Friday, December 31, 2010

With Best New Year Wishes - Postcard Friendship Friday #44

I thought these three little kittens would be a dandy way to start off a fabulously "Crunchy" New Year!  

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon around 4000 years ago. In 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).  The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. 

The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year's Eve festivities pale in comparison. 

The Romans continued to observe the new year in late March, but their calendar was continually tampered with by various emperors so that the calendar soon became out of synchronization with the sun. 

In order to set the calendar right, the Roman senate, in 153 BC, declared January 1 to be the beginning of the new year. However the royal calendar tampering continued until Julius Caesar, in 46 BC, established what has come to be known as the Julian Calendar. This again established January 1 as the new year. But in order to synchronize the calendar with the sun, Caesar had to let the previous year drag on for 445 days. 

Imagine that!  Happy New Year Everyone!

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Joyous Noel - Pink Saturday

The First Noel began as a folk song, and is one of our oldest carols.  It dates back at least 500 years, though it was not written down and published until the 1800s.  This wonderful old song was sung at a time in history, when not many people could read and few Bibles were in circulation. Some sources trace “Noel” to a Latin word meaning “birthday," however, most music historians believe the song originated in England--though it has been attributed to both England and France. The word “Noel” fits easily into both languages as a shout of joy at the birth of Christ.

Tradition has it that The First Noel was sung each year by English peasants as they lit their family Yule log. The Yule log was a lovely custom  adopted from the Norse peoples during the middle ages. A huge log was cut, hollowed out and filled with aromatic oils and spices. It was lit on Christmas Eve with the hope it would burn through the 12 days of Christmas ending on January Sixth!

For more precious things in pink, visit Bev at How Sweet The Sound!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Christmas Story - Postcard Friendship Friday #43

This postcard brought back some sweet Christmas memories.  I wanted to share one of them with you.  The beautiful old Nativity scene from my childhood is still a Christmas tradition at my parent's home.  When I was over to visit recently, I found it nestled beneath the fragrant boughs of the Christmas tree.

When I was small, I loved to sit and look at the figurines of the Nativity--and, with my vivid imagination, I could almost see them moving and talking to one another.

Mom tells a story which happened when I was around four years old.  Dear Mumsie had cleaned the living room in anticipation of guests about to arrive for dinner.  Mom strictly told my little brother and me not to mess up the room, then left to do some last minute things in the kitchen.

We were very quiet.  And you know what that means!  When Mum returned a short time later, she discovered my brother and I had arranged a string of broken toys leading across the floor, up to where Baby Jesus lay.  There was a sheep with a broken leg, a doll without an arm, a statue without a head, a stuffed rabbit without his ears--and much more.  Just about anything cracked or broken--was lined up in front of the Nativity Scene.

Mumsie knew who the ringleader was--with my parade of broken dolls and stuffed animals, I had totally thrashed the living room.  At first Mum was upset, admonishing me to hurry and clean up the mess.  But I wailed, "But Mama, I'm bringing all the broken things to Jesus!" 

Mom says she melted when she heard those words.  She hugged me and left everything just as it was.  What a wise Mom!

I can see this funny scene in my mind's eye--and someday I shall draw it.  Even then, as a small child, I somehow knew Jesus as the healer of broken hearts and lives.

And now my prayer for you, dear friends!  May your Christmas be one of great healing, joy and celebration!  Merry Christmas!

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Really Jolly Christmas - Guest Heart Thursday

I love these jolly Christmas Elves.  I was looking through my collection of cyber postcards and found them--I thought these mischievous elves were especially perfect for Guest Heart Thursday.  (grin)  Can you find the heart???

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wishing You a Joyous Christmas - Pink Saturday

With the Christmas season well upon us, I find myself remembering moments from Christmas past.  This darling little girl in her pink dress reminds me of my eldest when she was tiny.  For me, the treasure of Christmas includes those dear memories of yesterday.  How fortunate I am to hold those moments close to my heart.  How grateful I am for fond memories of the past and the anticipation of wonderful days to come.

Today I have the pleasure of wishing you all a Joyous Christmas!

For more precious things in pink, visit Bev at How Sweet The Sound!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holly Tree Kitty - Postcard Friendship Friday #42

I especially love this vintage postcard because this sweet Holly Tree Kitty is the spitting image of my good old buddy Sir Brat T. Bone.  He lived with us for nearly 17 years before he flew away to Cat Heaven.  I still miss him.

Though there are many ancient traditions concerning holly trees, early in the first century holly leaves came to symbolize the crown of thorns pressed into the Lord's brow, as He suffered at the hands of Roman soldiers.  The red berries were said to symbolize His blood.  

In Britain, during the time of Oliver Cromwell, Christmas was actually banned by the Puritans!   But Christmas-loving country folk thwarted this ban by tying up rough bunches of  holly boughs with evergreens during the holiday, as a symbol of Christmas.  An ancient "Neener, neener," I think!  Tch tch tch, those naughty country Folk!  This became a tradition which has become the holly bough we know today.

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Angel Kisses

Angels have a special significance in my life.  I have discerned their hand of protection, sensed their presence, and have felt their encouragement throughout my life.  There is no other explanation for some of the things I've seen, other than the supernatural intervention of God's servants, sent to watch over those who love Him.

This beautiful postcard shows a lovely Christmas angel leaning over a small child to kiss her goodnight.  I know Angels exist and that they carefully watch over our little ones.  In the Bible it is written the angels who watch over children see the face of God.  God loves these small ones--they are very close to their heart.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Victorian Christmas Photo Shoot

I love this postcard!  I wonder how many times they had to take this picture--from her facial expression, the Mom here is about to drop from frustration.  Her look seems to say, "Good Lord!  Can't he behave?"  Obviously that little boy didn't want to pose for the camera. It seems he never did.  Meanwhile, his big sister is obviously playing the "angel."  Don't you just love that doll she's holding?

Their clothing is wonderful!  The boy's shoes just crack me up--how did little boys back then play outside wearing shoes like that?  Of course, maybe these are his dress shoes.

I really enjoyed the decorations--that ball of mistletoe draping the chandelier, the elegant rug and flowered background, the carefully placed gifts, the candles on the Christmas tree--so perfectly Victorian.

Merry  Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Babe and His Mother - Pink Saturday

This is another card from my darling Grammie's extensive collection.  I can see why she saved this lovely picture--Both Mary and Baby are so beautifully drawn.

For more precious things in pink, visit Bev at How Sweet The Sound!

Decorating the Christmas Tree - Guest Heart Thursday

I have a feeling you are wondering where the heart is in this darling Christmas Postcard!  I'll give you a little hint, it's red!

I love this postcard--partially because I do not know any Mom who would let their child actually climb the tree in order to decorate it.  It looks like GREAT fun. 

Merry Christmas and happy heart hunting!

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 10, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree! - Postcard Friendship Friday #41

My family comes from Austria and Germany, so it was fun to learn some of our Christmas traditions began there.  In the 1700's the tops of evergreen trees were cut and then hung from the ceilings.  These first Christmas trees were decorated with apples, gilded nuts, candies and red paper strips.  Because of these edible ornaments, they were often called sugar trees! 

Though the French believe they were the first to put candles on Christmas trees, others attribute the tradition to the Germans.  Christmas trees themselves, were then introduced to the United States by German settlers.  The first glass ornaments also came from Germany.  By the mid-1800’s Christmas trees were harvested at random from America's forests and sold commercially. 

In 1853 Franklin Pierce brought the first Christmas Tree to the White House.  In the early 1900’s due to over harvesting, the natural supply of evergreen trees was nearly decimated. Conservationists became alarmed and many magazines began to encourage people to substitute an artificial “snow” covered tree, consisting of a branch of a deciduous tree wrapped in cotton.  I wish there were pictures of these--anyone out there know of any?  Let me know, I'd love to see one!

The first Christmas Tree farm was started in 1901 when W.V. McGalliard planted 25,000 Norway spruce on his farm in New Jersey. This was around the time President Theodore Roosevelt decided to ban the tradition of Christmas Trees out of concern for the destruction of  forests. His two sons didn’t agree and enlisted the help of conservationist Gifford Pinchot to persuade the president that, done properly, the practice was not harmful to the forests.  Thirty years later President Franklin Roosevelt started a Christmas Tree farm on his estate in Hyde Park, New York.

In 1966, the United States National Christmas Tree Association began the tradition of having the Grand Champion Christmas tree grower present a tree to the First Lady for display in the Blue Room of the White House.

Today approximately 25-30 million Christmas Trees are sold each year in the USA.  Almost all of these come from Christmas Tree farms.  Hurrah!   Oh, Christmas Tree!

To see all things postal, including delightful old letters, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gripper Snap Fasteners for the Wee Folk

I was cleaning out my sewing machine desk, and found a whole bunch of old, odd and fascinating items, including this wonderful set of Gripper Snap Fasteners. I was so taken by the illustrations of the children on this package.  I love the look on those little one's faces!  Whoever this artist is--he or she has captured the essence of childhood here.

I included the back of the item, too.  Reading all that fine print is kind of fun.

Does anyone know what "Play Togs" are?  I have no idea when or where these were sold, or the history behind them--if anyone out there can tell me more, I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rizpah - Pink Saturday

This is the dust jacket from the novel Rizpah, written by Charles Israel.  The artwork is beautiful, but the book made me cry.  Rizpah's story, which took place thousands of years ago, is one of the greatest acts of a mother's devotion found in the Bible. Her story is not very well known, but God considered it important enough to be included in the narrative about King David found in 2 Samuel 21:1-14 of the Old Testament.

In 2004, the story of this brave woman's tragic act inspired a group of Moms to meet together to intercede for their own children.  I find it amazing, that after thousands of years, Rizpah's loving heart inspired mothers across the world to join hands together in prayer for their own children.

The Holidays can be a sad and lonely time.  Especially for those whose children have gone on too early, who have chosen a difficult life's path, or who are caught in the grip of alcohol and drug abuse.  You can find more about this lovely group of intercessors at Rizpah Sisters.

For more precious things in pink, visit Bev at How Sweet The Sound!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Under the Mistletoe - Postcard Friendship Friday #40

This wonderful old postcard comes from Jann.  She has the most marvelous and extensive collection of old postcards and other vintage ephemera.  Please drop by for a visit at Banquet of Tulle Roses.

As you can see, this is a postcard which celebrates mistletoe.  Here in the Pacific Northwest one can find large balls of mistletoe adorning the tops of the bare oak trees.  I can remember my sister and I snagging a mistletoe ball which had grown several feet wide.  It hung outside our parent's house for years.

Kissing under the mistletoe was first practiced by the Greeks during the festival of Saturnalia.  In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce, or warring spouses could kiss and make up!

In England, around 1800, there was a charming tradition of the mistletoe kissing ball.   At Christmas time an unmarried young lady standing Under the Mistletoe ball could not refuse to be kissed. (Woohoo!)  Such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill.  If the girl remained unkissed, the story goes--she would remain unmarried for a year's time.  In some parts of England the Christmas mistletoe was burned on the twelfth night, lest all the boys and girls who kissed Under the Mistletoe never marry!  

In France, the tradition of kissing Under the Mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day.  It was called  "Au gui l'An neuf" (Mistletoe for the New Year). 

The custom of exchanging a kiss under mistletoe is still practiced across the world.  Indeed, it has been said if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, they will marry and live long and happy lives. 

Joyfully--today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe by any one at any time during the holiday season!  I have had my own share of sweet kisses beneath the magical mistletoe.  Such a lovely tradition!    

To see more mailboxes and all things postal, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory for Weekend Mailbox.