Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!


This is such an unusual card.  I'm not sure how old this vintage piece is, but the detail of the drawing is spectacular. 

I had heard the name of Simon the Just, but didn't know much about him until I looked him up.  He must have been an amazing fellow.  From what I read, he is mentioned in the Talmud, Josephus and the Second Book of Maccabees.

It is said Simon earned his name "the Just" because of the piety of his life, his benevolence toward his compatriots, and because he watched over the welfare of his people.  He was a spiritual man who longed to see his country prosper.  He is said to have rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, which had been torn down, and is responsible for repairing the great Temple of the Jews.

According to legend, when Alexander the Great marched through Palestine in the year 333, Simon the Just dressed in priestly robes to ride out to greet him.  When the Monarch saw the High Priest approaching, he descended from his chariot and bowed respectfully before him.

The Greek king was criticized because he had bowed to Simon the Just.  But Alexander the Great silenced the complaints of his subjects, saying his act of respect had been intentional.  Then he told of a vivid vision in which he had witnessed the High Priest proclaiming Alexander's victory over his enemies.

I love the stories of history.  

Happy New Year, everyone! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Glad New Year -Postcard Friendship Friday #200


This is my 200th Postcard Friendship Friday!  It seems appropriate to put up this New Years Day card given to me by my darling little Grammie.

I still miss her with all my heart.  One day I will see her again--then we will have all eternity to laugh and plant flowers together.

Happy New Years and Happy Postcard  Friendship Friday!

LINKING UP:  You can put your link in any time between now and next Thursday.  Postcard Friendship Friday is open for the entire week! 

BADGE:  When you submit a postcard, be sure to put a link back to this page.  You can copy and paste the PFF badge, which has the link embedded.  Thank you!

*  THEMESYou don't have to stick to the theme I choose each Friday. Just put up the pieces you love and tell us why you like them.

*  REMINDER: Comments and links which contain advertising will be deleted. Also, any and all suspicious links which do not lead to a correct website will be reported and deleted.




Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hearty Christmas Greetings -Guest Heart Thursday






I know Christmas is past, but I like to linger in its glow.  If you look closely--you can find hearts in the lovely fine lace and one made of berries. It is my heart's prayer that all of you--though you may be going through hard time, loss and great pain--would sense the love and comfort of our mighty Creator all around you.  

May God's lovingkindess bring you your heart's desire.

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hide the Broom on Christmas Eve



I was doing some research on Christmas traditions, when I came across a charming tradition I'd never heard of before.  It comes from Norway, where at 5 p.m. church bells begin to ring.  People dress in traditional finery to attend the service.

Afterward, there is a big family dinner, which includes a bowl porridge with almonds for the children.  There are carolers, most of the time choirs of school children, who join hands to sing around the Christmas tree.  Later, children eagerly anticipate a knock at the door.  The Julenisse, with a sack full of gifts asks, "Are there any good children here?"  After opening presents--coffee and cakes are served.

But once the celebration is done and evening falls quiet and cold--all the brooms in the house are hidden!   This is because of an ancient belief that on Christmas Eve, evil spirits slip in to steal brooms from families in order to ride them around in the sky.

Another enchanting fact about Christmas in Norway is that white is the color of the holiday.  Not just the whiteness of the snow, but white lights are used for decorating and white candles light the tree.  Not one colored light can be seen.

It must be absolutely beautiful.  Someday I would love to visit Norway at Christmas time.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve, dear Friends.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hooray for Christmas Plum Pudding

 
I've heard of Christmas plum pudding my whole life.  One can find it in early fiction and of course, on movies such as Scrooge.  I've always wanted to taste it.  The pudding that young man is decorating with holly seems quite huge.

I did some research to find out what plum pudding actually is--According to the Oxford Dictionary the pudding originated in Britain and is a "rich boiled pudding made with flour, suet and dried fruit." The pudding itself takes hours to cook and then it is usually served still flaming hot or actually flaming.  Sounds so intriguing.

A charming tradition concerning plum pudding is that anyone who takes a turn stirring the batter can make a wish.  I'm wondering if some very smart Mom started this tradition to get help from her kids.  (grin) According to another legend, a coin was dropped into the batter before baking.  Good fortune was said to follow the person who found the coin in their bit of Christmas pudding.

A day of joy,
A year of pleasure
Smiles without stint
Mirth without measure.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, dear friends!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Christmas Pickle?!


I had great fun reading about Christmas traditions across the world.  I laughed when I found the story of the Christmas Pickle.  This postcard is the closest thing I could find. 

As the tradition goes, a decoration in the shape of a pickle is the last ornament hidden on the Christmas tree.  The child who finds the Christmas pickle gets a special gift and good fortune is said to follow over the coming year.

Though many believe this odd tradition comes from Germany (Weihnachtsgurke), some suggest the origin of the Christmas pickle is actually American, developed for marketing purposes in the late 1800's.  The story was said to coincide with the sale of hand-made blown glass Christmas tree ornaments imported from France. 

Another tale I read is that the tradition of the Christmas pickle came from Camp Sumpter during the American Civil War.  Private John C. Lower, born in Bavaria, had enlisted in the 103rd Pensylvania Infantry.  He was captured in 1864 and taken to a prison camp. There he stayed through the freezing winter.

Christmas Eve, Private Lower was not only cold, but he was starving to death.  He was so hungry, he begged one of his guards for just one pickle.  The guard took pity on the prisoner and gave him that pickle.  Lower credited the guard's gift for saving his life.  When the war ended and he returned to his family, he began the tradition of hiding a pickle on their Christmas tree each year.

Over the years I've seen those glass pickle ornaments and wondered about them.  How delightful to find the stories behind that, er, interesting Christmas tree ornament!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas and New Years Greetings


I enjoy pictures and drawings of Christmas as it is celebrated in far lands.  This lovely Christmas postcard depicting a family celebration of Christmas from across the ocean, just blesses my heart.

I was wondering, what game are these two playing?  I am so very curious.  If you know, I 'd love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

UPDATE:  Thank you Irene!  This appears to be an Asian version of the game of dreidel.  It is a game played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top.  Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which together form the acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, meaning "a great miracle happened there."

According to ancient Jewish tradition, there was a time when the people hid in caves to teach the Torah.  Legend has it when the teacher would hear soldiers approaching, he would instruct the children to hide their Torah scrolls and take out their dreidels instead. 

So--now you know!  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Legend of the Silver Pine Cone -Postcard Friendship Friday #199


This is one of the oddest Christmas postcards I've ever found.  This wee girl is having tea with a very interesting fellow--a pine cone man.  I couldn't help wondering what the story was behind this one!

So I did a fair amount of research and discovered these postcards were a product of the Curt Teich Printing Company, founded in the late 1800's by German immigrant, Curt Otto Teich.

The only story I could find which might throw some light on this delightful pine cone character comes from Germany.  With a few embellishments of my own, here is the charming Legend of the Silver Pine Cone.

      There once lived a poor family who had fallen on such hard times, the Father was forced to travel far from home to find work to support his family.  They did not hear from him for a long time.  

     Then came the day the family came to the end of their stores of food and did not have enough wood for their fire. Things became so desperate, the Mother decided to go to the forest to gather pine cones in order to build a fire to keep her family warm. She wrapped a tattered shawl around her shoulders and with a basket ventured into the bitter cold.  As she traveled, she dreamed of finding enough to take to the marketplace to sell, so her family would have food to eat.

       After walking for hours, the faithful Mother finally reached the forest and began gathering pine cones into her basket. Suddenly, she heard a voice say, “Why are you stealing my pine cones?” With that, an elf appeared beside her.

       Exhausted and choking back her tears, she explained her sad dilemma to the tiny man.  With a crooked smile and a flourish of his pointed red cap, the elf said, “Go to the next forest. The pine cones are much better there.”

       Pouring the pine cones back onto the ground, she set off once more.  By the time she reached the edge of the next forest, she could not take another step.   Trembling, she dropped to her knees in the soft pine needles and leaned her tired body against a tree, her empty basket tumbling down beside her.

       No sooner had she done this, dozens of pine cones started falling to the ground. Filled with renewed hope and energy, she tucked as many pine cones into her basket as she could and walked the long trek home.

       Foot sore and weary, she set the basket down on her doorstep.  A tired smile crossed her face as she heard the laughter of her children through the door.  Tears filled her eyes.  Even when faced with cold and hunger, her children still found laughter.  The dear little Mother's heart was filled with hope.

       But when she bent to pick up the basket of pine cones it was so heavy she could not lift it.  She opened the door calling the children to come and help.  When she and the children looked closer at the basket of pine cones, they discovered the pine cones had all turned to silver.  Not long afterward, the Father arrived home with a sack of food, which they prepared over a crackling fire. From that day forward, the family never had to face hunger and cold again.

     Legend of the Silver Pine Cone - Copyright ©2013 by Beth L. Niquette

Because of this legend, many people believe pine cones are lucky.  I've seen silver pine cones in stores around Christmas, but had no idea there was a story behind them.  In Germany, it is customary to keep a pine cone on the dresser, or hearth to make sure good fortune comes your way.

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, and Merry Christmas dear Friends!  

LINKING UP:  You can put your link in any time between now and next Thursday.  Postcard Friendship Friday is open for the entire week! 

BADGE:  When you submit a postcard, be sure to put a link back to this page.  You can copy and paste the PFF badge, which has the link embedded.  Thank you!

*  THEMESYou don't have to stick to the theme I choose each Friday. Just put up the pieces you love and tell us why you like them.

*  REMINDER: Comments and links which contain advertising will be deleted. Also, any and all suspicious links which do not lead to a correct website will be reported and deleted.





Thursday, December 19, 2013

To Keep the Chaps Away -Guest Heart Thursday


I giggled when I read the note on the back of this lovely Christmas postcard.  It is addressed to Miss Mary Kersam, and the message goes like this:

When Mary walks abroad up North
She looks so sweet and gay
She has to put on lip-salve
To keep the chaps away

The fellow who wrote this poem was clearly smitten.  Fittingly, this fair lady, awaiting a kiss beneath the mistletoe, has donned a dress with a sleeve in the perfect shape of a heart.

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Goose


Father is bringing home fresh bread, the Christmas goose and has Christmas packages tucked beneath his arm.  As you can see his young'uns are about to ambush him!  lol  The look on his face causes me to believe their Dad knows exactly what is about to happen and is readying himself to drop his burdens and taken 'em on.

I'm sure once the snowball fight is through, their Papa will put the boys to work carrying the goods home to Mother. 

Have a lovely week and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

With All Kind Thoughts and Greetings


This is a most unusual Christmas Postcard.  I thought it quite lovely.

The note on the back is especially fun:  "George sent this to Uncle Arthur.  And he said I got to kiss her for you.  But I thought I would leave it for you to do."

I wonder what the story is behind this postcard--I would dearly love to know.

Have a lovely day.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Burst of Poincettia


I love the colors of this time of year.  All the reds and greens.  I especially enjoy the Poinsettia plants which seem to decorate every home during the holidays.

The Poinsettia is actually from Central America.  The ancient Aztecs found it blooming in the tropical highlands during winter and named it Cuetlaxochitl. They would extract purple dye from it for cosmetics and also used the plant's milky white sap to treat fever.

In the 1800's, the plant was made famous by Joel Roberts Poinsett.  He was the son of a French physician who was appointed as the first US Ambassador to Mexico by President Madison.  Poinsett loved botany and whilst visiting in Mexico he fell in love with the brilliant red flower.  He immediately began growing them and sending the plants to friends and to botanical gardens.  They were sold as Euphorbia Pulcherrima, which means beautiful. 

Over the years the plant became known as the Christmas Poinsettia, named after Joel Poinsett, and because it can be found blooming naturally in its original habitat in Mexico only during Christmas.

I thought it charming to read that in Mexico where the Poinsettia was originally found, this plant grows to the size of a tree.  I would LOVE to see that.

I was just looking at this card again--and that young lady is NOT in a good mood.  LOL  Kind of cute, really.

Merry  Christmas dear Friends.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Christmas Greeting


With all the snow falling across our nation, I thought this charming postcard would be a good fit for this lovely Sunday morning.  This is the cutest picture--the joy on those youngster's faces is contagious, as is the smile on the snowman as the girl pats his nice fat nose.

Merry Christmas dear Friends!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Greetings


I will be posting quite a few Christmas postcards until the holiday is past.  I love Christmas and the beautiful images to be found celebrating that day.  This postcard is especially beautiful with its bright colors and delicate gold detail.

God bless you all, dear Friends.  Have a lovely weekend.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Merry Christmas -Postcard Friendship Friday #198



Some of my favorite memories surround the well worn, chipped figurines of the nativity set from my childhood.  Inevitably one would find a stuffed bear, a tiny doll or a plastic dinosaur kneeling by the side of the tiny Baby.  Mumsie still puts it up every year.  She doesn't take it down until the first flower of spring.

I love the idea of this enchanting angel patiently re-telling these children the Greatest Story ever told.

Merry Christmas and Happy Postcard Friendship Friday!

LINKING UP:  You can put your link in any time between now and next Thursday.  Postcard Friendship Friday is open for the entire week! 

BADGE:  When you submit a postcard, be sure to put a link back to this page.  You can copy and paste the PFF badge, which has the link embedded.  Thank you!

*  THEMESYou don't have to stick to the theme I choose each Friday. Just put up the pieces you love and tell us why you like them.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pansies and Angels -Guest Heart Thursday



This is a beautiful postcard, but it reminds me more of Springtime, than Christmas.  Of course you can find hearts in the petals of these lovely pansies.  I love this artist.  What a joyous departure from the norm.  VERY cool.

Have a whimsically Merry Christmas!

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year -Postcard Friendship Friday #197

 

The kitten with the pink ribbon on the left reminds me of our special friend Toez the Polydactyl Cat when she was a kitten.  I've always welcomed cats as friends.  There's something special about their independence, capricious playfulness, mischievous personality which pulls at one's heart strings.

When Toez (otherwise known as little tiny keekat) deigns to come and sit upon my lap, all on her own--it just melts my heart.

I'm hoping for SNOW tonight.  Happy Postcard Friendship Friday!

LINKING UP:  You can put your link in any time between now and next Thursday.  Postcard Friendship Friday is open for the entire week! 

BADGE:  When you submit a postcard, be sure to put a link back to this page.  You can copy and paste the PFF badge, which has the link embedded.  Thank you!

*  THEMESYou don't have to stick to the theme I choose each Friday. Just put up the pieces you love and tell us why you like them.

*  REMINDER: Comments and links which contain advertising will be deleted. Also, any and all suspicious links which do not lead to a correct website will be reported and deleted.





Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Cart Full of Hearts -Guest Heart Thursday



I had a hard time finding a Christmas card with hearts this time around--so I settled for this cutie with his cart full of hearts.  I just love the background of trees, pond and beautiful sunset.

Have a beautiful rest of the day!

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.