tulip to Europe in the late 1500’s created quite a stir and within a few decades the tulip became a coveted luxury item.  At one point the price of certain tulip bulb in a much sought after variety cost 10 times the yearly wage of a skilled labourer.   Developed mainly in the United Provinces (The Netherlands) it became a status symbol which resulted in Tulip Mania.

The Canadian Tulip Festival occurs every May in Ottawa, a display of millions of tulips blooming in brilliant colour.  It was initiated in response to the birth of a baby girl during World War II.  In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. To commemorate the birth, the Canadian Parliament flew the Dutch flag over Peace Tower. This is the only time a foreign flag has flown over the Canadian Parliament Building.  In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.  While the Netherlands continues to send 20,000 bulbs to Canada each year (10,000 from the Royal Family and 10,000 from the Dutch Bulb Growers Association), by 1963 the festival featured more than 2 million, and today sees nearly 3 million tulips purchased from Dutch and Canadian distributors.

Tulips are the only flower that continues to grow in the vase after being cut. They can continue to grow up to another 3 inches. They also conform to the shape of the container, straight up if in a tall container, twisting to fit into a flat or irregular shaped vase.

The ancient Turks used to brew a love potion from tulips and many cultures consider tulips to be the symbol of perfect love.

In the early 1700s, A Turk by the name of Sultan Ahmed III was the first to begin importing bulbs from Holland. But it proved a fatal attraction. When Sultan Ahmed was brought to trial, his crimes included “having spent too much money on the traditional annual tulip festivals”. The sentence: He was beheaded.

In Japan, certain flour is made from tulips.

In times of famine the Dutch have eaten tulip bulbs when no other food was available.

Hans Gillisz. Bollongier, Flower Piece, Frans Hals Museum, 1644. The top flower was always the most expensive one and in this bouquet it is the tulip Semper Augustus.

William Morris 1875 design printed on cotton

Of course, a nod to my favourite arts and crafts artist, William Morris.

The tulip and the butterfly
Appear in gayer coats than I:
Let me be dressed fine as I will,
Flies, worms, and flowers exceed me still.
~Isaac Watts

The Liberal Arts: An Education in Cattle Raiding


So grateful for my liberal arts education. More history please!

Reflection and Choice

Cuchulain in Battle

A few days ago, I was trying to convince the freshmen and sophomores in my Western-Civilization survey to sign up for my upper-level class in the fall. The upper-level class will cover the history of Late Antiquity, roughly the years 250 to 750. We’ll talk about the fall of Rome, the rise of the church, and the formation of the medieval kingdoms of Europe. It’s going to be awesome.

In order to pique their interest, I told the class that we would be reading the Táin Bó Cúailnge. The book recounts an epic cattle raid in Ireland. That’s right, a cattle raid. I like to think of the Táin as the Iliad of the north. The queen of Connacht steals the Brown Bull of Cooley (he’s an exceptionally fine bull), and the men of Ulster have to get him back. It’s epic; it’s heroic, it’s awesome.

I was passionately…

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When it Rains, it Pours


It’s not raining at the moment, it’s snowing.  Grrrrr.  It is not pouring in a meteorological sense but a time management one.

It has been a crazy buzy week!  Three services in three days; a funeral on Friday, Holy Communion at the Presbytery Meeting on Saturday, and Sunday worship today.  The overwhelming workload of Lent/Easter is now behind me and hopefully things can get back to some sort of normalcy.  And holidays are scheduled for the end of the month!  Yahoo.

In the midst of it all, an unexpected honour came my way.  Esther, from ipatch, Made with bits of love! nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I actually had to consider, postpone it for a couple days, tickled by the honour, but realizing I really had no spare moment to attend to it properly.  The thought, “Big deal, you’re to busy to accept an internet award?!” is probably crossing your mind’s electrical impulses at this point.  A bit of explanation, the Liebster award comes with some strings attached, basically it is something of a blogger chain letter without a top of the pyramid, except that it can increase visits to your blog.  It also has a personal revelations component through answering questions asked by the nominator and provide some random facts about myself so that you, dear reader, might know me better.  Then, I’m to nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers, and similarly, ask them to answer my questions upon their acceptance.  I’ve had my liturgical nap, The Amazing Race is on, time to do some multi-tasking!

Esther’s questions

1. What music do you put on when driving?     I rarely listen to music when I drive, usually I listen to CBC radio

2. What colour clothes do you always buy?     I rarely buy clothes.  My sister has a clothing allowance and every six months she purges her closet and hands them up to me.  (I’m tickled over Esther’s proper spelling of ‘colour’) 😉

3.  What sound just “makes your day”?     When my darling say, “Good morning !”

4.  What trip would you like to make whenever you had the chance?     I long to go back to Scotland, baring that I’d settle for the east coast of Canada.

5.  Which artist inspires you?     I am in awe of the work of Quinton Hoover. I would love to try an art quilt in a similar technique.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order.  Well it is in an almost particular order, alphabetical!

JoTokla – an beautiful quilt block journey, some funny picts, and interesting historical posts

A Photographer’s Garden – amazing pictures, one can almost smell the fragrances

basildonkitchens – delicious, in a variety of ways

Blocks: 365 – a year’s journey in beautifully constructed quilt blocks

bloomingreverend – thought provoking theological insights along with great advice on another of my favourite things to do – Gardening

down to earth digs – another of my favourite gardening eplaces (I wish it were spring

lalinsocal – funny and creative

Novascotialocal’s Blog – remember how I answered the 4th question?

The Arts and Crafts Bungalow – because I would like to live in one

thegoodsmeller – because I need someone to live vicariously through

thrumyrunninglens – running and pictures, great combination since it offers someone I exercise vicariously through

My Questions for the Nominees

1.  How many jobs have you had and which did you like the most?

2.  What was your favourite school subject?

3.  What is number 1 on your bucket list?

4.  What do you wish you had more time for?

5.  Do you collect anything and if you do what?

Some Random Facts About Me

I love my husband with all my heart. Magic: The Gathering Elder Land Wurm (Quinton Hoover)  http://www.cardkingdom.com/catalog/item/10103

In case you didn’t figure it out, I’m Canadian.  I used to play Magic the Gathering: with my sons and their friends for entire weekends.  I owned a horse when I was in highschool and would ride with a girlfriend from a neighbouring farm every night after dinner when the weather was fine.  I have been a registered member of Where’s Willy, a Canadian currency tracking site since 2006.  I own hundreds of books and I have read most of them, some more than once (I’m not quite reconciled to my e-reader).  My first pet was a Cocker Spaniel.  Quilting is a new obsession, I had no intentions of it being the main topic of this blog, my first was cross-stitching – started about 30 years ago.  My favourite Canadian author is Thomas King, Green Grass, Running Water is hilarious.