The weather has been unusually warm here in the Desert Southwest (sorry about that to my northern friends!). Winter was only a glancing blow a few times. Since the days have been warm with plenty of sunshine, the grass in the back yard is beginning to green up and some fruit trees are already blooming, masses of pale pink and white flowers. One of my geraniums is blooming, the hot fuchsia color is so welcome, and the hardy roses are putting on lovely reddish new growth. Am sure they will be in full bloom in several weeks. And, happily, the much beloved Spanish lavender is setting buds. Soon the cacti and other native desert plants will be in full bloom - maybe not the showiest of flowers, but gorgeously sublime nonetheless.
Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. It is a day that started with pagan roots, associated with the Roman festival, Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February (February 13-15), Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders, Romulus and Remus. Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed around 496 A.D. when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It is not known, however, which of three St. Valentines (all of whom were martyred) Pope Gelasius was honoring. In 1381, Geoffrey Chaucer, a famous English poet, first associated St. Valentine's Day with romance in a poem he wrote in honor of the engagement between Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. The engagement, the mating season of birds, St. Valentine’s Day and true love were all linked . . . and it’s been a day for lovers ever since.
Symbols have always had a great significance in the lives of humans, from pre-historic times to modern man. Since ancient symbols are ingrained into our lives, most people don't realize these symbols are everywhere. From the logos of modern companies (Starbucks with their mermaid), to television shows (spirals in True Detective) and movies (Legendary Pictures with their Celtic knot logo) from religious books and texts (The Bible, The Koran) to decorations on buildings (sunbursts and dolphins), ancient symbols are everywhere.
How many are with me in thinking that Christmas gets earlier each and every year? It has a tendency to sneak up on a person until, like today, it suddenly starts hollering at you: CHRISTMAS IS ALMOST HERE! Yikes!!! So I decided it was time to start sharing handmade items from artist friends that will make perfect Christmas gifts. And to make it even better, many of these beauties can be worn way past the holiday season, many even all year long.
Easter Sunday is almost on us, coming fairly early this year. In celebration of Easter, I decided to base this Wonderful Handmade Wednesday post on the glorious colors of Easter eggs, since there will be millions dyed, hunted and rolled come Sunday. There is an old Latin proverb: "Omne vivum ex ovo," which means "all life comes from an egg." Many ancient cultures the world over believed the whole universe was created from an egg, the egg an important symbol of life. Before Christianity, eggs were revered by pagans as a symbols of fertility and resurrection and played important roles in their return-of-spring celebrations. Christians used Easter eggs (which started to be painted around the 13th century) to represent Jesus’ emergence from the tomb and his resurrection. However, many scholars point out that ancient Persians painted eggs for Nowrooz, their New Year celebration falling on the Spring Equinox, a tradition that continues to this day and was picked up by cultures and religions around the world.
Since my family has a LOT of Scots Irish in them, I grew up listening to Irish ballads and bagpipe music. St. Patrick's Day has always been a favorite celebration (although no watered down green beer for us - had to do it right with Guinness Stout!). St. Patrick's Day was also celebrated as the start of the spring planting season for gardens and flower beds. Since Ireland is supposed to have forty shades of green, the start of planting season always seemed very appropriate.
Since I will be winging my way east for a couple of days of R & R in The Big Easy the day I usually post the "Wonerful Handmade Wednesday" blog, the newest edition is posted today, Tuesday, March 1. Already March!!! Yikes! The theme is simple: the first item posted in each shop. I hope you enjoy the wide variety of handmade beauties created by the talented artists shared below:
Yikes, according to the CHRISTMAS CLOCK, there are only 8 days,18 hours, 30 minutes and those ever descending seconds until Christmas is here. Because of that I wanted to pull together an eclectic sampling of artisan handmade items that are perfect to buy for last minute gift giving. There is still time . . .but not much. Purchase these mostly one of a kind items NOW!
Gorgeous Handmade Greens for Christmas Gift Giving - Wonderful Handmade Wednesday - December 8, 2015
Christmas is drawing ever nearer. Because of this, my Wonderful Handmade Wednesday blog last week featured artisan made items in red. This week the color chosen is green - red and green, traditional holiday colors. But then I started wondering, “Hmmmmm . . . where did the tradition of red and green being “Christmas colors” come from?” An inquiring mind wanted to know so the google search began.