Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Oh, No! Have I Gone Too Far?

Someone sent these in the mail to me the other day. Do you think it was my husband? Maybe it was my sister or brother? Or, maybe it was my mother? Are they all trying to tell me something? Have I gone too far in my quest to collect and create every conceivable kind of doll? Or, maybe they're all jealous of all the fun I'm having with my Linda's Blog? That's it. Has to be!

Now I'm starting to wonder, "Oh, No! Have I Gone Too Far?"

Sunday, December 25, 2005

My First Linda Walsh Originals Print Ad

I am so excited. I have to tell all my Linda's Blog readers about it. My very first print ad for my Linda Walsh Originals website ran in the Folkart Square Coop ad of Mercantile Gatherings Winter Issue.

I'm so excited and so thankful to Annie at Folkart Square for giving my "Elmers Little Boy" ad such wonderful placement. Doesn't he look adorable? I'm so excited.... I just can't hide it ......(here I go with The Pointer Sisters song, again!) My first ad. I'm going to have to frame it. For posterity purposes, of course.

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog you may remember that there is a lovely, heart-warming story behind the "Elmer's Little Boy" pattern that I posted previously. If you get a chance please read "The Story Behind Elmer's Little Boy" .

I'm also excited because my very first Business Directory ad also ran in the Mercantile Gatherings Winter issue. See, there I am in the lower right hand corner. That's me - Linda Walsh Originals in the Business & Website Directory of Mercantile Gatherings.

Mercantile Gatherings is a wonderful magazine. If you are a primitive crafter and don't have a subscription to this magazine then you should think about getting one. It's a wonderful primitive magazine that comes out 4X a year. It features various primitive locations, as well as listings and ads for many, many primitive and craft websites. Check it out sometime. I bet you'll like it. Come one! Try it, you'll like it! Now I sound like a cereal commercial?

Friday, December 16, 2005

If Only!

Today would have been my Dad's 80th birthday. In honor of him and during this holiday season I just wanted to share with you a banner and a poem that I found while surfing the web that, in my opinion, epitomizes what he stood for and what holiday spirit is all about.

The banner is from the website and the poem, written by Shane DeRolf, was from Mrs. McGowans 1st Grade Showcase on the website.

I hope you like the banner and that you enjoy the poem. Happy Birthday, Dad.

A Box of Crayons by Shane DeRolf

While walking in a toy store
the day before today,
I overheard a crayon box
with many things to say.

"I don't like red!" said yellow.
And green said, "Nor do I!"
And no one here likes orange,
but no one knows quite why."

"We are a box of crayons
that really doesn't get along,"
said blue to all the others
"something here is wrong!"

Well, I bought that box of crayons
and took it home with me
and laid out all the crayons
so the crayons could all see.

They watched me as I colored
with red and blue and green
and black and white and orange
and every color in between.

They watched as green
became the grass
and blue became the sky.
The yellow sun was shining bright
on white clouds drifting by.

Colors changing as they touched,
becoming something new.
They watched me as I colored.
They watched till I was through.

And when I'd finally finished,
I began to walk away.
And as I did the crayon box
had something more to say...

"I do like red!" said the yellow
and green said, "So do I!"
"And blue you are terrific
so high up in the sky."

"We are a box of crayons
each of us unique,
but when we get together
the picture is complete."


Banner by and

Poem "A Box of Crayons" by Shane DeRolf as found at Mrs. McGowans 1st Grade Showcase on the,1871,34898-119831-38-49158,00.html website.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Oh, What Fun I'm Having!

I'm beginning to think there's something seriously wrong with me. Of course, my husband, brothers' and sister would tell you that they've known that for a long time. Not only is my house filled with all sorts of dolls, but now I've fallen in love with "Dollie Icons!" I just spent two hours on a wonderful website making avatars, portrait icons, and picture diary icons. I'm definitely losing my mind. I'm having fun, but I'm definitely losing it.

So, how do you like the self-portrait illustration avatar that I made? It's the one in the upper left hand corner of this article holding the cup of tea. It does look like me if I do say so myself.

This one I did with the Portrait Icon Maker on the website. This is a more realistic version of how I am just about every day. Working on the computer with "my buddy" at my feet. Of course, the dog in the icon doesn't look anything like my dog. They only had two to choose from so I picked the dog with the cutest face. My dog would take offense with this, of course, as he is a Cairn Terrier not a Basset Hound and is rather full of himself.

The Picture Diary Icon to the right is a representation of my sister and I holding hands. Isn't it just darling? Big sister and little sister outside during the winter making a snowlady. I'm the big sister, of course. She's the little sister with her "IDOL!" When she reads this article I'm sure she's going to guffaw. "Idol!" I don't think so.

The last icon that I made is one I like to call "Taking on the World." It's the one I'll take out and use when I feel like I can conquer the world, or at least the internet. She's the champion of dollie rights. Avenger of lost doll causes. Dollie savior of cyberspace. Yup, I'm definitely losing it. I'm having fun, but I'm definitely losing it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Oh, Don't Stand Under The Misteltoe!

I thought it might be fun to take a look at some of the long lost Christmas celebration traditions, like mistletoe, to see when and where they started. So, let's begin with bells:

Bells - The ringing of bells originated from pagan mid-winter festivities. They believed that the cold, sunless winters made the evil spirits more powerful. One way to drive the evil spirits away was to make a lot of noise. The bells suited this purpose as you could ring a bell while at the same time you were singing or shouting above it. Believe me, if there were evil spirits near me I'd drop the bells and go running for the hills, yelling at the top of my lungs!

Candles - The Christmas Candle is another tradition which evolved from the pagan mid-winter festivities. It was believed that light was also a way to keep evil spirits away. Those evil spirits just won't go away, will they? It was customary in Victorian England to place lighted candles in the windows during the 12 days of Christmas as a sign to weary travelers that food and shelter could be found here. Also, it was a signal that there were no evil spirits there, or so the wanderer thought.

Holly - Holly was considered magical because of its shiny leaves and its ability to bear fruit during the winter. It was believed that in liquid syrup it would stop coughs and that when hung over one's bed would induce sweet dreams. The prickly holly is called "he" (what a surprise) and the non-prickly holly is called "she" (surprise, surprise). Tradition says that the type of holly which is first brought into the house determines who will rule the household for the coming year. My guess would be that A LOT of non-prickly holly is the first to enter the households.

Christmas Pudding - I can't say as if I've ever had Christmas pudding. The tradition surrounding the Christmas pudding originated in the 14th century. It was actually a porridge made by boiling beef and mutton which was combined with raisins, currants, prunes, wines and spices (sounds delicious, doesn't it?) It was made in large copper kettles and prepared several weeks before Christmas with all of the household members particitpating.

Each member of the household had to take their turn at stirring the stew and making a wish. By the 1600's the addition of eggs and breadcrumbs, ale and spirits (of course), improved its taste significantly. As with other Christmas traditions, Christmas pudding was banned during the Protestant Reformation, but re-established as part of the traditional Christmas feast by King George I. Tradition calls for a silver coin to be placed in the pudding along with a ring, button and thimble. Somewhat dangerous, I would think, especially for small children. It was believed that the finders of these objects in their Christmas pudding would be given the gift of wealth, be married within the year or be doomed to bachelor or spinsterhood.

First Footing - This tradition sounds a lot like Santa Claus coming to me. In any event, in some countries, first-footing takes place at the New Year. In England, it occurs on Christmas Day. The first-footer is the first person to enter the house and, according to tradition, is said to let in Christmas. In some areas, he is a professionally hired First Footer (try putting that on your resume) to make sure that the tradition is carried out properly. He carries an evergreen twig, and comes in through the front door. He then passes through the house and exits through the rear (sounds like a burglar to me.) According to tradition, you may give him salt or bread or some other small gift as a symbol of your hospitality. Boy, at least Santa Clause gets cookies. This poor man gets salt and bread. Also, according to tradition he has dark hair, not red and is always a male. I'm not sure what to say about that!

The Kissing Bough (or the Kissing Ball) - Ah! Now this seems like a nice tradition. Until the introduction of the Christmas tree, the kissing bough was the primary piece of decorative greenery in the English Christmas. It was formed in the shape of a double hoop with streamers going up to a central point and was made up of evergreen boughs, holly, ivy, apples, pears, ribbons and other ornaments along with lighted candles. A sprig of mistletoe was hung from its center (wonder what that's for?) As the name implies, any lady who accidentally (yeah, accidentally, like we'd believe that) wanders under the kissing bough has to pay the price and allows herself to be kissed. That's okay as long as you're kissing a prince. With my luck, I'd probably end up kissing a frog. Maybe he'd turn into a prince.

Wassail - The word wassail comes from the Anglo-Saxon term was hale, which means be well. It means to drink a toast to one's health or to express good will at a festive event. The tradition of wassailing, as with a lot of traditions, started as a pagan agricultural festival. In order to increase the yield of the apple orchards, the pagans believed that the trees needed to be toasted in the winter. So, during the twelve days of Christmas, the pagans would visit selected trees from various orchards which were either sprinkled with the wassail mixture, or had a bottle of wassail broken against their trunk. The wassail mixture consisted of mulled ale, cider or wine with sugar, roasted apples or eggs in it.

The Yule Log - We touched on this briefly in another of my Linda Walsh Originals - Linda's Blog articles. After Christmas all the branches of the tree are removed and the trunk is saved to be decorated in the spring as a "May Pole." After the May Pole ceremonies are finished the decorations are removed and the trunk is cut into pieces. The largest log is then saved for the following Christmas to become the Yule Log.

The tradition of the Yule log has very deep pagan roots, as well. Surprise! Surprise! It stemmed from the Celtic, Teutons, and Druids burning the logs in their winter ceremonies in celebration of the sun. The selection of the log took on the utmost of importance and was surrounded by a ceremony. According to tradition, the largest end of the log is placed into the hearth while the rest of the tree trunk sticks out into the room. The new log is lit from the remains of the previous year's log which had been carefully stored away.

Many superstitions surround the Yule Log. It had to be ignited the first time a flame was put to it or bad luck would surely follow. Also, it had to be lit with a stick saved from the fire from the year before or the house would burn down. And, unless charcoal from the great fire was kept under the family beds for the following year (what fun), the house might be struck by lightning. Burning the log was said to bring good luck in the new year, as well as protection from fire in the home from which it is burned.

Fruitcake - Ah, fruitcakes! Who doesn't love a fruitcake? I for one have never had one. Don't know why. It just never appealed to me to eat something that was over a year old. Plus, I just never really liked the looks of them.

In any event, fruitcakes started with the Romans who needed to find a way to sustain their armies in faraway lands. Lucky Romans! The fruitcake became so popular in Europe that it was a law that fruitcake (also known as plum cake) could only be served on certain holidays and only on the most important milestones (e.g., weddings and funerals). Boy, they must have really loved their fruitcakes!

Prior to the 1700's, crusaders and hunters carried fruitcakes to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home. Nowadays fruitcake is generally associated with Christmas. It has, however, since the 1700's been used in ceremonial celebrations of all kinds throughout Europe, including religious holidays, harvest celebrations, birthdays and weddings.

Traditionally, the top layer of the wedding cake called the "Bride's Cake", was a dark fruitcake that was removed and stored for the bridal couple to savor on their anniversaries. Oh, Boy! Lucky couple! A separate piece of fruitcake from the "Groom's cake" was wrapped in a wedding napkin, tied with a white ribbon and put at each guest's place at the table. Single women would put it under their pillow to dream of a groom of their own (I'm not sure I'd want to sleep with fruitcake under my pillow.)

Most people today feel that fruitcake is best used as a doorstop, as a gift for someone else, or just plain thrown away. I don't even know anyone who has ever baked a fruitcake. Do you?
This tradition can definitely become a long long tradition from which it is never to return.

Mistletoe - We touched on mistletoe a little in the paragraph above under the Kissing Bough. Mistletoe is a plant with white berries and has been used as a decoration in houses for thousands of years. It's also associated with many pagan rituals. Marriage ceremonies always included kissing under mistletoe. For Scandinavians, the goddess of love (Frigga) is strongly associated with mistletoe. The early church viewed this as a pagan ceremony and tried to stamp it out. In spite of this attempt the mistletoe survived as a Yuletide symbol. The practice of kissing under the mistletoe has persisted, even in song. Hey! People just love to kiss!

Poinsettias - Poinsettas were added to Christmas tradition starting in 1828. According to tradition, Joel Roberts Poinsett, then the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, imported the plant from Mexico, which had a Christmas "miracle" story about how the plants leaves became red. The Mexicans in the eighteenth century thought the plants were symbolic of the Star of Bethlehem. Thus the Poinsettia became associated with the Christmas season. Personally, I love poinsetta's. I love to put a bunches of different colored small poinsetta plants together in a group and place several groups around the house.

So, now you know where some of these long lost Christmas traditions began. Personally, I think we can all do without the fruitcake, but that's me. Maybe you like your fruitcake. I'll take the Kissing Bough and mistletoe!

"Oh, don't stand under the mistletoe with anyone else but me,"
" anyone else but me! Anyone else but me!"
"Don't stand under the mistletoe with anyone else but me,"
"anyone else but me......."
Come on. Sing along....

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Yes, Linda, There Really Is a Santa Claus!

I can remember my Mother telling me that, as I'm sure most of you can too. We all know Santa as the familiar image with his red suit, sled or sleigh, reindeers, and sacks of toys delivering packages to "all the good girls and boys!" I love the Christmas season and I always have. It is by far one of my favorite times of the year.

The familiar image of Santa Claus is an American invention that first appeared in a drawing by Thomas Nast in Harper's Magazine in 1868 (see picture on the right). Thomas Nast helped create the kinder, more fatherly, plumper Santa as we know him today. But, Thomas Nast wasn't the only person to contribute to this legend. Clement Clarke Moore was a huge contributor as in 1822 he published his poem "A visit From St. Nicholas," bittern known as "The Night Before Christmas." His poem is the first mention of a sleigh powered by "eight tiny reindeer" and mentioning their names.

The legend of Father Christmas, however, is ancient and far more complex. Part of the legend is attributed to St. Nicholas and part to a jovial medieval figure in the "Spirit of Christmas." In Russia, Father Christmas carries a piglet under one arm. St. Nicholas is also know as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Heilige Nikolaus, and Pere Noel.

In the early part of the 19th century there was a revival of a Viking tradition of a jovial, winter figure who was associated with the winter festival. He was referred to as the "Spirit of Christmas." It was believed that by inviting him in through the "front door" to join in your holiday feasting, that the winter would be kind. The "Spirit of Christmas" was subsequently renamed "Father Christmas". Instead of him visiting through the front door, his visits were to be a surprise, with him arriving during the night and down the chimney. Victorian children would write letters to him and then throw them into the fireplace. Why burn the letters? Because, my dear, Father Christmas can read smoke.

But, where did St. Nicholas really come from? It is said that St. Nicholas was born in 245 A.D. in Patara near Fethiye and died in 326 A.D. having spent his life in Anatolia (which I believe is in Turkey.) St. Nicholas was the son of a wealthy family and had a good education. He became the Bishop of Demur, trying to solve the problems of his people in a most humane way. He devoted himself to mankind. He was known as the protector of children and sailors. In a number of countries the death of St. Nicholas is commemorated by the giving of presents to children.

But, how did the legend really begin? Well, it is said that St. Nicholas heard of a family with three daughters who were unable to wed as they had no dowry. St. Nicholas had come from a wealthy family and had given up all his worldy possessions to become a bishop. He took 3 bags of gold coins and dropped them down the family's chimney. The coins landed in the girls stockings that had been hung to dry on the fireplace (ah, that's where stockings come from!) St. Nicholas was caught in the act by the girls father, but he begged him to keep his secret. Two days later, however the entire village heard of his gift and so the tradition of stockings and St. Nicholas began.

In 1951-1955 St. Nicholas became synonymous with Santa Claus and in 1955 a Father Christmas stamp was issued. St. Nicholas devoted his life to his love of humanity, love for people of all different religions and beliefs. Most of all, his love for peace, friendship, and brotherhood.

Santa Claus, Father Christmas, or St. Nicholas is also a favorite of all crafters and doll makers. Why? Because we can make him anything we want him to be. Jovial, fat, skinny, Victorian, woodland, primitive, ugly. It doesn't matter. We love them all. Well, at least I do.

So, this Christmas season when you are hurrying around to get everything done and are fighting the crowd of shoppers just remember that St. Nicholas's message is one of peace, love, and humanity. Slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the season. And, remember these words from a very old, wise, good man: "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!"

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Our Christmas Pin Tradition

If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you know that I've been writing a series of Christmas Tradition articles. In light of that I just wanted to share with you a wonderful, sentimental Christmas tradition that my Dad started a long time ago. My Dad wanted to give "his girls" meaning my Mother, myself, and my sister something special for Christmas. Back then the term "his girls" did not imply the possessive chauvinistic implications that it does today. To my Dad it was nothing more then a term of endearment. One that separated us from "his boys", my brothers.

So my Dad decided to buy each of "his girls" a special Christmas pin to wear during the holidays. He bought us pins the first year, and then the second, and so on and so on and so on. My wonderful husband decided to carry my Dad's tradition on after he passed away. So, every year he gives me a Christmas pin. Sometimes he can't decide which one he likes best so I get two special Christmas pins. That's okay with me as I cherish each and every one of them.

Every year I take them all out and look at them. What always amazes me is how they have changed in design from the first pin I received (the little Bambi deer above) to my latest (the candy canes above). And, believe it or not, I don't have any duplicates. Also (and I know this will be hard to believe), I don't have any "dollies." So, a heartfelt thanks to you Dad for starting this tradition and a heartfelt and sentimental thanks to my husband for continuing his pin tradition.

If you don't have your own special tradition, perhaps this little article will inspire you to start one. May each and every one of you have a wonderful holiday season.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Caroling, Caroling, Now We Go Christmas Bells Are Ringing!

Caroling & carolers - another long lost tradition. Unfortunately, I think the lovely Christmas tradition of caroling for your neighbors has been replaced with collecting caroling dolls. Not that I think collecting any kind of doll is bad. It's just that caroling and singing holiday songs is such a lovely way to wish your neighbors a wonderful, holiday season. So, before we lose the tradition I think we need to understand why the tradition began.

Well, what exactly is a "carol." For most, a carol is a song of rejoicing associated with festive occasions and religious celebrations. The word "caroling" originally meant a circle dance accompanied by a song and carols have carried on the glad tidings of Christmas since medieval times. Unlike hymns, carols are often light and gay.

According to one religious legend, the very first carol was sung by the angels announcing Christ's birth to the shepherds. Some say the tradition of caroling began as early as the 1400s when wandering minstrels performed songs in exchange for donations to be given to the needy. Later, the English night watchmen would sing while making their rounds at holiday times. In the United States, until about 100 years ago carols were limited to only being sung in church. At that time, the practice of singing door to door became a popular and joyous Christmas event.

In the mid 17th century when the celebration of Christmas was banned, the carols might have been lost forever. But, the carols were kept alive for almost 200 years by people singing them in private. With the invention of inexpensive printing processes in the 1800s, traditional carols were published in book form.

The origins of many popular carols, including "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "The First Noel," are unknown. However, one of the most famous carols, "Silent Night," was written in Austria by Josef Mohr and church organist, Franz Gruber when the church organ malfunctioned on Christmas Eve. Hurriedly Mohr wrote the song and asked Gruber to pick out a guitar accompaniment. The rest is history.

I can remember caroling as a child. We'd go out on a cold, windy night with our little caroling books and would stop at each of our neighbors houses. I couldn't sing worth beans, but that didn't seem to matter to me. Maybe that's why some of the neighbors never came out. Sometimes our neighbors would offer us hot cocoa, sometimes candy. Most of our neighbors would come outside while we were singing. Some didn't. In any event, it was a joyous event and one that I've never forgotten.

For me, caroling nowadays involves creating caroling dolls or crafts. In fact, some of my newest dolls patterns are for Victorian carolers, a male caroler, female caroler, little boy caroler, and little girl caroler. They're still in the design phase, but should be done soon.

Well, you might not like caroling, but who doesn't love a Christmas Caroler doll. I've never seen one I didn't want (of course, I've never seen a doll I didn't want either.) That's beside the point. Anyways, I've made many caroler dolls myself either out of wood, cloth, terra cotta, pinecones, etc.

When I was a child every Christmas we'd have a family Christmas craft project. One year my Father and I made a white styrofoam church which housed a lighted angel. Outside it was decorated with wax candles (you remember those, don't you?) of lots and lots of carolers. The light from the angel lit up the church's steeple and was such a beautiful sight for many years. Styrofoam, however, doesn't last forever and neither do wax candles. In any event, the tradition of a family Christmas crafting event can be so much fun for the whole family and provide everyone with a lifetime of memories.

If you decide to get the whole family involved in a Christmas crafting project please make sure that while you're crafting that you're singing Christmas carols and have the hot cocoa waiting.

"Caroling, caroling, now we go Christmas Bells are ringing.................." Linda, when are you going to learn how to sing?

Come on everyone, sing along!

Caroling, caroling, now we go
Christmas bells are ringing
Caroling, caroling thru the snow
Christmas bells are ringing
Joyous voices sweet and clear
Sing the sad of heart to cheer
Ding dong, ding dong
Christmas bells are ringing!

Caroling, caroling thru the town
Christmas bells are ringing
Caroling, caroling up and down
Christmas bells are ringing
Mark ye well the song we sing
Gladsome tidings now we bring
Ding dong, ding dong
Christmas bells are ringing!

Caroling, caroling, near and far
Christmas bells are ringing
Following, following yonder star
Christmas bells are ringing
Sing we all this happy morn
"Lo, the King of heaven is born!"
Ding dong, ding dong
Christmas bells are ringing!

A Wonderful Doll Collection

If you follow my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog you know that I just LOVE the Victorian Era, love history, and love to do research. In doing all of that I ran across the Metropolitan Museum of Art website the other day and fell in love with their collections, the ability to see everything they have in their collections, and the ability to set-up my own "My Met" space to bookmark items at the MET that I love.

Well, while "Moseying At The MET!" last week I came across items from their French Doll Fashion Collection and fell in love with them.  Now all you have to know as to why I would fall in LOVE with them is they have to do with dolls and have to do with the fashions of the Victorian Era and periods before and after that.

They are in fact a collection of fashion dolls displaying French fashions from 1715 until 1906.  There seems to be 42 dolls int he collection and they give you a wonderful picture of the way French fashion has changed through the ages.  I would love to see this collection in person, but it isn't on display.

If you'd like to read more about this collection please CLICK HERE for my Victorian Dolls, Victorian Traditions, The Victorian Era and Me Blog post entitled, "The French Doll Fashion Collection At The MET."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Just Hang Us Anywhere!

Why do crafters love wreaths? Because wreaths are inviting and they convey warmth and warm welcomes. Wreaths can be made of real evergreens or made of fabric, wire, bamboo, pinecones, dried florals, wood, grapevine, straw, combination wood and grapevine, etc. They can be created in any shape and can fit any season. Therefore, the possibilities for decorations are endless.

I'm made numerous kinds of wreaths and have them up all year long varying them by the holiday or season. For me, I like the combination of wood, grapevine, floral, and fabric used in one way or another on one wreath. Kind of combines everything I like to do. I've even found ways to combine my love of dolls with my wreaths.

But, my favorite wreath is a Christmas wreath. Why? I'm not sure. There's just something about the Christmas holidays and the bright red and green colors that draws me to it. Something about the endless possibilities for placement. A Christmas wreath can look good just about anywhere.

So, as usual, I got to thinking about the origins of the Christmas wreath and wanted to find out about this tradition.

When you think about Christmas wreaths the Advent Wreath with all its religious significances may come to mind. Or, just a plain evergreen wreath with a red velvet bow hung on a door might be what you think of.

The Christmas Wreath is usually a circle which symbolizes continuance - and is never ending. Christmas wreaths are traditionally made with evergreens, which symbolize life. They are often decorated with other natural plant parts, such as pine cones, red ribbons and holly berries. But, they can be as varied as any other type of wreath.

As with a lot of traditions, the wreath creation and use dates back to a time when warding off evil spirits was paramount. The idea of the wreath dates back to the ancient Germanic custom of a wreath made of straw and/or evergreen boughs, tied with colorful ribbons (but mostly red and gold) which would be hung on doors to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck to the occupants.

So, if you're looking for something to ward off evil spirits, to convey a warm welcome to your guests, or just for a lovely decoration, then wreaths fit the bill.

"Wreaths can hang inside or outside."
"They don't care."
"They just want to be hung, anywhere."

Friday, December 02, 2005

Christmas Cards - A Wonderful Tradition!

Christmas Cards are such a wonderful tradition. They allow you to wish your friends and family a happy holiday season. They also provide a way to catch up on what is happening with everyone.

Sadly, however, Christmas Cards are becoming a long lost tradition. People just don't want or have the time anymore to send you a card.

I love Christmas Cards, especially if they contain a handwritten note or handwritten letter. The handwritten note signifies that the person actually stopped to write something to you. In this fast paced, no time for anything world that is important. Some Christmas Cards contain computerized notes informing everyone of what is happening with them and their families. In a computerized world this was bound to happen. This is fine as well.

Why do I love sending and receiving Christmas Cards? Because I love catching up with what is going on whether it's a handwritten note or a computerized letter. I cherish all the Christmas Cards that I have ever received with handwritten notes or computerized letters. For some of my friends this is the only correspondence that we have every year and provides a way for both of us to stay in touch. In fact, I have never thrown a Christmas Card with a handwritten note or computerized letter away. All of them are in my memory books (albeit I'm on Volume #32 now, but...). For someone like me who is getting older my memory books provide a means of looking back and remembering. The Christmas Cards provide the timeframe.

I know my family would be astonished by this, too. I have kept every single Birthday card, Valentine's Day card, Anniversary card, Christmas card, etc. that I have ever received from anyone since I was about 7 years old. It's so nice to be able to go back and look at the cards I received and what was said by my beautiful Step-Daughter, Grandmothers, Grandfather, Old Family Friends, and my Father, all of whom are no longer with us. Re-reading them always brings back such warm and cherished memories for me. I know, call me an old softy. I admit it.

Okay, Linda, let's get back on track. Since, we're coming into the Christmas Card giving season I thought it would be a nice idea to take a look at this Christmas tradition for my Linda Walsh Originals - Linda's Blog. So, where did the tradition of giving Christmas Cards begin?

Well (surprise, surprise), it began in Victorian England in 1843, the same year that Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol." John C. Horsley is actually credited with this, but it was actually at the suggestion of his friend, Sir Henry Cole, that the first Christmas Card was created and published.

It seems that Sir Henry Cole was caught in the mad holiday rush (sound familiar) and was unable to send the traditional written Christmas message to his friends and associates. Instead he sent them an illustrated holiday greeting. The card was divided into three panels and was designed by his friend John C. Horsley. The main illustration showed the three elders at a party raising wine glasses in a toast the side panels showed two Yuletide traditions - feeding the hungry and clothing the needy. The message inside 150 years later is still the most popular greeting of all: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." Henry Cole's cards caused quite a stir. Back then you could send letters for just a penny each (can you imagine 1 penny!)

In the 1860's greeting card companies began appearing all over England. In 1846 Christmas Cards started in America, but didn't really take off until 1920 when advances in printing technology added to the popularity of Christmas Cards. That's also when the color red started being associated with Christmas.

Christmas Cards started due to a mad rush and sadly, their decline may be due to a lack of time during the mad rush of the holiday season. I sincerely hope not. It is such a wonderful and lovely tradition. Sending warm holiday greetings is such a beautiful way to say "A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You!"

would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy, and Safe New Year.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blinkies - Don't You Just Love Blinkies?

This may sound strange but I am a woman who is having a love affair. Not a traditional love affair but, a love affair with "blinkies." I cannot get enough of them. If you're a reader of my Linda's Blog then you'll know what I mean when I say, "It's a good thing that they aren't like dolls or I'd have them all over my house, too."

I have to confess, however, that I might have a few too many "blinkies." I dare not look at how much space they are taking up on my hard drive. Needless to say its probably a lot.

Since it was gloomy and raining most of the week I thought I'd do some web surfing for "blinkies." I'm happy to report that I found some wonderful new websites and some wonderful new computer "blinkies." They're the "blinkies" shown at the top of this post and they are from "Val's Kingdom."

Aren't they wonderful? Don't you just love them? Okay, okay! So you're not having a love affair with "blinkies" like I am.