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Friday, December 9, 2011

Still Alive and (slightly) Stitchin'!

Dear blog-friends - it is finally time to sit down and do this! It is a great day! The ground is covered with frost (including a bunch of really confused spring-bulbs that had decided to take full advantage of the unseasonably warm and long fall), the feather-dusters and bunnies are still in bed (yes, the former are protesting), and I am home on vacation from work! Can things get any better - yeah, I forgot the steaming cup of tea I have next to me!

I have signed up for absolutely nothing today! I may take in the bunnies for pedicures and maybe even go in for one myself - different salons though. ;-)
I may go to the grocery-store and maybe I will even bake for tomorrows big shindig - who knows!? Clean the house and laundry? Oh, I don't think so.... Maybe a stitch or two though.
You see, I am one of those people who save my colds and sicknesses for my vacation. It gets pretty old after 30 or so years, but that is just how I function. I wouldn't care so much if it wasn't for the fact that it seems to always coincide with the Scandinavian Heritage Society's Lucia celebration, which is something as foolish as having a bunch of people, dressed in thin night-gowns, sing carols in the dead of winter (December 13th is the Lucia Day in Scandinavia). That said, it is a beautiful celebration. The symbolism and the merger between the pagan mid-winter blot and Christianity was quite clever, and the yummy traditional lussebullar that are served are to die for (baked wit real saffron, they are also quite costly to make).
It’s said that Sankta Lucia (St. Lucy) was condemned to be burnt for not wanting to marry a pagan, but she resisted the fire. Another story says she secretly took food to the poor at night and carried a crown of candles on her head so she could see where she was going. A third story has her taking out her eyes to convert a Prince to Christianity. All stories somehow make it possible to connect her with light which is important, because the 13th December is not only the day Lucia died (a sword finally got her), it was also known as the shortest day of the year (before the Gregorian calendar was adopted), the winter solstice, which of course has pagan roots. In other words, Lucia is the bearer of light and Lucia Day a celebration of the days getting longer again - as you can imagine, that is really important up in Sweden where the days are very short right now. This year the shortest day in Stockholm will be December 22nd, where there are only 6h 04m 43s between sunrise and sunset.
To share with you the feeling of a Swedish Lucia celebration, I have to show you a few pictures:
Lucia (St. Lucy) - she can be "official" as in elected by the Swedish people or by the town people or just selected to do the honors at home:
The Lucia processions and choir.
It can be huge (I was a part of this one many years when I was a child):
It can be small - note the tomtar (small gnomes) dressed in red up in the front:
...but the importance of light is always the central message:
Last but not least, the lussebullar - YUM!!! (The drawing below shows some of the traditional shapes that the lussebullar are baked in):

So, any stitching going on here lately? Well, not a whole lot, to be honest (I have been stash-shopping quite a bit though - dos that count? LOL)
Last year I fell in love with the Xmas gift that Big Dog gave L-bug; a cinnamon dipped candle in a vintage candle holder with a stitched candle-wrapper from Homespun Elegance (she has a bunch of really neat special offers on her site every now and then). Anyway, I called and bought seven kits to stitch for family and DH (= myself, hehehe). All the wrappers have been stitched up and they just need mounted around the super-cute vintage candle holder, which is red and in the shape of a star.
The nice thing is that they stitched up pretty quickly and after making just a few, I did not have to follow the pattern anymore. I am assuming that her new Merry Noel Rounds are about the same size - and I love those Homespun Elegance Christmas birds too!
Anyway, here they are:

I also noticed that I really want to stitch mistletoe themed decorations this year! I am not real sure where this urge came from, but here it on of them in progress (taken from the special Xmas ornie issue, no 13, from the superb French magazine Creation Point de Croix this year. I buy my copies from Violarium in Finland):
It doesn't look like much yet, but I think that it will be sweet! After learning that the French word for mistletoe is "gui" (and I have already known what "grille gratuite" means for years - try to type that phrase into Google and click on images - oh, the joy!) I did get my paws on some French on-line mistletoe freebies here, here and my absolute favorite here!)

I did also pull back out the SAL that my buddy Pink and I have been working on for years: Snapperville. She is almost done with the next to last square, so time to get the linen back out. This square contains a horse, so it will be a fun stitch!
As can be seen, we are slowly working ourselves towards the end. The only problem is that neither one of us are too fond of the saying in the bottom of the border, so it is high time to start thinking of Plan B...

Well, the feather-dusters are complaining that none has let them out yet. They have apparently started their mating season and it is certainly no dance on roses over here - trust me. Half of the time, I have to prey fighting birds apart and the other half I have to do the opposite (prey birds that love each other a little bit too much apart, that is).
Speaking of, after finally getting the iPod, I have spent a number of hours playing Angry Birds. It is so much fun!!! How come that anything is more fun in a game than it is in reality?

A couple of Mexico photo before logging off:

Take care, Happy Stitching and stay warm!


  1. hello my dear sweet friends,,i love your post and all the lovely pictures so much..the choir pictures are truly so beautiful and so wonderful...
    lussebullar are looking so yumyyy..very interesting..i like the traditional shape..
    your stitching is so lovely like always..i love your stitchy project so much..
    keep well dear and have a lovely weekend..big hugs cucki xx

  2. I knew all about Santa Lucia from my hubby and MIL. I don't think they have any Swedish blood, but they celebrated her day anyway. Loved all the pics of the celebrations. And your candle holders will be wonderful! Love your WIPs too. Great Mexico pictures! Speaking of which, happy vacation! I hope you don't get sick.

  3. So glad that you have a day for you and also some time to update us! I love hearing about your holiday traditions.Your stitching looks wonderful, I know that everyone will love the candles.
    Great pics from Mexico. I like the guy in the background of your pic, what do you think he is looking at?

  4. Hej systeryster! Mysigt med lucia, har du fått några lussebullar i år? Längtar efter dig som alltid och hoppas vi kan pratas snart. Kommer du vara skype-bar snart? Prövar att ringa i helgen på vanliga telefonen om inte annat. Pusspuss!

  5. hi Jenny! so nice to hear from you on your blog! it's so interesting to hear about St. Lucia - the first i read of that tradition was from one of my storybooks years ago.. it always sounded fascinating! the lussebar.. what does a pastry with saffron taste like, i wonder? i've only ever had saffron with paella!

  6. Hi Jenny-it's great to meet you via your WIPocalypse signup. Thanks for joining! I've added you to the participant list and my blog reader. I look forward to your posts next year!

    St. Lucia photos are so gorgeous - I love all of the celebration of light in the bleak of midwinter.

  7. Happy St. Lucy's Day my friend! Hugs, L-Bug

  8. Love the pictures, and I always enjoy hearing about holiday customs in other parts of the world. Thank you!

  9. I knew about St. Lucia because there is a big celebration of her feast day in Delaware. The Swedes were the first settlers to colonize the area where I'm from and there's still a lot of Swedish cultural stuff and references there. The Old Swedes Church, from 1698, is one of the oldest Protestant churches in North America--they do a St. Lucia celebration ever year. I'm a history lover so all that stuff just thrills me to bits. LOL

    Lovely stitching!